It ain't that complicated y'all
The word Americans are looking for is 'corrupt.' Senator Krysten Sinema has taken $1.1 million in bribes in the last three months. Senator Joe Manchin has profited at least $4.5 million from coal while in office.
Americans call these 'donations' or 'conflict of interest' and get very confused, but it's really not that complicated. Imagine that they're African or Russian if it helps. It's just corruption.
Corruption Is White
Westerners are proud of judging other countries and producing 'Corruption Perception Indexes' that just confirm their own racism. To them corruption, like terrorism, is a racialized term that couldn't possibly apply to them. But it is them. Where do you think the money from our southern countries goes?
Westerners also look at the petty corruption of foreign leaders with disdain, but they really need to look at themselves. Western corruption makes our guys look like chain snatchers. The UK spent £37 billion on a test-and-trace program that doesn't work, more than the GDP of many countries. The US gave arms dealers $2 trillion dollars for wars they didn't win. Our guys do what? Buy some cars, some handbags. It's amateur hour. Posh white people are the corruption pros.
Corruption Is Legal
The trouble is that America has legalized corruption so much that they don't even notice it anymore. It's just normal. American elections are billion-dollar bribery festivals. Politicians literally advertise how much they've been bribed. Their Senators legislate in their own interest and merrily insider trade. Their judges hear cases where they have financial interests. Bureaucrats revolve in and out of the industries they're supposed to be regulating. American corruption is so deep it's become imperceptible. They're comfortably numb.
The other trouble is that America really sees politics as a marketplace, where legislation is supposed to be on sale. In 2010 their Supreme Court said that corporations A) had free speech rights and B) that speech was money. They said:
All speakers, including individuals and the media, use money amassed from the economic marketplace to fund their speech. The First Amendment protects the resulting speech.
The law really says that if you don't have money you can't speak, and if you have lots of money you can speak the loudest. As I've said, America has proudly legalized corruption. In this context Sinema and Manchin aren't weird outliers, and they aren't even especially bad people. This is an irredeemably bad system. It's designed by bad actors for bad actors, so of course you get bad actions.
Corruption Is Business As Usual
They're running a business here. What did you think this was, a government?
A lot of incomprehensible American decisions make complete sense this way. Why pay for drug development and then buy those drugs at inflated prices? It's just corruption. Why bomb the poorest countries on Earth for decades, and lose? It's just corruption. Why drill more fossil fuels during climate collapse? Ding ding ding, corruption again.
In this context the actions of Manchin and Sinema are not inexplicable, they're inevitable. You think corporations weren't going to find two Senators to pay off? It's amazing that it's just two. Manchin's entire business in government is protecting his coal business. Sinema's a corruption startup, experiencing rapid growth. None of them are doing anything unusual and this is not just them. This is America. This is corruption. It's a simple word really. Start using it.
I've written a lot about American corruption. It's bad.