No Excuses PAC, the driving force behind Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) 2018 primary victory over a more moderate Democrat in New York, are taking aim at a number of moderate Democrats, including West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema — two of the evenly divided Senate’s swing votes.
No Excuses PAC, run by two of Ocasio-Cortez’s former aides, wants to run far-left candidates against both Manchin and Sinema, in the hopes that a more reliably liberal Democratic caucus in the Senate means fewer compromises with Republicans. Manchin is currently the deciding vote for most Senate issues; if he throws his support in with the GOP, the Democratic agenda is largely dead on arrival. Sinema is less reliably moderate but is instead unpredictable — an independent Democrat who will not caucus with either the center or the far-left.
Both stand in the way of a number of extreme, progressive goals, including eliminating the filibuster and packing the Supreme Court with additional justices. They also likely stand with Joe Biden’s White House against instituting a Medicare-for-All, single-payer health care program in place of the Affordable Care Act.
“Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have both pleaded to help Republicans to negotiate their own party down from real solutions to half measures in the name of ‘bipartisanship,” No Excuses PAC said in a statement Tuesday. “We will replace them.”
“The only real way to pressure any of these folks and hold them accountable to their promises is to threaten their power, and threaten the seat that they hold and threaten their reelection,” No Excuses co-founder and former Ocasio-Cortez chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti, told Politico. “We sort of have this theory that the voters in Arizona and the voters in West Virginia would care more about action, they care more about jobs and their community and money in their pockets than they do about an arcane Senate rule called the filibuster.”
The first step, the PAC says, is a recruitment campaign, and they will send out an email on Tuesday, asking supporters for help finding “the next AOC to replace Manchin and Sinema.”
There are problems, however. Neither Sinema nor Manchin is up for re-election in 2022, and most mid-year contests favor the outside party, meaning both the Senate and House are likely to flip to Republicans, rendering Sinema and Manchin powerless again. Sinema will probably run for re-election in 2024, but Manchin may not, given his age. And while Arizona is becoming more reliably “blue” with each passing election, West Virginia is moving into the “red;” Politico notes that Manchin may be the only Democrat who can comfortably hold that Senate seat.
In other words, Sinema fits in well with her constituency, and a deep-blue candidate would not do as well in West Virginia as a moderate Democrat.
That won’t stop No Excuses from trying, though, and they believe they can raise millions for the effort.
“If it comes down to an actual vote on modifying the filibuster and it just won’t pass because of these two, then people are going to be so angry that there will be that national base of donors who really, really love to donate to a campaign to unseat these guys,” another of the group’s founders said. “It won’t be any problem to raise many, many millions of dollars in that scenario.”
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