On Wednesday, Senate Democrats elected New York senator Charles Schumer as minority leader to succeed outgoing Majority Leader Harry Reid. In an effort to counter the Republican wave of victories that caught Democrats by surprise on Election Day, Schumer’s leadership team includes senators representing different Democratic factions seen as crucial to the party’s future: Vermont senator Bernie Sanders and Wisconsin senator Tammy Baldwin from the progressive wing, and West Virginia senator Joe Manchin from the white-working class wing — that Donald Trump won over on November 8.
Sanders, the party’s chairman of outreach, and Baldwin, the party’s secretary, will provide progressive voices in leadership posts at a time when the Democratic party recently delivered the most progressive platform in its history.
And Manchin, despite being at odds with many in his party on an array of issues, will serve as the vice chairman of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.
Manchin’s decision to accept a leadership position left many surprised. On the eve of the election, NBC and Fox News had reported that Manchin wouldn’t commit to caucusing with the Democrats in the event of a divided Senate, stirring rumors that he may flip to the Republican party. He squashed the rumors, though, saying he’s a “born-in-the wool [West Virginia] Democrat,” and he “doesn’t know where they’re getting that crap from.”