There’s no Democrat most Democrats outside of West Virginia find more consistently annoying than Joe Manchin. He consistently provides the most unreliable vote on numerous issues that national Democrats care deeply about. Many Democrats say he should just become a Republican or get primaried. You probably remember that when he last ran for reelection he ran an ad in which he shot the “cap and trade” bill currently before Congress – a twofer of cultural and economic messaging.
This time, running for reelection in what is likely the most pro-Trump state in the country, West Virginia, he’s running a similar ad. But what he’s shooting this time is quite interesting. It’s a lawsuit, supported by his rival, that threatens Obamacare.
Yes, Manchin is running on Obamacare.
Now to be precise, he doesn’t namecheck “Obamacare” or even the “ACA”. He focuses on the threat that this lawsuit – which is supported by numerous Republicans, including the one in the White House and almost certainly Brett Kavanaugh – will strike down the ACA’s protections for those with pre-existing conditions. This is, of course, one of the central and probably one of the most popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Manchin is making it the centerpiece of his campaign.
Some of this reminds us of the fact that West Virginia used to be one of the most reliable Democratic states in the country – actually until quite recently. It’s a deeply poor state which is highly dependent on various government programs. In our current politics, it’s also no big surprise that it would be a major Trump state. It’s white, rural, older, culturally conservative and heavily dependent on coal. But it’s also the kind of state that benefits hugely from Obamacare.
Here’s the ad.
Patrick Morrisey's lawsuit would take away health care from people with pre-existing conditions. That's just dead wrong, and that ain't gonna happen. pic.twitter.com/QFTSZGnmdK
— Joe Manchin (@JoeManchinWV) September 10, 2018
The key piece of information here is that even though West Virginia is probably the most pro-Trump state in the country, Manchin is probably more likely to get reelected than any other Red State Democrat running this year. And a lot of them are doing surprisingly well. RCP gives him a healthy 8.4 percent lead in the three public polls taken so far.