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Manchin

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I’m starting to see this on facebook, and I’m guessing it’s already happening here, so I’ll put this here rather than repeatedly in comments here and elsewhere:

I have a feeling we’re about to read a whole lot of “let’s devote resources to a primary challenge to Manchin in retaliation for the Sessions vote”, and much of the response to that will be “Manchin’s the best we can do in WV, so a primary just hands the seat over the Republicans” as a response. I’m sympathetic to both the demand and the response to it, but I think they both fail to think this through properly. If primary challenges from the left are a hammer, it’s worth keeping in mind that not all problems the Democratic party faces are nails. More specifically, a necessary-but-not-sufficient condition for “Primary!” to be the solution to the problem is an affirmative answer to the question “is the composition of the relevant Democratic primary electorate such that we might reasonably hope they’d prefer a standard Democrat to a Democrat who’ll throw his support behind white supremacy?” It seems relatively obvious to me the answer here is almost certainly “no”–WV has lots of conservative, white voters who are registered as, and in some sense still identify as Democrats, even as they’re increasingly unlikely to ever vote to send them to Washington, but would still be happy to turn out to help Good ol’ Joe defeat the race traitor before they abandon him for a Trumpist months later (as they surely would have done to Sanders, whom they helped win the primary, had he won the nomination). How much worse a hypothetical anti-Sessions Democrat’s chances would be in the general than Manchin’s, and is that a price we’re willing to pay, would be worth debating in a world where such a figure had a chance in hell of taking Manchin down. I’m not seeing it.:

….since many of the comments are unfolding in the fashion I predicted, let’s try this again:

The conversation everyone wants to have is “Should we stick a knife in Manchin’s gut, even if it might hurt us in the long run?” The relevant question is “Should we loudly announce our intention to stick a knife in his gut and let the chips fall where they will, then proceed to poke his belly with a plastic spork from the cafeteria?”

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