Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Democrats had poor messaging in 2020 while simultaneously noting that portions of the party aligned itself with the “radical part of the so-called left.”
“We didn’t have a good message, I’ll be very honest with you,” Manchin told CBS News on Sunday. “We let them tag us basically before we could remind the people who we are.” He was referring to Republicans and the Trump campaign’s accusations that Democrats have capitulated to leftist radicals.
Trump’s margin of victory in 2016 “went from being mad to being scared in 2020 … they were scared of this socialism that was thrown out there by a radical part of the so-called left that was throwing all this out there that basically scared the bejeezus out of people,” Manchin added.
Of the leftist label, he said “that hung on and hung on strongly, and it’s not who we are.”
“We’re not for the New Green Deal, we’re not for the things [President Trump] has talked about, Medicare for All. We can’t even pay for Medicare for some,” Manchin, a centrist Democrat who aligned with some of Trump’s policies, told the outlet. Manchin, however, voted for Trump’s impeachment conviction earlier this year and rejected the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, although he voted in favor of Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.
He added, “Basically labeling every Democrat as a socialist or supporting socialism, that’s not who we are. It’s not who I am is not how we were raised. And it hurt a lot of good Democrats in rural America, Montana, for one. Other places around the country.”
Manchin then encouraged Democrats to become more centrist, adding that they are “not going to be able to govern from the extremes or from the fringes.”
Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) has also claimed that her slim margin of reelection was because of leftist politicians in the Democratic Party. In a leaked call to the press, Spanberger blamed the leftist Black Lives Matter call of “defund the police” for her near-loss.
It came as some media outlets and pundits claimed that Democrats would be able to secure more seats in the House and more seats in the Senate. However, Democrats lost in the House and now have a slim majority. At best, they could have a 50-50 tie in the Senate, which means the vice-president would be able to break a tie on issues, and it would allow for more centrist members to hold more sway over the upper chamber.