Former presidential candidate and current U.S. Sen. Berne Sanders (I-Vt) says a pair of conservative colleagues “sabotaged” President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda. He further claims that the Democratic strategy for dealing with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WVa) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz) is an “absolute political failure.”
In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Sanders says Manchin’s rejection of Biden’s Build Back Better bill and the pair’s sinking of voting rights legislation set the party on the wrong course. Since those two failures, he declared, “the Democratic Party has stumbled and fallen further and further behind.”
In an evenly divided Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote to count on, Democrats need every member on board if GOP opposition is united. That was the case with the pair of legislative defeats Sanders laid at the feet of Manchin and Sinema.
Just this week, Manchin threw cold water on Biden’s stalled social spending ideas as he called for a smaller bill. His support, he said, is for cutting the deficit, pulling back Republican tax cuts, lowering prescription drug prices, and supporting clean energy.
Back in October, Sanders wrote an essay that was published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, which is in Manchin’s home state. In it, he railed against wealthy Americans and the fossil fuel industry. In West Virginia of all places — at least give him credit for gumption.
And since he didn’t pick that state randomly, he went on to try to pressure Manchin into falling in line with Biden’s agenda.
Manchin, as expected, did not take it lying down. First he noted it’s not the first time an out-of-stater took it on themselves to tell West Virginians what to do despite having no relationship with the state. Then he declared that he will not support a radical expansion of federal programs just because of a newspaper writeup “from a self-declared Independent socialist.”
Sanders can score all the brownie points he cares to with the Democrat’s radical progressive wing, but that won’t get them one inch closer to the mainstream. Without both Manchin and Sinema courageous bucking the party elites, we would now have a federal takeover of local elections and be on the hook for trillions more in expenditures.