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The Movement That Almost Changed the World

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At first, Sunrise’s instinct for dealing with Manchin was to draw from its campaign-season playbook, despite the fact that the senator does not face re-election until 2024. When I asked J.P. Mejia — a spokesperson for Sunrise who turned 19 this summer and is a freshman at American University — in April what Sunrise’s plan for Democrats like Manchin was, he explained that the group would do its best to “expose” how the senator was representing special interests over his constituents. “We have to explain the shady backroom deals that are being done with big oil companies,” he said, which Sunrise has indeed tried to do — though it has had no noticeable effect on Manchin himself.

In reality, Sunrise’s most pragmatic approach to overcoming Manchin amounted to old-fashioned legislative hostage-taking: The group pressed its allies in the House to hold up Manchin’s favored bipartisan-negotiated infrastructure bill — or “some fake…

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