Patrick Henry
3 min readFeb 15, 2021


Swing vote

Let us say that you are not a resident of either of the ideological swamps (Trump diehard or MSNBC progressive). Let us say you would rather the Congress had spent its time addressing the multitude of problems we face in lieu of conducting political theater with a proceeding that lacked the votes to pass. Let’s say that the notion of spending $480,000,000,000 of borrowed money (350 to States; 130 to teachers’ unions) to States that are granting raises to their public sector employees and failing to open their schools disgusts you. Let’s say you thought the Georgia senators who told us that failure to reelect them would open the progressive floodgates were engaged in hyperbole, but now you’re not so sure. What can you do about it? I have some suggestions.

I plan to write a letter to Senator Joe Manchin urging him to walk across the aisle and become a Republican. His views are aligned much more closely with the Republicans than the Democrats, especially given the ascendency of the progressive wing inside the Democratic party. He would also better align himself with his constituency. 69% of West Virginians voted for Trump in 2020. 29% voted for Biden. The Democrats plan to use their 50 + 1 majority to finesse the filibuster rule by jamming their agenda through the “reconciliation” loophole. As a Republican, Joe could stand athwart the progressive tsunami and form a coalition of moderates from both sides of the aisle to drive a useful agenda. He would be the most powerful man in Washington.

I also plan to become a House of Representatives election handicapper. Nancy’s majority looks like a band of AOCs, but it isn’t. Her majority depends upon 30 or so moderates. They come from districts where careful selection of moderate candidates promising bipartisan solutions gets them elected in swing districts. They then proceed to vote the way Nancy tells them to vote. That comes back to haunt them when they run for reelection. As a result, her majority shrank by 13 seats in 2020. A swing of 5 more in 2022 means the Republicans control the House.

I am going to assume that the Democrats will control the Senate from 2022 to 2024. They are defending 14 seats in 2022 and the Republicans are defending 20. That means the Republicans must secure a majority in the House to keep the center in tact and force Biden (or, Heaven help us, Comma-La) to negotiate.

In House races, the quality of the Republican candidates will make all the difference. I will try to find 10–12 races that feature one Republican who has sensible policy views and some record of accomplishment in real life. I will then dig deep to send some money. A little money can go a long way in a primary race for the House in most districts.

I don’t have enough evidence to prove it, but I believe the potential to form a majority of voters opting for moderation and problem solving exists. The trick is to find a vehicle and a message that will resonate with that majority.