With Super Bowl LVI approaching, football is a fitting metaphor for Senator Joe Manchin’s offensive tactics. His false starts have destroyed his credibility, Democrats are throwing flags on his plays, and he should be thrown out of the game.

First Democrats went along with Manchin’s demands to carve out the now-passed infrastructure bill from Build Back Better, which, as it turns out, includes climate legislation that Manchin opposes. Then Manchin had committed to Build Back Better if certain extensions of existing relief were limited, only to turn around and declare those same concessions to be deal-breakers. He keeps moving the goal posts, leaving democrats once again looking like Charlie Brown with Lucy pulling away the football. Ugh!

But Democrats also have more tricks in their playbook. Over decades of conservative offensive attacks, Democrats have proven a strong defense. For example, the Affordable Care Act, which has withstood incessant body slams from the right, still stands. BBB will likely be further cut into smaller parts before passing. Democrats may have to take the hit and end up with a scaled down version, but Manchin could still vote for BBB.

Also, like in 2018 and 2020, Democrats are on the offense, using a rush play to gain even two Senate seats to increase their majority in the 2022 midterms. The brilliant Stacey Abrams has announced her run for Governor of Georgia, giving a boost to Sen. Warnock (D-Ga), while four Republican Senators, Pat Toomey (PA), Richard Burr (NC), Roy Blunt (MI), and Rob Portman (OH), are not seeking re-election, and Ron Johnson (WI) is still undecided.

Finally, with the January 6th Select Committee public hearings coming in early 2022, more Republicans could drop out of the running due to damaging evidence or even indictments. There are also several ongoing investigations with indictments expected just in time to deliver a body blow to Trump Republicans, hurting the GOP’s chances of taking back the Senate.

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