I say this as an independent democratic socialist, Bernie Sanders supporter and expat Vermonter.

Now if either Manchin or Sinema were to stand as independents rather than pretend Democrats they would have a point, being elected on their own priorities. Indeed, there is an opinion column in the NYT saying as much as far as Sinema is concerned.

If you run under the Party banner, then your negotiations should be contained within that structure, rather than playing the outlier/saboteur. Whining at the final hurdle is to say the least unseemly.

If your disagreements are so fundamental, then you should be honest and leave and go for re-election.

Personally I am for independents and wish the electoral landscape would permit more of them as the two party system is fundamentally broken.

America Is Now the Divided Republic the Framers Feared

George Washington’s farewell address is often remembered for its warning against hyper-partisanship: “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.” John Adams, Washington’s successor, similarly worried that “a division of the republic into two great parties … is to be dreaded as the great political evil.”

Multiparty democracy is not perfect. But it is far superior in supporting the diversity, bargaining, and compromise that the Framers, and especially Madison, designed America’s institutions around, and which they saw as essential to the fragile experiment of self-government.

The problem is we are faced with an obstructionist and fundamentally antidemocratic cult that needs breaking up.

America has gone through several waves of political reform throughout its history. Today’s high levels of discontent and frustration suggest it may be on the verge of another. But the course of reform is always uncertain, and the key is understanding the problem that needs to be solved. In this case, the future of American democracy depends on heeding the warning of the past. The country must break the binary hyper-partisanship so at odds with its governing institutions, and so dangerous for self-governance. It must become a multiparty democracy.

Along with most Democrats, I worry about the elections next year and Manchin’s and Sinema’s obstructionism will in the current electoral system be disastrous for democracy itself.

You can disagree, even viscerally, but this is my point of view.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


  1. We need to have a come home to Jebus talk with these two senators. Clearly they are holding the line in the name of their corporate donors. We need to hook them up to different donors, willing to promote progressive causes, and ensure they can look like heroes to their constituency, while being sufficiently well funded to ward of retribution from… say fossil fuel companies.

    If they get the backing of several renewable energy producers and launch job programs to retrain coal workers into high paid renewable energy workers, they will receive that heroes welcome. Its time to make the change we need, pay the freight to get us all there. Or we won’t.


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