“I’m not sick of talking about Mr. Munch,” Senator Bernie Sanders sighed, referring to his fellow Senate bench on MSNBC on Thursday. The frustration of left-wing politics is understandable: there has not been a day in recent weeks that Mancin’s name has not been mentioned several times by the American media. His thoughts, hesitations and talks about the most important laws are reported by websites and magazines; Just last week, two newspapers – the New Yorker and the Washington Post – published long profiles of the West Virginia senator.
The interest of the previously unknown 74-year-old politician stems from two things. First, a situation in which Democrats in the Senate have far fewer advantages than Republicans (both parties have 50 votes, but the vice president has decisive votes). Second, Munchin’s views are representative of a dying race in American politics: a moderate conservative democrat and an outspoken supporter of compromises in party divisions. Plus a senator and former governor of an arch-conservative government.
Both of these things Munchin – formerly known primarily for living on a boat in Washington – are the most important member of Congress on the final dimensions tongue and deck. For the same reason, according to left-wing critics, a politician could become a pitfall for the Biden administration’s legislative aspirations, and even the chances of a presidential re-election.
Munch played a key role in all of Biden’s most important efforts — a massive, nearly $ 2 million recovery plan for the economy, an equivalent ambition to invest in infrastructure, or electoral reforms. First, he expressed his doubts and persuaded the Republicans to compromise, and finally, after winning lengthy negotiations and concessions, he agreed to his party’s initiatives.
Except for one of the most important ones, so far this has been the case in most cases: the abolition of parliamentary practice in the Senate is called Philippister. This is a practice that has been going on for decades, in practice allowing minorities with 41 members in the chamber to block most bills. In the current polarized political environment, the chances of getting 60 votes to support any major reform are miraculous, which may prove that many of Joe Biden’s promises cannot be fulfilled.
An example of the situation on Tuesday was that Republicans in the Senate – using a Philippester – blocked the reform of the electoral system proposed by Democrats, who were comfortable participating in the elections. Despite this plan – thanks to Munch’s initiative to reach an agreement with the Republicans – it was greatly reduced in relation to the initial plans, and in the end it did not win a single vote of the opposition.
Although Philippester could be eliminated by a simple majority in the Senate, Munchin has so far maintained his opposition in the name of a cross-party compromise.
“The time has come to end the political games and usher in a new era of cross-cutting, where we will find common ground in the most important debates facing our country,” Senator wrote in the Washington Post.
The West Virginia politician is not alone on the left in this matter. Another negative Democrat, Kirsten Cinema of Arizona, took a similar stance. According to Axios, other moderate politicians are also personally skeptical, fearing that the removal of the practice will turn against them after a change of government.
Despite the failure of this approach to electoral reform, two days later a group of senators from both parties announced an agreement on one of the largest infrastructure investment projects in history, totaling $ 1.2 trillion. Although there is still a long way to go to implement the plan, it is a visible sign that compromise on divisions is not possible. However, not everyone is optimistic.
– Personally, I consider him a good guy, but what he says is pure naive in today’s reality. Republicans have no interest in working with us. An ally of one of Manchin’s party colleagues in the Senate says the country’s fate depends on a senator from West Virginia.
However, another says his approach makes political sense – Munchin represents one of the poorest and most conservative states in the United States, where in 2020 Donald Trump took the lead with 39 percent. As he points out, Manchin’s strategy is to help alienate investment and money for his state.
“Besides, if he wants a chance at re-election, he thinks Washington cannot be a” normal “Democrat working with all of the” Socialists. “This does not change the fact that our frustration is great.