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Manchin is a political dead man walking

Years ago I went to a great winter resort in West Virginia. Along with smoking cigars and drinking bourbon, I sampled some of the down home culinary delights.

But throughout the entire sumptuous country breakfast inventory I did not witness even one example of a piece of toast that walks and talks. That is, until I saw Joe Manchin making a Senate floor speech on impeachment.

Not trusted by the Democrats because he votes with the Republicans too much, Manchin is a Democrat who only reluctantly endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016. Those factors made him a pariah in his own party. He only won 2018 reelection over his GOP opponent by less than 20,000 votes out of over 560,000 cast. That works out to a too close for comfort 0.3% margin of victory in a deep red Trump state.

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Without those Trump crossovers in 2024 he will become, as mentioned above, a warm breakfast morsel. Thus, his vote to convict the president and remove him from office currently all but guarantees Manchin’s defeat in four years.

However, his pariah status has been somewhat mitigated by the fact that as he voted with the GOP much of the time he was treated as a fifth Beatle on occasion by the president and Mitch McConnell. Even with this vote that might have continued, after a decent interval, if Manchin had not sent out mixed signals on his vote.

Just a couple of days before the Wednesday impeachment votes he told the press he preferred a Senate censure of the president to conviction. He claimed that could get a bipartisan majority. A censure is an essentially toothless slap on the wrist from one politician to another.

When asked, given he was asking for an alternative to removal from office, if he would vote to convict the president he hemmed and hawed. The press, including this analyst, and GOP senators took that as a trial balloon and publicly put him in the leaning towards acquittal category. Manchin did not dissuade them.

And then he voted to convict.

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Democrats breathed a small sigh of relief but Republicans felt sold out. The consequence of his guilty vote is that Manchin will go from being the GOP’s favorite Democrat to just another palooka to be crushed.

All for a vote he knew the Democrats couldn’t win anyway. Just like your 2016 endorsement of Hillary Clinton that you admitted was a dumb move, this one will cost you, Joe.

This time, it will cost you your Senate seat.