Pence Attacks the One Democrat Who Would Have Been an Easy Pick-Up

A couple of months ago, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said that at one point he would have been “an easy pick-up” if Trump and Republicans had ever been serious about bipartisanship. But because they had chosen the budget reconciliation process to repeal Obamacare and pass tax cuts, which only required 50 votes in the Senate, they didn’t feel the need to actually negotiate with him.

Based on what Trump said in his State of the Union speech, the issues that will be on the table this year are immigration and infrastructure—both of which will require bipartisan support to pass the Senate. So you’d think that now would be the time for Republicans to start wooing Democrats like Joe Manchin. But apparently the midterm elections are going to get in the way of that happening. Politico reports on VP Pence’s plan to maintain Republican majorities.

Vice President Mike Pence is launching one of the most aggressive campaign strategies in recent White House history: he will hopscotch the country over the next three months, making nearly three dozen stops that could raise tens of millions of dollars for House and Senate Republicans, all while promoting the party’s legislative accomplishments…

“I expect we’re going to spend a fair amount of time in the states that the president carried very strongly — Indiana being one of them, West Virginia here being another, places like Montana, elsewhere around the country, we think represent a real opportunity for us,” Pence said.

Yesterday we got a example of what that is going to look like when Pence visited West Virginia.

Manchin shot back on twitter.

There is nothing unusual about a president’s party going after vulnerable members of congress in midterm elections. After all, it is the low-hanging fruit that is ripe for the picking. But Ed Kilgore is right to point out that this signifies that the White House really isn’t interested in bipartisanship (no matter what the president said during his State of the Union speech) and that they have no real congressional agenda for 2018.

Republicans will have to keep the government running and will face another debt ceiling crisis sooner than expected due to their tax cuts, but other than that, it looks like they’ll go into the 2018 midterms without much to show for their first two years of controlling both the presidency and congress.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.