With voting rights expansion dead, the only thing left to do is to try to make a deal to salvage BBB, and the obvious path forward is to try to meet Manchin’s formal demands:
In any case, giving Manchin what he wants is preferable to leaving Biden’s agenda for dead. Perhaps there is some other strategy that could credibly move Manchin without awarding him further substantive concessions. Given that caving to Manchin involves acquiescing to a large increase in America’s child poverty rate, such a gambit would surely be worth pursing. But the party’s quixotic effort to strong-arm the senator on the filibuster does not inspire confidence.
A version of Build Back Better that included nothing except for its climate provisions would be worth fighting for, let alone one that also made prekindergarten nearly universal. If the U.S. invests $500 billion into a green transition this year, it will likely hit its emissions target for 2030 and help catalyze cost reductions and innovations that will help developing countries industrialize sustainably. Before Democrats “cut their losses and move on” from averting catastrophic climate change, they should at least see if Manchin is willing to accept what he’s been asking for.
It is, needless to say, entirely possible than Manchin is negotiating in bad faith — but there’s no downside to trying to make a deal.