Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has been targeted in more than 700 ads on Facebook and Instagram by Democrat colleagues since the House sent President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better package to the Senate on Nov. 15, Newsweek is reporting.
The multitrillion package has been stalled in large part due to Manchin. He has said the package is too expensive. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema also objects to some of the plan, but has not faced the same sort of backlash as Manchin. In addition, the two are opposing plans by Democrats to change the Senate filibuster rules.
"It is extremely uncommon to name a party colleague in a negative ad outside of a primary— but then again Joe Manchin isn't a typical Democrat," Nate Lerner, founder of digital political consultancy Build The Wave, told Newsweek.
"I think we will see more of it moving forward as progressives split further from right-leaning Democrats like Manchin and Sinema.”
So far, eight Democrats vying for the Senate have targeted Manchin in their ads on the social media platforms. They include: Rep. Tim Ryan in Ohio; Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta in Pennsylvania; Adm. Michael Franken in Iowa; Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and basketball executive Alex Lasry in Wisconsin; and U.S. Marines veteran Lucas Kunce and U.S. Air Force veteran Jewel Kelly in Missouri, according to Newsweek.
In addition, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; Pramila Jayapal D-Wash.; and Veronica Escobar, D-Texas; have run anti-Manchin ads recently.
Two candidates running for House seats are also running ads about Manchin — Muad Hrezi, a former policy staffer to a U.S. senator, in Connecticut; and Bob Lorinser, a former State Department diplomat, in Michigan.
In December and January, Jaypal ran 183 ads blasting Manchin, citing his “insistence on retaining the Jim Crow filibuster,” and attacking him for “a betrayal of the millions of voters who elected Democrats.”
Ocasio-Cortez posted 72 ads to Facebook and Instagram on Jan. 13 urging people to put pressure on both Manchin and Sinema to join with Senate Democrats in changing the filibuster rule.
Newsweek noted that one ad from Fetterman said: "Democrats should vote like Democrats. But right now two Democratic Senators, Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema, are holding up Biden's agenda and preventing Democrats from Building Back Better."
An ad from Franken, a retired Navy admiral, meanwhile said: "I don't remember hearing a peep about inflation or debt when Joe Manchin voted for a $25 billion kicker to the defense budget earlier this month. Not a peep.
"But Senator Joe Manchin just went on Fox News and said that he will NOT vote for President Joe Biden's Build Back Better plan!"
The ad continued, "I'm running for Senate against Chuck Grassley in Iowa because I am sick of Republicans acting like Trump's lap dogs, and I am just as fed up with Democrats who are blocking us from doing anything to confront the climate crisis, take on Big Pharma, or rein in Wall Street."
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., referred to Manchin and Sinema Monday in an appearance at a National Action Network event.
"I'm going down to Washington and we are going to debate voting rights," Schumer said. "We are going to debate it, and, in the Senate, you know, we need 60 votes to break a Republican filibuster ... but since we only have 50 Democrats in our razor-thin majority. The only path forward on this important issue is to change the rules to bypass the filibuster.
"There are two Democrats who don't want to make that happen, but the fight is not over, far from it.”
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