How Joe Manchin may be the one to save the Electoral College from Trump in 2024: columnist

How Joe Manchin may be the one to save the Electoral College from Trump in 2024: columnist

Liberal Washington Post opinion columnist Greg Sargent hasn’t been shy about criticizing Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, slamming the centrist Democrat for opposing a filibuster exception even when it comes to voting rights bills. But in his February 7 column, ironically, Sargent praises Manchin as someone who could prevent former President Donald Trump from undermining the Electoral College in 2024 and stealing the next presidential election from the Democratic nominee.

Manchin, Sargent notes, is working hard to get ten Republican senators to join him in a bill that would address the “ambiguities” of the Electoral Count Act of 1887.

“As frustrating as Sen. Joe Manchin III has been in the past year or so,” Sargent observes, “the West Virginia Democrat may have found the sweet spot on a very big question: How to get ten GOP senators to support a plan to safeguard our elections against a rerun of Donald Trump’s 2020 coup effort. That sweet spot is this: Demonstrate that the extraordinary new revelations we’ve seen in recent days about that coup attempt strengthen the case for reform — without mentioning Trump himself.”

Sargent adds, “Manchin is leading a bipartisan group of senators who are examining how to reform the Electoral Count Act of 1887, or ECA, which governs how presidential electors are counted. Manchin declared, Sunday on CNN, that the coup effort underscored the case for action.

Manchin told CNN’s Jake Tapper that the ECA is “not clear,” adding, “When one congressman and one senator can bring a state’s authentic count to a halt, it’s wrong. And basically, not protecting the electors — and you can change electors — before you send them here.… this is what we’re going to fix.”


Following the 2020 presidential election, the attempted MAGA coup came in different forms. One was the physical violence of the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Another was efforts by Trump and his allies to overthrow the perfectly legitimate Electoral College results.

“You probably noticed that Manchin didn’t specify who tried to exploit the ECA’s ambiguities to overturn the election,” Sargent explains. “But his claim that a state’s ability to ‘change electors’ before sending them to Congress is a direct reference to revelations showing that Trump tried to initiate this scheme with the full intention of subverting the election. When Trump declared in a statement recently that his vice president, Mike Pence, should have ‘overturned the election,’ this was more than a confession. It also clarified the stakes for ECA reform.”

Sargent continues, “That’s because Trump’s scheme turned not just on pressure on Pence to invalidate Joe Biden’s electors. It also would have required numerous swing states to go back and ‘find’ phony new evidence of electoral fraud to justify appointing sham electors for Trump, as outlined in that now-notorious Trump coup memo. That’s why it’s a big deal that Manchin has now clarified that ECA reform will seek to safeguard against states sending sham electors.”

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