Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Businessweek
Politics

Senator Joe Manchin Didn’t Ask to Be a Kingmaker—But He Is One

The conservative Democrat hopes to devote himself to productive bipartisanship. In the new Congress, that may be a pipe dream.

Senator Joe Manchin speaks as a bipartisan group of lawmakers announce a proposal for a Covid-19 relief bill on Dec. 14, 2020.
Senator Joe Manchin speaks as a bipartisan group of lawmakers announce a proposal for a Covid-19 relief bill on Dec. 14, 2020.

Photographer: Al Drago/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Corrected

The success or failure of Joe Biden’s presidency was always going to hinge on the U.S. Senate. But the senator poised to determine that outcome isn’t the one everybody expected.

In the weeks after the election, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the presumed Republican majority leader, looked to be the critical figure, with the power and willingness to frustrate the new administration’s lofty ambitions.