West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is once again signaling a possible party switch ahead of his 2024 re-election bid, the Conservative Brief reported. Manchin has crossed the aisle to get things done and also belongs to the centrist No Labels group leading to speculation about a jump to a third-party candidacy.
Manchin has been vocal about his frustration with the Democratic Party and its radicalism. He believes it has left voters "starving" for less polarization and more centrist governing.
The West Virginia Democrat contends that Americans are tired of "this constant, daily routine of everyone’s against everybody and everybody’s fighting and arguing" happening between the parties. "Let’s be for the country and get something done," he said.
Speculation abounds as Manchin has publicly criticized President Joe Biden, something rarely done by Democrats who wish to have a future in the party. Moreover, Manchin hinted at the possibility earlier this year Chuck Todd asked him about leaving the Democratic Party ahead of his re-election.
"Chuck, I haven’t made a decision on what I’m going to do in 2024. I got two years ahead of me now to do the best I can for my state and the country," Manchin told the host.
"What’s on the table? It’s reelection on the table?" Todd pushed further.
"Everything’s on the table," Manchin said cryptically. When asked about running for governor, Manchin said he's already "done that," leading Todd to ask whether Manchin might run against Biden for president in 2024.
"The only thing I can tell you is when I make my decision, what I think is the best I can support and represent the people of West Virginia and also be true to this country and the Constitution,” Manchin replied. "I’m telling you I’m doing everything I can when I make my decision. I make it based on what’s best that I can do to support my country and my state,” the senator later added.
With more than a decade of support from the non-profit No Labels, Manchin could run as an independent during his re-election bid if that's his wish. The group is jockeying to add candidates to the ticket in all 50 states with the hopes of presenting viable third-party candidates.
So far, they have candidates on the ticket in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, and Oregon. Manchin has yet to rule out a challenge against Biden on such a ticket.
"People are starving, starving to work together," he replied. "I’ve been part of No Labels since December of 2010," Manchin said.
"It’s the only game in town that wants to bring people together and get Democrats and Republicans working together," the West Virginia lawmaker added. However, this switch may have less to do with the principles than it does with the political landscape in the state.
Republicans are hoping to pick off Manchin and have put forth strong candidates. Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) and Gov. Jim Justice are running and would present a strong Republican alternative to Manchin.
Whether Manchin runs as a third-party candidate or gives it another go as a Democrat, Republicans can take heart from the situation in West Virginia. Biden is a terrible candidate with the potential to wreck the down-ballot candidates, but Manchin's waffling adds another layer of security to upsetting the balance in Congress.