Many Democrats are feeling bereft about Senator Joe Manchin’s opposition to a major voting rights bill and his continuing support for the filibuster. And they are correct that Manchin’s positions will constrain President Biden’s agenda.

But Manchin has also clarified the paths that are open to Democrats. The party can now let go of its dreams of sweeping legislative change achieved through repeated 51-vote Senate majorities and instead focus on the realistic options.

Today’s newsletter explains those options, broken into short term and long term.

The issues that tend to unite the Democratic Party are economic issues, and Manchin is a good case study. When he breaks with his party, it is typically on issues other than economic policy.

He effectively killed the voting rights bill this week, and he voted for Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation in 2018. Manchin is also well to the right of most congressional…

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