Joe Manchin looks annoyed.

Joe Manchin: Can’t Live With Him, Risk Losing the Senate Without Him

Joe Manchin, the Democrat Senator from West Virginia, who let’s face it was a Democrat in name only, is finally leaving the Senate. It’s a mixed bag, really, because now it makes the map for the Democrats to keep the Senate that much harder, but also he was deeply annoying and clearly didn’t care about improving the country for anyone but himself.

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Manchin announced this week he wouldn’t seek reelection, and honestly, the country will probably be better off for it. His legacy in the Senate will be porkbarrel spending for environmentally unfriendly projects in his home state of West Virginia and being an obstructionist to getting anything meaningful done in the chamber. A fact he seems to be proud of to this day.

Before we get to all that, here’s his retirement statement:

“After months of deliberation and long conversations with my family, I believe in my heart of hearts that I have accomplished what I set out to do for West Virginia. I have made one of the toughest decisions of my life and decided that I will not be running for re-election to the United States Senate, but what I will be doing is traveling the country and speaking out to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle and bring Americans together.”

Even a Democrat in name only is more helpful than a Republican in the Senate in that at the very least, it keeps Chuck Schumer in charge of things instead of the dreaded and extremely loathsome Mitch McConnell.  Lest you forget, the Democrats outnumber the Republicans only 51 – 49, which is why Manchin had so much power the last few years. The Dems needed his and/or fellow deeply annoying, self-serving Senator Kirsten Sinema’s vote in order to pass anything—a position both Manchin and Sinema seemed to publicly relish.

Here’s a very brief rundown of how Manchin made the world a worse place to be through his obstructionism, courtesy of HuffPost:

Though he often voted with Democrats, including on judicial nominations, Manchin was a regular thorn in the side of President Joe Biden’s expansive domestic agenda. He dramatically reduced the size of Biden’s original health care and climate proposal and killed an expanded child tax credit that lifted millions of children out of poverty. What eventually passed, with Manchin’s blessing, was the more slimmed-down Inflation Reduction Act.

Now that’s all coming to an end. Manchin the Senator, will be no more. Oh well. This is akin to breaking up with a terrible boyfriend. Manchin was never there for us when we needed him. He centered himself in everything. Pushed his own special interests on the country and never returned the favor in paying attention to what we actually cared about. (Hi, abortion rights!)

So really, it’s good he’s leaving the Senate now before he decides to grow a goatee, takes up the acoustic guitar, and insists on singing at us every night. Let’s count our small blessings here because the 2024 election map for the Senate doesn’t look great!

West Virginia will almost certainly elect a Republican to fill that seat, as it’s a state that has voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 2000. This means that the map for the Dems to retain control of the Senate just got much harder. Via HuffPost:

Republicans are all but certain to flip his seat in a state that backed Donald Trump in the last two presidential elections. And they have decent odds of unseating other Democratic Senate incumbents who hail from red states, including Sherrod Brown in Ohio and Jon Tester in Montana.

Now, I don’t put much stock into what polls say, but I have been paying attention to which way Montana and Ohio have been voting recently. It will be a tough road for both Brown and Tester to retain their seats in the Senate.

The 2024 Senate races break down like this: Republicans currently hold 11 seats up for election, while the Democrats, and the Independents who caucus with them, have 23. Even an English major like myself can see that’s not a great position for the Dems to be in. Now subtract Manchin from the 23 because common sense does dictate that the Dems will not hold that seat, and, well, crap.

Here’s some good news though. Ted Cruz, who simply sucks, is up for reelection. I’m not so delusional to think that he could be swept away in a blue wave, here. It’s just a nice thought that there is a potential outcome where he loses his seat.

Back to Manchin, though. There’s something infuriating about the fact that he gets to ride off into the sunset, instead of staying to give the Democrats at least a chance at the majority. However, based on his track record of being self-serving first, and worrying about the good of the country second, I guess this tracks.

So long Joe Manchin, and don’t let the screen door hit you on the way out.

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson (no, not that one) has been writing about pop culture and reality TV in particular for six years, and is a Contributing Writer at The Mary Sue. With a deep and unwavering love of Twilight and Con Air, she absolutely understands her taste in pop culture is both wonderful and terrible at the same time. She is the co-host of the popular Bravo trivia podcast Bravo Replay, and her favorite Bravolebrity is Kate Chastain, and not because they have the same first name, but it helps.