In US politics today, the conservative Democratic senator seems to have all the power and is more than happy to wield it

For the last week, Americans paying attention to politics have learned an important truth: Joe Biden may live in the White House, but the conservative Democratic senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia is effectively president. This depressing reality can certainly be fixed, but only if progressive Democrats in Congress are willing to actually change the dynamic – and they have a rare opportunity to do that right now by using their power to raise the minimum wage.

But so far, they aren’t choosing to use their power – which is a huge structural problem not just now, but also for the foreseeable future.

Related: Millions in the US still don’t feel seen by either political party. My dad is one of them | Jessa Crispin

The relief bill is a must-pass for all Democrats.

If Manchin can threaten to withhold his vote, so can Elizabeth, Bernie, and the Squad+

They should wield their power.

Make the bill better, for the substance and the politics.

David Sirota is a Guardian US columnist and an award-winning investigative journalist. He is an editor at large at Jacobin, and the founder of the Daily Poster. He served as Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign speechwriter

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https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/joebiden

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