“Senator Joe Manchin has become more powerful than Joe Biden by blocking a plan to improve the living conditions of Americans”

LThe serious lurch suffered by the social reform project wanted by Joe Biden, blocked for the moment by a Democratic senator whose voice is essential, has a virtue, that of recalling the foundations of politics, starting with its constraints. One does only that of his means, and those of the President of the United States are limited.

The left wing of the Democratic Party may consider, not without reason, that by blocking a plan to improve the living conditions of Americans, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, the most powerful “Joe” in Washington in the makes his vote, plays against the interests of his camp, including those of his own citizens. This anger makes her publicly question the political identity of the elected official.

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Joe Manchin is indeed a conservative Democrat able to vote in favor of two of the three judges chosen by Republican Donald Trump for the Supreme Court. Also capable of blocking the appointment of the candidate of Joe Biden for peccadilloes to occupy the strategic position of director of the budget. And he is one of the last Democratic advocates in the Senate of filibuster, the obstruction technique which allows a minority of elected officials to block the majority’s reform projects. Including when the latter intends to protect the fundamental mechanism of a democracy: the exercise of the vote, attacked in many republican states.

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, in Washington, September 30, 2021.

The democratic ire does not however mask a reality which prevents Joe Biden at this moment from putting his steps as president in those of illustrious reformers, whether it is Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Lyndon Baines Johnson. Unlike these predecessors, he does not have majorities in Congress tailored for his ambitions.

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Until the results of two Georgia senatorial elections on January 5, the party of the president elected on November 3, 2020 was in the minority in the Senate. The double victory and the casting vote of the vice-president, also president of the Senate, Kamala Harris, made it possible to confirm in their posts the overwhelming majority of personalities with which Joe Biden wished to surround himself. A gigantic emergency plan to support the economy, threatened by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the first part of the reforms he envisaged when he arrived at the White House, a historic plan to modernize American infrastructure, have were also adopted.

Republican fortress

This tiny majority of one vote, however, created a particularly constrained balance of power which grants the most centrist Democrats, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, elected from Arizona, a real right of veto. The leadership of the Democratic Party may get angry, but there is only one alternative: to win additional seats. It is difficult to see how the Democratic left wing, overrepresented in solid and comfortable bastions, could achieve this on the real mission lands of West Virginia, won more than 68% by Donald Trump in 2020, or the Grand Canyon State, which was a Republican fortress for a long time.

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“Senator Joe Manchin has become more powerful than Joe Biden by blocking a plan to improve the living conditions of Americans”