There are Democrats in West Virginia who are going to vote for Senator Joe Manchin – no matter that he’s a corporate Democrat, no matter that he supports Big Pharma and the fossil fuel industry, no matter that he was the only Democratic Senator to vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
But there are Democrats in West Virginia who are not going to vote for Senator Manchin. And they are not going to vote for his opponent, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
What should they do?
Sarah Chayes says they should write in – “No More Manchins.”
Chayes, who lives in Paw Paw, West Virginia, is an internationally recognized expert on corruption. She has studied corruption around the world and written a book about it titled Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security (Norton, 2015).
Now she’s writing a book on corruption in the USA. (The working title is Kleptocracy in America – it’s a takeoff on Alexis de Toqueville’s Democracy in America.)
What would she say to those Democrats who say they have to vote for Manchin no matter what – because power in the Senate hangs in the balance?
“I will not vote for Senator Manchin,” Chayes told This Week in Morgan County with Russell Mokhiber. “I intend to write in. And I’m not going to write in a specific candidate. I want to resonate with that huge body of Mr. Nobody West Virginians. I want to write in – No More Manchins – and everything he represents – which somebody who puts a D label on their shirts, takes people’s votes for granted, and behaves as the lackey of the private sector members of the kleptocratic network that is running this state and running this nation. That means Big Pharma and Big Fossil Fuels.”
“His votes are always to benefit those guys. I would love to see his calendar and see how much time he spends schmoozing, talking, hearing the perspectives of, eating with, hunting with, hanging out with, drinking booze with, either lobbyists or executives of Big Pharma, and fossil fuel interests.”
“I’m sorry, but he is a human being like everybody else,” Chayes said. “He is influenced by what he hears the most from and what he identifies with personally.”
The upcoming election on November 6 might decide whether the Senate goes Republican or Democrat.
Why would you be willing to risk a Senate controlled by Republicans, a Senate that could push through maybe another Trump appointee to the Supreme Court?
“Here’s why. I want substance, not letters. We tend to judge everything by numbers these days. We say – Manchin, D after his name. Let’s get enough Ds and then we can worry about getting good Ds. And I’m like – a D who doesn’t represent the people of the state of West Virginia – I don’t care if he’s a D.”
“West Virginia has a powerful and glorious populist past – and I mean populist past – and I mean populist in the best sense – where ordinary people banded together to fight the abuse of the people who concentrated the wealth.”
“By standing there as a D, Manchin is preventing West Virginians from coming together to re-imagine what a populist party that really cares for the people ought to look like. He’s doing a greater favor to the Republicans by preventing the development of a real people oriented party.”