Shortly after Joe Manchin declared on Fox News Sunday that would be voting against the Build Back Better plan, Bernie Sanders went on CNN and dared him to vote no. It may come down to this — putting it up to a vote and seeing if Manchin is posturing or if he really is siding with Republicans (and against America's children, elderly, and the Earth).
Sen. Sanders pulled no punches, saying: "Well, I think he's going to have a lot of explaining to do to the people of West Virginia to tell him why he doesn't have the guts to take on the drug companies to lower the cost of prescription drugs, why he is not prepared to expand home health care. West Virginia is one of the poorest states in this country. You got elderly people and disabled people who would like to stay at home, are forced into nursing homes. He is going to have to tell the people of West Virginia why he doesn't want to expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing and eyeglasses."
Exactly. Why is Manchin more concerned with coal companies and special interests than he is with helping his own constituents?
But it is not just Manchin, it is 50 Republicans, as Sen. Sanders pointed out, saying: "Not one Republican in the United States Senate or the House, for that matter, is prepared to stand up to the drug companies or the insurance companies or the wealthy." So let's always keep that in mind.
Senator Sanders levied this challenge to Manchin: "If he doesn't have the courage to do the right thing for the working families of West Virginia and America, let him vote no in front of the whole world."
Manchin will torch his future in politics if he continues down this path. Maybe he will just change his party to Independent, or even Republican. Maybe he can just retire and start working as a lobbyist for the coal industry. Regardless, our focus in 2022 and 2024 needs to be on flipping a different Senate seat from R to D, and hope that we can somehow maintain our democracy. Because relying on Manchin to do the right thing for America is a losing bet.