It’s Joe Manchin’s Presidency Now.

Photo: REUTERS/Al Drago

Make no mistake about it; Friday’s failure to raise the minimum wage will doom the Democrats in 2022.

And while it may be Joe Biden’s name on the mailbox outside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, due to the 50–50 split in the senate, conservative senator Joe Manchin is effectively the most powerful man in the country.

Manchin wields unprecedented power in the senate, but he was not alone in this shameful failure for tens of millions of workers below the poverty line on Friday.

Joining Manchin were Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) Tom Carper (D-Del.), Angus King (I-Maine.), and every Republican member to sustain the procedural objection — killing the wage increase. This comes after a year of nearly every elected official holding up the many millions of essential workers that were just denied a raise as “heroes” throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

This move from Sen. Kyrsten Sinema enraged proponents of the wage increase online.

Friday’s minimum wage vote came shortly after news broke that centrist Democrats forced their leadership to accept a significant reduction in weekly unemployment benefits. This situation is changing as I write this piece. President Manchin is stalling the stimulus debate entirely because he is still unsatisfied with the duration of the amount and federal unemployment payments.

And don’t forget about those direct payments — which are now $1,400 instead of the $2,000 voters were promised. Due to President Manchin, those checks will now go to 17 million fewer people than the last round under Donald Trump. What a way to thank the Georgians who delivered this razor-thin Democratic majority.

It’s time to face facts. The longer Democrats kowtow to every Manchin demand, further and further capitulating against their own “agenda” in the process, the more likely it is Republicans will pummel them in 2022’s midterms.

The $15/hr minimum wage is supported by 67% of Americans. However, while holding power in all three government branches, due in part to running on an increase of the minimum wage, Democrats still fail to deliver. This inept display leaves the door wide open for Republicans to shamelessly grift once again, pretending they are the party of working Americans.

Asked if he was surprised by the number of Democrats who voted against his amendment for the minimum wage increase, Senator Sanders (I-VT) said: “No, we knew exactly what was happening.”

What is happening is you’re watching the Dems lose Senator Warnock’s (D-GA) newfound seat in 2022 (his recent win was technically a special election, and he will have to run again in the midterms).

What is happening is a continuation of the senate filibuster, a relic of the Jim Crow era that has effectively turned the senate’s “cooling bowl” into a deep freezer, where even moderate legislation goes to die. President Manchin has vowed to keep it in place, even at the expense of his legislative priorities.

What is happening is the Republican party, which today is only interested in waging unimportant and racially-motivated culture wars, may gain seats in 2022. The same people that emboldened the Liar in Chief and his big lie about a “stolen” election, culminating in a riot in our nation’s Capitol, will almost certainly have the upper hand going into the next election.

What is happening is the fight for $15/hr minimum wage will continue, only now without worker’s belief that either major political party is genuinely interested in fighting with them for it. Workers in Georgia (whose wages start at $7.25/hr, the current federal minimum) may think twice about persevering new and existing voter suppression tactics to deliver a majority for the Democrats. Unless drastic action is taken to right the ship, expect a bloodbath for the Democrats in 2022.

Nick Lozier.

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