President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law last week, and while there was some good, Black, Native, and Latino farmers received debt relief, it could have been so much better. One of the reasons it wasn’t better is owing to West Virginia Senator Joseph Manchin.
So imagine my feigned surprise when I woke up this morning and saw David Leonhardt’s love letter (The Most Valuable Democrat) to Manchin in the New York Times. The thesis of the letter is racism and white supremacy can be pillar features of the Democrats too!
In the letter, Dave highlighted at one point that Manchin shot Obama — his climate bill:
He is correct. Nothing brings white people from the libertarian(ish) left or right together like hating Obama.
Dave is right about that.
White supremacists love using Obama’s name like D.W. Griffin used biracial fictional governor Lynch in “Birth of a Nation” inspired by real-life biracial South Carolina lieutenant governor Ransier— to remind white supremacists of the dangers of (non-white) identity politics and Black people voting.
“I am not racist. I just didn’t like his politics.”
Sure Bob, I regularly threaten to torture and cut off body parts of people I don’t politically agree with either. Yeah, totally reasonable expression of that, Bob. By the way, Bob, that is sarcasm.
Then Dave goes on to put a period on the mediocre West Virginian’s greatness:
“It’s unclear how many of Biden’s cabinet nominees would have been defeated and how successful the president would be at putting federal judges on the bench.”David Leonhardt, New York Times
The New York Times, CNN, centrists, and the rest of the middle-aged Ivy League frat boy bro media are obsessed with Manchin and it is truly mystifying.
Neoliberals did not save the Democratic Party from Trump. Democrats buying the continued uplift of that purview will aid to them losing in the midterms if they are not careful.
Georgian Senators, Ossoff and Warnock, with help from Stacey Abrams is the reason we have a stimulus package. Senator Mark Kelly in Arizona is the reason we have a stimulus package. All of their wins were accomplished by focusing on an-All American base that did not center whiteness.
All-American would include Latino, Black, Asian American, and Native people who live in the U.S. in addition to the default white.
Manchin’s power isn’t a power. Anyone could decide to ruin people’s lives. Manchin just decided it would be him. His only superpower value is whiteness.
I’m not a fan of $15.00 federal wage because it is too low, but I am a fan of a bottom that is higher than $7.25, which is criminal. Manchin rejected raising that bottom, although many of his constituents live in abject poverty. Manchin also was instrumental in lowering unemployment insurance $100, making weekly payouts $300.
That is a big deal to a lot of people Dave. $400 is the difference between food in the fridge and hunger.
No Dave whiteness — the whiteness your brethren call middle-class or rural as polite euphemisms is not how this country wins. We do not need more Manchins.
No one hyping Manchin is talking about class, because West Virginia is the third most impoverished state in the United States of America, with a per capita income of $23,450. Is that the America we want? West Virginia?!
The only part of Manchin’s appeal is white supremacy. Do we need to continue to do this in 2021?
Manchin is not powerful. He is cruel.
The answer on how to deal with Manchin is to create and champion policies that help all Americans. Direct payouts while the economy is recovering from COVID-19, single-payer health care, raise unemployment benefits, making policies that take into consideration unpartnered parents, raising the minimum wage to a just level, and debt relief for students. The Democrats can accomplish these tasks if they cease being complacent and indifferent towards the blatant voter disenfranchisement of Black people in the southern part of the country and Chicano voters in the Southwest.
Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi can have Democrat Senators.
Manchin and those that lift him continue to tear open the festering wound of racism that still infects the U.S. The Democrats will never be racist enough to change the mind of white supremacists, but they can be inspiring enough to get the rest of us, the majority of the U.S., to come out and vote.
The continued fear of not being racist enough to appeal to neoconfederate dead-enders will kill the Democratic Party. And it is ultimately the wrong fear, morally and pragmatically.
Teka Lo, Public Intellectuals