Manchin announced on “Fox News Sunday” that he will be a definitive “no” on voting for the BBB plan after lengthy debate.
“I’ve always said this, Bret: if I can’t go home and explain to the people of West Virginia, I can’t vote for it,” Manchin told guest host Bret Baier. “And I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can’t. I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there.”
He later answered “This is a no on this piece of legislation. I have tried everything I know to do.”
Liberal media and progressive politicians immediately attacked Manchin for his position, including his colleague Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who accused Manchin of being beholden to pharmaceutical companies. Others called the decision “devastating,” while ABC’s “This Week” panel showed visual disappointment at the news.
However, there were also several consistent predictions that Manchin’s decision could herald the end of democracy as they knew it.
MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan tweeted out “What’s worse – that Manchin is killing the Biden legislative agenda, and perhaps the future of American democracy too, or that he wasted most of this year dragging this whole thing out to do it *and* wasted half of the time that Dems control Congress and the White House.”
In a largely mocked tweet, The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin wrote “If Manchin is no on both BBB and voting, Biden is done. Democracy is hanging by a thread. Hard to think of anyone more destructive.”
In an appearance on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” journalist Carl Bernstein also implied that Manchin’s vote could drastically affect American democracy in his refusal to eliminate the filibuster rule in the Senate.
“And this also goes into the question of voting rights because unless there’s something that can be done about the filibuster rule in the Senate which Manchin again has indicated he will not change, there is not going to be an effective legislative means of doing what needs to be done to guarantee American democracy through the right to vote for all Americans without being suppressed as we’re seeing now,” Bernstein said.
Bernstein earlier described Manchin’s vote as a “huge setback.”
“It’s a huge setback. It shows once again that the power of Sen. Manchin, which is so disproportionate to what it ought to be, and Sen. Sinema as well. But what we have here is the interests of the American people in the legislation and is going to go down defeated or not come to fruition,” Bernstein said.
Others have claimed that Manchin’s vote in and of itself proves the end of democracy.
The Daily Beast’s Wajahat Ali tweeted, “Entire nation of more than 330 million hijacked & screwed by corporate greed & lobbyists who own a man whose represents a state of 1.8 million people. I hope all of this reflects the need for massive structural reform and change. In its absence we’re a shell of a democracy.”
MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell commented that “A ‘healthy democracy’ would not have a Senate with 2 per state. (Or an Electoral College.)”
Reactions to Manchin’s vote matched the treatment he had been receiving for his disagreement with Biden and the more progressive members of the Democratic Party.