Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) expanded on his differences with the left wing of the Democratic Party by speaking out against the “defund the police” movement on Wednesday.
“Defund the police? Defund, my butt,” declared the West Virginia senator in a tweet on Wednesday evening. “I’m a proud West Virginia Democrat. We are the party of working men and women. We want to protect Americans’ jobs & healthcare. We do not have some crazy socialist agenda, and we do not believe in defunding the police.”
Defund the police? Defund, my butt. I’m a proud West Virginia Democrat. We are the party of working men and women. We want to protect Americans’ jobs & healthcare. We do not have some crazy socialist agenda, and we do not believe in defunding the police. https://t.co/EIFHX5OQ37
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) November 11, 2020
Earlier this week, Manchin, who is considered one of the most right-leaning Democratic senators by GovTrack, also sought to put space between himself and the left wing of the Democratic Party by pledging on Fox News to not vote in favor of removing the filibuster or packing the Supreme Court with justices.
“I commit to you tonight and I commit to all of your viewers and everyone else that’s watching, I want to lay 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,” Manchin told Fox News host Bret Baier.
“I will not vote to pack the courts. I think — and I will not vote to end the filibuster. Bret, this system, the Senate, this so unique body in the world, it was made to work together in a bipartisan way. And once you start breaking down those barriers, then you lose every reason that we are the institution that we are, the most [deliberate] body,” he said.
But the Democratic senator’s anti “defund the police” tweet also comes amidst turmoil within the House Democratic caucus, specifically over radicalism from within its ranks.
After the November election, some swing-district Democrats expressed frustration with the unpalatable messaging coming from the left, with Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) specifically calling out the socialism and “defund the police” talk.
But with two Georgia special elections looming, and the future of the Senate majority hanging in the balance, the Democrats have not demonstrated a united front against the policies and issues that seem to have hurt them in the November election.
During an interview with CNN on Sunday, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams avoided a question about whether left-wing sloganeering emanating from the Democratic Party could cost them in the Georgia Senate races. Abrams instead talked about the coronavirus, corruption, and predicted Democrats would win the races.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has been vocal in her belief that left-wing messaging wasn’t the problem for House Democrats in swing districts, but rather, the problem was poor campaigning on the part of candidates.
“Before the election, I offered to help every single swing district Democrat with their operation. And every single one of them, but five, refused my help,” Ocasio-Cortez told The New York Times in an interview published on Sunday. “And all five of the vulnerable or swing district people that I helped secured victory or are on a path to secure victory. And every single one that rejected my help is losing. And now they’re blaming us for their loss.”
“So I need my colleagues to understand that we are not the enemy. And that their base is not the enemy. That the Movement for Black Lives is not the enemy, that Medicare for all is not the enemy,” she added.