Thomas Gallatin / Feb. 2, 2021

Manchin Bristles at Harris Pressure Play

She threatens coal jobs to get him in line behind the Biden-Harris “stimulus” bill.

In a conspicuously timed and located news interview last week, Kamala Harris intimated to a West Virginia news station that the state’s coal industry would essentially die due to the Biden administration’s “green energy” agenda. But take heart, West Virginians, she added. There will be lots of new career opportunities for unemployed miners — jobs like “reclaiming abandoned land mines.” Just how many “abandoned land mines” Harris believes are lying around West Virginia is anybody’s guess, but nothing says “I care” like a California elitist telling West Virginians what to do.

Obviously, the real reason behind Harris’s West Virginia visit had little to do with building connections with West Virginians, 68% of whom voted for Donald Trump compared to Joe Biden’s 29%. Rather, Harris was there to exert pressure on the state’s moderate Democrat senator, Joe Manchin. Get in line with Biden’s $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” was the unmistakable message.

Harris’s gaffe about “abandoned land mines” certainly grabbed headlines. She probably meant to say “abandoned mine lands.” But that really wasn’t the most offensive statement she made. Instead, it was her condescending elitism — the suggestion that miners’ jobs were dispensable because she knows what’s best for them. Worst of all was Harris’s overly simplistic, idealistic, and completely impractical claims that miners’ jobs, eliminated by government mandates, could easily transition to new equally fulfilling and well-paying careers.

It’s as if Harris and her elitist ilk view Americans and their careers like a box of Lego pieces to be destroyed and reassembled in completely different forms, with little appreciable consequence to those whose careers have suddenly been eradicated. Recall that “Blue Collar” Biden expressed this same obtuse elitism back in December 2019 when he told a group of workers in New Hampshire, “Anybody who can go down 3,000 feet in a mine can sure as hell learn to program as well. Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program, for God’s sake!”

The good news is that Harris’s pressure play backfired, as Manchin clearly took umbrage. “I saw [the Harris interview],” Manchin responded. “I couldn’t believe it. No one called me [about it]. We’re going to try to find a bipartisan pathway forward, but we need to work together. That’s not a way of working together.”

Making it even more obvious that this was indeed a pressure play to get Democrats in line behind Biden’s agenda was the fact that the one other state targeted by Harris’s local media appeal was Arizona, the home of Senator Krysten Sinema. She has expressed the unacceptable desire for a bipartisan stimulus bill. As The Federalist’s Jayme Metzgar observed, “Harris’s media blitz was an unsubtle attempt to generate popular demand for the multi-trillion-dollar stimulus bill, pressuring Manchin and Sinema to stop agitating for bipartisan compromise and fall in line with the party.”

Manchin remains the Senate wildcard. But he’s been around long enough to recognize these partisan pressure plays, and he represents a state that is overwhelmingly red. We’ll see if Harris’s ham-handed approach only ensures that his demand of a bipartisan stimulus bill be met.

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