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Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat in name only, would like the citizens of West Virginia to know that he’s not prepared to kowtow to criticism just because he’s supposedly a Democrat. Manchin is also prepared to do anything to advertise his conservatism, while remaining a Democrat, even if that costs him re-election.

Manchin was one of three Democrats who refused to sign a letter that outlined the party’s tax reform priorities. He told The Charleston Gazette-Mail that he withheld his signature because the Senate Democrats’ letter failed to include Republicans in the process, despite generally agreeing with the proposal.

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“The bottom line is, if it doesn’t help West Virginia, it doesn’t make sense to me, and just because there’s an election doesn’t mean I sign on or don’t sign on,” Manchin said. “I just don’t think it’s a good way to do business when you don’t try to get people from the front end.”

But that’s not really why Manchin told the Gazette-Mail he “just [didn’t] give a shit” about re-election. Manchin, whether or not he’s actually a Democrat, is still a Democrat. And he’s being challenged by West Virginia’s Republican Attorney General, Patrick Morrisey. Last week Morrisey released a letter aligning Manchin with Senator Chuck Schumer’s “liberal” values and called for his resignation from the party’s leadership.

When asked whether Morrisey’s letter influenced his decision to not sign Monday’s letter, Manchin seemed to go on the defensive.

From the Gazette-Mail:

“I don’t give a s—t, you understand? I just don’t give a s—t,” he said. “Don’t care if I get elected, don’t care if I get defeated, how about that. If they think because I’m up for election, that I can be wrangled into voting for s—t that I don’t like and can’t explain, they’re all crazy.”

“I’m not scared of an election, let’s put it that way. Elections do not bother me or scare me. I’m going to continue to do the same thing I’ve always done, extremely independent.”

It comes as no surprise that the other two Democrats who withheld their signatures from Monday’s letter are up for re-election in states that overwhelmingly voted for Trump. Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana joined Manchin in a Democratic Party tax reform dissent. Trump won 68% of the vote in West Virginia, compared to Hillary Clinton’s 26%.

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Does Manchin really not give a shit about re-election? Of course he does. He would have signed Monday’s letter if he didn’t give a shit about re-election. A so-called “Democrat” who wasn’t scared about being unseated by a GOP contender would have also voted against defunding Planned Parenthood and he wouldn’t he have vouched for a racist troll like present Attorney General Jeff Session.

Here’s some free advice for Joe: maybe you should switch parties, like West Virginia’s governor just did.