News & Politics

Sen. Joe Manchin Says No Democrats Support Defunding Police. Has He Met the Democratic Party?

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

NBC’s social media tweeted this nugget from Sunday’s Meet the Press show.

Wondering if the West Virginia Democrat was being quoted accurately in the mainstream media, I sought out the show online. Here it is. At about 19 minutes in, host Chuck Todd asks Manchin why Joe Biden out-performed the Democratic Party. It’s an interesting question, as is the angle. The Democrats did face significant losses down-ballot, losing more than a dozen House seats, failing to capture the Senate despite an unfavorable map for Republicans, and taking a shellacking at the state level, while somehow apparently winning the top prize. It’s an unusual outcome, to say the least, for a challenger to defeat an incumbent president and have negative coattails everywhere else.

Manchin’s answer to Todd: “Most certainly. In my state, I’m the last Democrat standing.”

True so far. West Virginia was once a Democrat lock. During the Obama years, though, the state flipped red and Manchin is the last holdout, surviving by playing moderate in a party that is running headlong to the left. The question has long been, who is Manchin playing, his party or his voters?

Manchin continued: “The bottom line is, we’ve been identified as something we’re not. I’m a West Virginia Democrat, a proud West Virginia Democrat. And I don’t know of any Democrat that I know of that would ever defund the police. And how that got on as a mantra that’s a Democrat slogan? That’s not true. And how all these other things that seem to be extremes are not true. It’s not who we are. But we were tagged with that. We were, slow, probably, as a party, responding to it.”

From there Manchin went into the usual political pabulum, finishing up by crying that it’s “unfair” for Democrats to be “tagged” as wanting to defund the police.

No one “tagged” the Democrats with “defund the police.” He’s implying that the Republicans or someone else did, but that just didn’t happen. The hard left came out hard with the defund movement in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Democrats either ran hard right along with it, or they stayed silent about it. Joe Biden, the Democrat standard-bearer, infamously took months to finally come out against it — and only after polls clearly showed that it’s a loser issue that about 80% of Americans disagree with.

Host Chuck Todd failed to challenge Manchin at all on his claim that the Democrats did not stand for defunding the police. He just did not challenge Manchin at all. The two may as well have been trading soup recipes during their chummy chat.

Todd could certainly have questioned Manchin’s claims, as there is ample material available. Defunding police was not only an issue from the end of May through the election, it’s still an active issue right now.

Both Manchin and Todd surely know this. In case they don’t, here’s a taste.

Who is “tagging” Democrats with this? Rep. Ilhan Omar — a Democrat in the party’s good standing — is blasting former President Barack Obama — another Democrat — for criticizing “defund the police.” This discussion isn’t from decades or even months ago. It’s happening right now.

Around the country this year, New York City defunded its police. Los Angeles defunded its police. Portland, Ore., defunded its police. Seattle, Wash., is defunding its police. The Minneapolis city council has been trying to defund its police for months. The city council of Dallas, Texas, defunded its police. The city council of Austin, Texas, went farther than any other city in defunding its police, gutting the police budget by about one-third.

All of these cities are run by Democrats. They all intentionally defunded or are actively trying to defund their police forces. Crime rates have soared in most of them but the defund Democrats don’t seem to care.

Manchin did not have to look far to find Democrats who support defunding the police. In addition to Rep. Omar, fellow “squad” member Rep. AOC is still defending defunding police. They’re both in Manchin’s party, and they’re not exactly camera-shy. They’re everywhere, all over social media just about every day. Does the man not have access to Google? Is his staff this inept at briefing him on the politics of the day, week, month, and year? Surely not.

Manchin is aware of all of this, and the quote he gave Todd is a deliberate lie. This answers the question of who Sen. Joe Manchin is playing.

He’s playing you, West Virginia, along with the rest of the country. Sen. Joe Manchin’s role is to be the Democrat who can be trotted out to make the radicals in his party seem moderate. He exists to give them useful cover, and should the Democrats take the Senate via the Georgia runoffs in January, he would give those radicals a vote to create a Democrat majority that will shove extreme policies down the nation’s throat. And he knows this.

Both Manchin and Chuck Todd are in on the game here. So is NBC’s social media, which pulled that quote and highlighted it to help put a moderate, reasonable veneer on what has become a dangerously radical party.

The quote is getting its due on Twitter, but that really doesn’t matter much. Where the policy meets the streets, it’s not a game and people are dying. Police officers are walking off the job at historic and frightening rates. There is no guarantee America’s cities will escape the violence the defund Democrats are unleashing.

When Manchin says he doesn’t know any Democrats who don’t support defunding the police, don’t believe him. When he says he will buck his party and block radical measures that would transform this nation, as Sen. Chuck Schumer has threatened to do ahead of the Georgia runoffs, don’t believe him.

Sen. Joe Manchin is serving his purpose for the radicals as a useful foil. If he disagreed with them fundamentally, he wouldn’t make himself available to cover for them. He might even take a look around and then switch parties on principle.

But in his own words, Joe Manchin is a “proud (West Virginia) Democrat.” Proud of what, exactly?

He’s proud of how well he plays the game.

Minneapolis Proves the Stupidity of Even Discussing Defunding the Police