Manchin’s insistence on moderation and bipartisanship is deeply felt, and Washington DC had better get used to it. They are going to see a lot of it in the next two years.
And so, on the matter of reconciliation, Manchin is aligned with a Democratic Socialist from Vermont — for now. But alliances may shift over time, as Manchin strives to hold the Senate in the moderate mainstream.
Like all politicians, I agree with him on some issues, and disagree on others. But what I like about him is his rock-ribbed commitment to the reality-based world.
This leaves Manchin in the unusual position of potentially wanting to spend less than his pro-Trump governor, while simultaneously being nudged to spend more by the Democratic White House. One Manchin aide told me he is unfazed: “For Senator Manchin, it is less about carving out a lane in the middle and more about identifying what’s best for West Virginia and the country.”
Manchin has spent decades in the whitewater of West Virginia politics. He will likely support the highest level of spending that can pass with some modicum of Republican support. Rather than labeling that as centrism, it more accurate to call it realism.