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Opinion Joe Manchin shocks Republicans by revealing he is a Democrat

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark) turned with fury on Joe Manchin, the centrist senator from West Virginia. Julian Zelizer: It seems Manchin had dared to act like a Democrat. He says the West Virginia senator has been a huge irritant to his fellow Democrats, but he is at core an old-school populist. Zelizer says the episode is a key reminder that the supposed “polarization” in U.S. politics is not symmetrical. Democrats, after a long struggle, are finally making a bid to hold the political center, he says. They’ve reached near universal agreement on a bill that pays down debt, makes medicine cheaper, eliminates unfair tax breaks for the richest.

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is a longtime broker of bipartisan deals. In an interview with West Virginia’s MetroNews, Manchin called it “ridiculous” to say the bill is a tax hike. “This is a bill we would have worked on in a bipartisan effort if we could’ve, but they can’t.”