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Chris Slater: Manchin is the cliche 'lesser of two evils' in WV (Gazette Opinion)

Chris Slater

Chris Slater

The worst feeling is when you know you’ve really hurt somebody. You want the anger to explode out of them so that they can cool off and feel better, but instead you receive nothing. They’re not mad, they’re disappointed. And, that’s when you know you’ve really messed up, when you’ve disappointed somebody who is important to you.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., you’ve disappointed a lot of people who wanted you to do the right thing and vote against Brett Kavanaugh becoming a Supreme Court justice. Now, this isn’t the time to dive into guilt or innocence — what is done is done. But, a man who had seemingly credible accusations against him made a horrible showing trying to defend himself, and he should not have been allowed to ascend to the highest position in the U.S. judiciary.

Here’s why I’m not mad, though. If you haven’t realized this life lesson, it’s time to have your bubble of innocence burst: politics is a game. When the confirmation hearings were happening, most of America knew how their senators would vote. Manchin was one of the few who could have gone either way, and he wound up breaking party lines to vote with the Republican majority.

Why did Manchin do this? Because politics is a game. Manchin is a Democrat in a red state. The legend of Robert C. Byrd in West Virginia has taught generations that Democrats have good intentions, which is why West Virginians still elect them sometimes (including our Democrat-turned-Republican governor). But, people in this state seemingly looked around at their lives, seeing unhappiness and disappointment for whatever reason and thought electing a Republican president would fix things.

Manchin has to walk that fine line. What is the bigger political risk — having West Virginia’s anti-Kavanaugh female crowd mad at him, or having the pro-Trump crowd flinging vitriol? He took a chance and voted to appease the crowd who seemed the angriest.

That’s why I’m not mad. I’m disappointed. West Virginia residents deserve somebody better than Manchin. The sad reality is we don’t have anybody better. The sad state of this country is that we’re still a two-party system. Yes, a write-in space exists, but there is not enough support for a third party candidate. Hopefully this won’t be the case in the future, but as it was the case in 2016 and before, in 2018 voting third party is basically throwing your vote away. Not voting at all is even worse.

This Election Day, we have two options. You can vote for Manchin, the former governor and incumbent senator, or you can vote for Patrick Morrisey, the current attorney general who has taken brown-nosing the president to heights unimaginable.

My fear for Nov. 6 is that people who are mad at Manchin may not be thinking clearly. I’ve had time to process what is happening, and the facts are this: Morrisey will vote 100 percent of the time with the president and Republicans. Manchin will vote maybe 50 to 75 percent of the time with them.

I rolled my eyes when the term “lesser of two evils” was thrown around in 2016. That was not the case. I supported Hillary Clinton. I do not support Manchin. But, for the sake of West Virginia’s future, we need him. Morrisey will undoubtedly vote to dismantle the Affordable Care Act if given the chance. If legislation is brought forth to take rights away from women, members of the LGBTQ community or people of any religion that isn’t Christianity, it is guaranteed that Morrisey will do whatever he can to make life difficult for those people. There is a chance that Manchin won’t. It’s horrible that I’m going to vote for

a candidate on the slim chance that he won’t make the state any worse, but I see a thin silver lining. Manchin is the lesser of two evils.

I want this to be the last term that Manchin wins. We need to spend the next six years finding a candidate who is right for the job, and isn’t just good for right now.

Chris Slater is a copy editor with the Gazette-Mail. He can be reached via email at or

Funerals for Sunday, October 13, 2019

Adams, Tammy - 2 p.m., Evans Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Chapmanville.

Averson, Louie - 2 p.m., Armstrong Funeral Home, Whitesville.

Durst, Betty - 3 p.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.

Elkins, Norwood - 2 p.m., Spencer Chapel, Hewett.

Farley, Richard - 2 p.m., Henson & Kitchen Mortuary, Huntington.

Hatten, Joseph - 1 p.m., Casdorph & Curry Funeral Home, St. Albans.

Light, David - 2 p.m., O’Dell Funeral Home, Montgomery.

Samples, Romie - 2 p.m., The Family Cemetery, Procious.

Williamson, Hi - 11 a.m., Evans Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Chapmanville.