Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has earned another term in office.
He’s never been the liberal firebrand that some Democrats want. Then again, plenty of West Virginians appreciate his conservative side.
Manchin voted to help save the Affordable Care Act in the early days of the Trump administration, long before Republicans began pretending to care about pre-existing conditions. In a state where hundreds of thousands stood to lose health coverage, Manchin’s vote was what most of his constituents wanted him to do.
He also voted against Trump’s tax cuts, not because he didn’t want working West Virginians to have a short-term tax break, but because he didn’t want the resulting skyrocketing deficits, which the GOP will try to use as cover to cut Social Security and medical care for West Virginians and everyone else.
He’s also been a crucial vote for some Trump nominees. While we certainly disagree with his vote to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Manchin was again doing what his constituents wanted, given Trump carried West Virginia with nearly 70 percent of the vote.
In a time when politics is more polarizing than ever, it’s debatable whether centrism is a sin or virtue. But at least Manchin takes the time to examine the issues and seek constituents’ opinions before making up his mind.
No doubt, some of the choices he’s made reflect political expediency, but the alternative, a politician in lockstep with one administration or another, regardless of the consequences, does nothing to help West Virginians or the nation. Joe Manchin is not shy of people or tough decisions. He loves West Virginia. It shows, and the people would be well represented if they return him to the U.S. Senate.