Back in November, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) pledged that if Democrats won control of the U.S. Senate, he would block any attempt to pack the Supreme Court or kill the filibuster.
The context here is crucial. Manchin made this pledge on Fox News right after the presidential election. At that point, it was pretty clear Joe Biden would become president and Democrats would hold the House of Representatives. It was also clear that the then-upcoming January 5 runoffs in Georgia would determine control of the U.S. Senate.
So what Manchin was doing was reassuring everyone that if Democrats won those runoffs and seized control of the Senate (and it now looks as though this has indeed happened), he would be the bulwark against the insanity of packing the Supreme Court and killing the filibuster.
What Manchin said was especially meaningful because all it takes to block that madness in a 50-50 Senate (with incoming Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker) is Manchin’s one vote.
Here’s Manchin’s full quote, which, as you will see, is unequivocal:
I commit to you tonight, and I commit to all of your viewers and everyone else that’s watching, I want to allay those fears, I want to rest those fears for you right now. Because when they talk about, whether it be packing the courts or ending the filibuster, I will not vote to do that. I will not vote to pack the courts. I think — and I will not vote to end the filibuster. … I will not be the 50th Democrat voting to end that filibuster or to basically stack the court, and in all the other things you’re hearing about, Bret, also, defund the police. I don’t know of any of the Democrats in the caucus that are for defunding the police. We’re not for that whatsoever. And when they talk about basically, Medicare for all, we can’t even pay for Medicare for some. It doesn’t make any sense at all.
Back in November, when Manchin said this, I was skeptical, and said so here. This is the same guy who voted against confirming Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court after all, and only voted in favor of Brett Kavanaugh’s SCOTUS conformation because he was up for re-election.
Manchin is a power player, an ambitious politician. In other words, he’s like every other politician. So it makes perfect sense for him to make this promise in the hopes it would help Democrats win control of the Senate. Unfortunately, it also makes perfect sense for him to break this promise in exchange for a powerful committee job, or some such thing. He’s not up for re-election until 2024, so why not?
If Democrats kill the filibuster, they can pass any legislation they desire, including Medicare-for-All, which means we all lose our health insurance and are herded into government-run healthcare. They can ban guns, raise taxes, make Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., states, which means four more Democrat senators, etc…
Worse still, if Democrats pack the Supreme Court, there is no stopping them from doing anything, including taking all of our guns, because there will be no one up there to protect the Second Amendment … or the First … or the Fourth … or any of them.
These are perilous times, and the only thing stopping the worst case scenario from coming true is Joe Manchin and his word.
Now might be a good time to start worrying.