It cannot be said enough how Republican leaning West Virginia is. President Joe Biden secured 29.7% of the vote against Donald Trump in the 2020 election. This was somehow an improvement over Hillary Clinton’s 26% of the vote in 2016. Clinton had the worst performance for a Democratic presidential nominee since West Virginia became a state. Biden was the second worst.
No other Democrat in Congress representing a district or state leans in as much of a Republican as Munchkin. In fact, no other Democrat represents a district or state where Biden has received less than 40% of the vote, only less than 30% of the vote.
Manchin is the only Democrat to have any state-wide elected office in West Virginia. The Democratic nominee for the other Senate seat (the very progressive Paula Jean Svergin) received only 27% of the vote in 2020, a share less than Biden’s.
When it comes to filibusters in particular, Munchkin’s ideas seem to be very much mainstream. I say “seemingly” because a lot of Americans aren’t familiar with filibusters, and may have differing views on how the question is actually asked.
Even among Democrats, only 55% wanted the filibuster to fall short of 60 votes. There was a substantial minority (38%) who wanted it to be kept the same (26%) or raised (12%).
On a different question, only 30% of Democrats want to get rid of filibuster altogether.
Munchkin’s sentiments may not be the most popular on Twitter, but they represent at least a large portion of the Democrats in the electorate.
Now, let me point out that the public is more strongly divided when it comes to election rules and legislation regarding voting rights. It is on this topic, of course, that many Democrats are willing to ditch the filibuster.
When asked whether they supported or opposed the use of filibuster on this type of legislation, Americans were split from 46% to 46%. Note, the question did not ask whether Filebuster should be removed if it was used on an election form bill. Just whether it should be allowed.
Still, Manchin’s approach remains mainstream. Focusing on Democrats, Manchin is among 32% who supported allowing filibusters on the election reform bill.
Some of those Democrats are Munchkin’s allies in the Senate.
These senators aren’t brought anywhere near as close to Munchkin because they’re not front and center about going against the base. It’s good politics for Manchin in West Virginia given that the Democratic base is desperately opposed to something.
The bottom line is that Munchkin not only gives Democrats a majority, but he provides cover for many moderates who are more than happy to take the heat.