In the immediate aftermath of the Senate voting down a bipartisan commission to conduct a soup-to-nuts review of the riot at the US Capitol on January 6, the West Virginia Democrat let loose on his Republican colleagues.
All — and I mean ALL — McConnell cares about is whether Manchin has changed or will change his opposition to getting rid of the legislative filibuster. As in: Did the Republican obstruction of a bipartisan deal aimed at getting to the root of the worst attack on the nation’s Capitol in, oh, 200 years or so, change Manchin’s mind that the legislative filibuster is absolutely sacrosanct?
See, here’s the thing: As long as Manchin stays opposed to getting rid of the legislative filibuster, he is McConnell’s best buddy — no matter what the West Virginia Democrat says about his Kentucky Republican colleague.
The math is simple: To get rid of the 60-vote threshold to end debate (and force a final vote) on any piece of legislation, Senate Democrats need a simple majority. Which means they need all 50 Democrats to vote for it — and for Vice President Kamala Harris to cast the tie-breaking vote.
Without Manchin, Democrats only have 49 votes. And therefore, would lose any attempt to change the filibuster rules.
And here’s the toughest part for Democrats: There’s no real argument — at least no political one — that they could use to sway Manchin. He is a Democrat in an overwhelmingly Republican state. Serving as a block on the national Democratic agenda is good politics for Manchin. And liberal groups savaging him for doing so simply helps him make the case back home that he isn’t just another Washington Democrat.
So the likeliest outcome going forward is that Manchin continues to blast Republicans in the Senate for their recalcitrance on issues of critical import to the country while being unwilling to bend on the elimination of the legislative filibuster.