It’s long been clear that Joe Manchin is sick of President Joe Biden. Last March, the West Virginian turned on the White House, blocking crucial parts of the administration’s agenda after he accused Biden of going back on a deal they made.
Although the West Virginia senator has consistently ruled out fleeing the left-moving Democrats to join the Republicans, one thing he hasn’t done is rule out running as an independent or third party.
The big problem for Democrats is what election he might run in and they are beginning to hit the panic button. Joe Manchin, Politico writes, “loves to keep his political options open — and now, as the West Virginia centrist flirts with a third-party campaign for president, his Democratic colleagues are taking him seriously enough to try to talk him out of it.
Manchin is never one to quash a mystery surrounding his future, whether it’s pursuing his old job as governor or how he’d vote in former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial. Yet even as many doubt he’ll go through with a White House bid, Democrats also fear it could hand the GOP both the Senate and the White House if he does.”
During an interview earlier in the week, the West Virginian said he’s “not ruling anything in, not ruling anything out,” when asked about a potential third-party presidential run.
“You better have Plan B. because if Plan A shows that we’re going to the far reaches of both sides, the far left and the far right, and that people don’t want to go to the far left and the far right, they want to be governed from the middle. I think there is, that you better have that Plan B available and ready to go,” Manchin said when pressed on “Fox News Sunday” on whether he was evaluating a third-party run.
The senator may already have a good platform to make some noise in a contest between Biden and Trump (or whomever the Republicans end up choosing). The bipartisan group No Labels has been expanding its endeavor to promote a “unity ticket” that would give voters sick of both Trump and Biden an option next November.
No Labels founder Nancy Jacobson said that Manchin is an honorary co-chair of the group and attended their launch in 2010.
Former Sen. Joe Lieberman – another No Labels co-founder – emphasized in a Fox News Digital interview last month that Manchin, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, and former GOP Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland may be considered for the potential ticket.
Lieberman said they “are very active members of No Labels” and “would be naturals to consider” as he pointed toward their “strong records of bipartisanship and getting things done for the country and for their constituents.”
As a key vote in the Senate, Manchin has made plenty of headlines during Biden’s presidency. He’s grabbed the spotlight for sinking a handful of the president’s nominees, and for slashing and reshaping the party’s trillion-dollar spending package into what became known as the Inflation Reduction Act.
A source in Manchin’s political orbit told Fox News that the attention surrounding the senator isn’t affecting him.
“I don’t think it impacts him in any way. This is the same guy he’s been. It’s just the political landscape that’s changed. He’s not a different person. More people now are paying attention to him, but he’s always been this guy,” the source said.
Manchin would enter the West Virginia race for Senate as a heavy underdog in a state that has become reliably Republican over the last decade. The popular current governor of The Mountain State, Jim Justice, has already announced that he’s running to take out Manchin next year, despite facing trouble from Biden’s Department of Justice. Democrats view the West Virginia seat as key to keeping their current majority.
Panicky liberals are already showing how much they really believe in “defending democracy,” a turn of phrase they will constantly yammer when discussing Republicans.
The New York Times wrote, “Opponents are mobilizing to stop No Labels. Maine’s secretary of state, Shenna Bellows, sent a cease-and-desist letter this month to the group’s director of ballot access, accusing the organization of misrepresenting its intentions as it presses for signatures to get on the state’s presidential ballot.
The Arizona Democratic Party sued this spring to get No Labels off the state’s ballot, accusing it of ‘engaging in a shadowy strategy to gain ballot access — when in reality they are not a political party.’”
Democrats are right to be worried. “As a likely 2024 matchup between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden looms, recent polling shows that introducing a centrist third-party candidate into the election would shift voter support to Republicans,” according to The Washington Examiner.
The findings from Data for Progress support a recent argument made by the Democratic Party that a third-party candidate, likely from the No Labels party, would “siphon votes” away from Biden and contribute to a Republican victory in the presidential election.
Data for Progress’s poll matched up Biden and Trump with a “moderate Independent candidate” and former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who has left the door open about running third party in 2024.
When Hogan is thrown into the race, he only receives 6% of the vote but brings the race between Trump and Biden to a tie. When the “moderate Independent candidate” is an option to replace Hogan, they receive 13% of the support, delivering Trump a narrow victory. When polled head to head, Biden leads Trump 47% to 45%.”
No Labels has said it would likely not enter the race if there is a choice besides Biden or Trump.