Who is the most powerful man in the United States?

This is not a trick question, but a serious one. Let’s start with the answer: Joe Manchin, Democratic senator for West Virginia.

You could have been forgiven for thinking that the answer to the question is President Joe Biden. But Biden can achieve nothing substantial without getting legislation through Congress.

That requires a majority in the House of Representatives (which the Democrats have) and a majority in the Senate (which is much more problematic).

Most non-Americans know that the Democrats now have 50 seats in the 100-seat Senate and that the Vice-President (Democrat Kamala Harris) has the casting vote. What most non-Americans do not appreciate is that not all of those 50 Democrats can be relied upon to support Biden’s agenda in a vote.

The most conservative and independent of the Democrat senators is Joe Manchin. He represents West Virginia which is usually seen as a Republican state (it voted for Trump in the presidential election). So currently Manchin is hesitating to support Biden’s infrastructure investment bill and there will be other legislation in which his support will be uncertain but decisive.

Hence my suggestion that currently he could be seen as the most powerful man in America. Want to know more about Manchin? Click here.


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