By Ryan Grim, The Intercept
Lyndon B. Johnson, a giant of American politics, recognized a political opportunity and reoriented. Manchin would rather be the man riding the bomb to the ground.
When Lyndon B. Johnson took over leadership of the Senate Democratic caucus in the early 1950s, anybody who suggested that he would one day become the most consequential elected champion of civil rights in nearly 100 years would have been laughed out of the smoke-filled room.
Yet just a few years later, the protégé of the arch-segregationist and white supremacist Sen. Richard Russell had broken with his mentor and muscled through the 1957 Civil Rights Act, followed later, as president, by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act. None of that meant Johnson stopped being racist; rather, he saw where the future was heading.