Squad member targets Manchin, as lawmakers, progressive activists implore Dem to ‘save’ democracy

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Pressure continues to mount on Sen. Joe Manchin to support Democrats’ signature election overhaul legislation, with one Squad member penning a new op-ed accusing the West Virginia moderate of protecting “Jim Crow” relics. 

Rep. Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y., called out Manchin in an essay titled “The House of Democracy is on Fire. We Must Save It” where he said the senator must make a choice between his long-shot desire for bipartisan compromise and saving democracy. 

“By dooming our democracy in the name of bipartisanship, Senator Manchin is betraying both,” Jones wrote, arguing the provisions of the election reform legislation have widespread support outside of the partisan Senate. 

‘SQUAD’ DEM CORI BUSH TO JOE MANCHIN: FALL IN LINE OR ‘GET OUT OF OUR WAY’

Jones, a freshman progressive in the House, criticized Manchin for wanting to protect the filibuster, too, and said by doing so he’s backing discriminatory voting measures.

“We cannot let this Jim Crow relic cement the new Jim Crow,” Jones wrote of the filibuster. 

Rep. Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y., speaks before the Supreme Court on April 15, 2021, on his legislation to expand the Supreme Court. 

Rep. Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y., speaks before the Supreme Court on April 15, 2021, on his legislation to expand the Supreme Court. 

Ben Jealous, president of the progressive People For the American Way, said Manchin should realize that the provisions of the bill are popular. 

“Inaction is not an option. Democracy is at stake,” Jealous said. “The people have been clear, and Joe Manchin needs to understand that what 80% of the American people agree on, guess what, West Virginians overwhelmingly agree on too.”

Progressives view the S.1 voting legislation as an urgent remedy to efforts in GOP-led states to impose stricter voting requirements after former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election.

The legislation sets out federal standards for access to the polls, early voting and voting-by-mail and weakens state-mandated voter ID requirements by allowing those without photo identification to still vote by signing sworn affidavits.

The sweeping election overhaul legislation would set up a new public financing system for congressional and presidential elections to incentivize small-dollar donations, enact automatic voter registration, restore voting rights to felons after they have completed their sentences and mandate same-day voter registration.

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Manchin Tuesday acknowledged the trouble he’s causing progressives and reacted to Squad member Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., dubbing him the “new Mitch McConnell” for obstructing the Democratic agenda. 

“I understand the frustrations,” Manchin said. “Ya know, this is a tough business we’re in.”

Fox News’ Kelly Phares contributed to this report.