After spending 41 years as an elected representative of New York, Democrat Chuck Schumer has learned how to sidestep the landmines of D.C. – to the point where he cannot even comment on his feelings about other Senators who are already facing strong opposition, especially from the progressives. Speaking with CNN’s Edward Issac-Dovere and Manu Raju, Sen. Schumer was asked about staying neutral or supporting Sens. Joe Manchin and/or Kyrsten Sinema if they face opposition in a primary.
In response, Sen Schumer said “I am focused on 2022, getting things done, and winning the election on 2022. I’m not at all focused on 2024 right now, and neither should anyone else be. That’s just how you lose in 2022.” This is an alarming and off-putting refusal to condemn others from challenging sitting Senators and is cause for panic amongst the Democrats. Especially when you look at the whole picture.
Schumer is in a very special position as majority leader within a 50-50 split house. Something that he only accomplished because Manchin was able to get reelected in 2018 while residing in a state that voted for Trump twice. Sinema won her seat in 2018 in a state that voted strongly for Trump in 2016 and had a massive investigation about voter suppression causing Trump to falsely lose in 2020.
Schumer also tried using these two when he forced the 60-vote rule change that he knew would fail. He painted a target on both of their backs as if they were the reason the progressive agenda was now failing in public. He knew from talks with the two as well as previous votes that they wouldn’t budge on voting against the idea. By setting them up, it gave the world and the party a clear message; it’s all about what they have done for him lately.
Given the way these two have been opposing the Build Back Better (BBB) bill, you would think Sen. Schumer would be trying to consider breaking it down and getting them to agree to chunks of it. Better to have half a cookie than no cookie, right? Yet, the man refuses to put forth any effort in getting them to cross over to the more progressive side of the left. Given how close he is to being downgraded to minority leader, you would expect him to do everything he can to keep his crown.
Sen. Schumer is also in an election year. Thus, giving his previous quote more teeth to it. He already sees the wall his fellow Democrats have backed him up against, and he is trying to get away from it ASAP. Too many people know how badly he needs this win and he may face his own primary challenger; that won’t be decided until early April. By keeping the distance from condemning or supporting someone who may be thinking of challenging Sens. Sinema and Manchin, he ensures he keeps an established level of support on hand for his reelection campaign.
Democrats as a whole have put themselves in a very difficult position, and the blame goes from the top down. President Biden and his BBB or bust agenda along with his unsupportive VP have left a horrible taste in the mouth of most Americans. The agenda that the progressive left keeps trying to force is slowly being revealed as nothing more than socialism with lipstick as each day passes.
Turning his back on the people who have kept him in a prominent position is a dangerous precedent for Sen. Schumer to set. As the election draws closer, time will tell. But for now, his inability to speak up for them is sending shockwaves across the political spectrum, and they aren’t the waves he wants. If anything, this may force both Sens. Manchin and Sinema to come over to the right side.