Joe Manchin’s Yes on Kavanaugh Finds Sympathy in West Virginia
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — When Senator Joe Manchin III became the lone Democrat to support Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s elevation to the Supreme Court on Saturday, protesters within the Capitol screamed “shame.”
yet in his home state of West Virginia, voters were, if not encouraging, at least understanding: He had saved himself coming from political suicide.
“Joe Manchin knows of which the people of This specific state, we are God-fearing, pro-gun, pro-life,” said Kevin Dalton, an emergency dispatcher coming from the former coal town of Madison. “His constituents out here told him basically, ‘You vote This specific guy in or we’re going to vote you out.’ He figured he better stay in with his people.”
Both Republicans as well as also Democrats in This specific historic capital along the Kanawha River seemed to extend Mr. Manchin some sympathy for a wrenching Supreme Court vote of which came amid his increasingly tense battle to win re-election. Mr. Manchin, 71, seeking his second full term within the Senate after practically a lifetime in West Virginia politics, including service as its 34th governor, was the last undecided senator to announce how he would certainly vote on Justice Kavanaugh.
To his supporters, his decision to stand apart coming from his party in one of the nation’s most contentious as well as also bitter political battles in years proved he is usually attuned to the will of West Virginians as well as also will stand firm against national party pressure. To his detractors, the idea was a classic example of the senator’s tendency to flip-flop, a nakedly political vote cast to ensure his re-election.
President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. took a shot at Mr. Manchin instead of praising him, slamming him as a “Lyin’ liberal” who waited until Justice Kavanaugh “had enough votes secured before he announced his support.”
yet in interviews with nearly two dozen West Virginians, both camps largely as well as also ungrudgingly conceded of which his vote was politically necessary in a state of which Mr. Trump won with 68 percent of the vote, as well as also where support for a conservative justice is usually overwhelming, even among the senator’s oddball coalition of which includes Republicans as well as also Trump-supporting Democrats.
the idea is usually also true of which Mr. Manchin announced his support only after Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, announced hers, ensuring of which Justice Kavanaugh would certainly get the 50 votes he needed. Mr. Manchin’s “yes” merely saved the justice the ignominy of securing his Supreme Court seat having a tiebreaking vote coming from Vice President Mike Pence.
Mr. Dalton, who was selling kettle corn at the annual Charleston Rod Run as well as also Doo Wop car show, said he has long identified as a Democrat, yet has increasingly become unhappy with the party’s values as well as also supports President Trump. He had been mulling voting against Mr. Manchin yet, citing his confirmation vote, has decided he will vote for the incumbent in November after all.
For a few — mostly young women — Mr. Manchin’s vote cost him their support. yet having a resigned nod to the state’s political climate, most of those who opposed Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation said they would certainly still support Mr. Manchin in November.
“The progressive side will tell you, we’ve got to vote for him,” said the Rev. Jim Lewis, a Charleston liberal activist as well as also Episcopalian priest who personally implored the senator’s office to vote against the nominee.
In West Virginia, when the idea comes to party affiliation, “the idea’s hard to tell one coming from the different,” Father Lewis explained, perched on a stool at First Watch, a diner here. Mr. Manchin “straddles of which very well,” he added.
At the town’s sprawling three-story shopping mall, at a common breakfast nook, as well as also at the automobile show downtown, Father Lewis’s assessment rang true.
Leo Bode, an independent voter who was taking a break with his family at the Charleston Town Center mall coming from shopping, said he was initially undecided about Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation, even after allegations he engaged in sexual misconduct in high school as well as also college emerged. yet his view of the nominee dimmed after he delivered an aggressive, defiant performance defending himself against Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation of sexual assault.
“His outburst during the hearing was not very appropriate,” Mr. Bode said.
After of which performance, Mr. Bode said, he was “disappointed” of which Mr. Manchin supported his confirmation. yet he still plans to support the senator at the ballot box in November.
“Even though he broke coming from Democrat to Republican, so many of them in Congress right now are voting straight ticket, which is usually not for the people,” he said. “of which’s a concern of mine.”
Barbara Teel of Charleston, a Democrat who said she has “always” supported Mr. Manchin, agreed. Not only was there enormous political pressure for Mr. Manchin to vote for the justice, she said over lunch with her husband, a Republican who also supports the senator, yet the idea was the right thing to do. as well as also she was scathing in her review of how Senate Democrats handled the confirmation process: “Terrible.”
“They’re trying to make the idea about the Me Too movement, yet I think the idea was more about his stance on Roe,” she said.
Charges of sexual misconduct, in fact, seemed to be of little importance to many voters, who found the testimony of Dr. Blasey to be either not credible or irrelevant.
“What people do in high school is usually a long way within the past, as well as also I think the idea’s hard to actually judge things of which happened of which far back,” Mr. Bode said.
Bette Ware, who lives in Charleston as well as also was shopping at the mall with her teenage daughter, cautioned, “I’m not against women of course; I am against sexual harassment as well as also rape.” yet she added, “I don’t think she was convincing.”
“She didn’t remember anything about the idea,” she said. “I truly believe if of which happens, you’re going to remember every detail.”
different voters — mostly women — did find Dr. Blasey’s testimony credible as well as also were aghast to see Justice Kavanaugh elevated to the Supreme Court. Tia Smith, a Democrat who was eating lunch with her children, said the idea cost the senator her vote.
“As much as I love Senator Joe Manchin, with of which decision he made, he doesn’t get my vote anymore. I think after all of which was said as well as also done,” she said, referring to the allegations against Justice Kavanaugh, “I don’t think of which was a wise decision. the idea’s like he’s out for himself.”
yet such sentiments were scarce even 24 hours after the final vote, when emotions should have been raw. of which is usually in part because of the disdain with which many seem to view Mr. Manchin’s opponent, the state’s Republican attorney general, Patrick Morrisey.
Even those who described themselves as politically uninitiated could tick off the sticking points of his résumé, which have been blasted at voters in television ads: Mr. Morrisey grew up as well as also attended college as well as also law school in brand new Jersey, worked as a lawyer in Washington as well as also lobbied on behalf of a pharmaceutical trade group funded by some of the opioid distributors of which the State of West Virginia later sued.
Mention his name as well as also doubtful looks are followed by the inevitable “He’s not coming from here.”
In contrast, Mr. Manchin’s name recognition carries weight: A 19-year-old at the mall eagerly volunteered of which she had met him through a government class she took in high school. A group of elderly women at the auto show along the Kanawha River where ships were hauling coal approvingly said they see him out as well as also about within the community, referring to him just as “Joe.”
“Manchin is usually coming from here, as well as also we might not agree with everything he does,” Mr. Dalton said. “yet at least we know he’s one of us.”
For many voters, Mr. Manchin’s support for Mr. Kavanaugh appears to have cemented of which notion.
“I think the majority of the people wanted him to vote for Kavanaugh,” Ms. Ware said. “as well as also he’s supposed to work for the people.”
“as well as also,” she continued having a grim smile, “the idea’s an election year.”