"If Joe Manchin decides to walk to the other side of the aisle, Mitch McConnell is back in charge," the former senator told Lawrence O'Donnell.
March 24, 2021

Lawrence O'Donnell was talking to Claire McCaskill last night about how to get things done on gun control and the filibuster.

"We have to make our move and pull that threshold from 60 votes down from 51," he said.

"Well, here is what they should start by doing, and that is forcing votes on public policy that is wildly popular in this country, whether it is on gun safety or whether it is minimum wage or the reimportation of prescription drugs," McCaskill said.

"There is a long list of public policy issues that get wide, popular bipartisan support. Tee those up for votes, get those votes first, but let me tell you where it cannot end. And I don't need to tell you, Lawrence. You taught me about politics. Politics is not checkers. Politics is chess. And what people have to remember is, there has to be a plan here. Joe Manchin is never going to be beat by a progressive candidate. He's in a state that Donald Trump won by 40 points. He is an aberration in West Virginia today.

"So we only have 50 votes. If Joe Manchin decides to walk to the other side of the aisle, Mitch McConnell is back in charge. We have to win more seats in 2022. So what we can't do in this process is start a civil war in the Democratic party.

"Because if we do, then we see Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and North Carolina all slip from our grasp and we're in a situation that if something happens with Joe Manchin or if he doesn't run again, or Jon Testor or any of the other Democrats that are in Republican states, then we're back with Mitch McConnell calling the shots and we can't force votes. And so there needs to be a plan here, and it's not as simple as 'We can flip Joe Manchin,' " she said.

"Cause that is a lot harder than you think."

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