U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., spoke Thursday about what many politicos have been saying for some time is inevitable, leaving the Democratic Party.
Manchin was speaking with West Virginia Metro News’ “Talkline” host Hoppy Kercheval and the moderate lawmaker said he’s “seriously” considering becoming an independent because the Democrats’ brand has become “so bad.”
“I’m thinking seriously. For me, I have to have peace of mind, basically,” he said, according to The Hill. “The brand has become so bad — the D brand and R brand. In West Virginia, the D brand because it’s [the] national brand. It’s not the Democrats in West Virginia, it’s the Democrats in Washington.”
“You’ve heard me say a million times I’m not a Washington Democrat,” said Manchin, who earlier this year described himself as an independent Democrat.
When pressed on whether he would really leave the party, the senator was a little less sure about when he might pull the trigger.
“I would think very seriously about that,” Manchin said. “I’ve been thinking about that for quite some time. I haven’t made any decisions whatsoever on any of my political direction. I want to make sure that my voice is truly an independent voice.”
He did insist that calling out “extremes” on both sides of the aisle will remain a priority.
“When I do speak, I want to be able to speak honestly about basically the extremes of the Democrat and Republican Party that’s harming our nation,” he said.
Should Manchin become an independent, he would join Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., as the second Senate Democrat to jettison the party in the last year.
Up for reelection in 2024, Manchin has said that he will decide at the end of the year whether to run for a fourth term or run for president as a third-party candidate backed by No Labels, The Hill reported, noting that the bipartisan centrist group “plans to raise $70 million to put an independent, third-party candidate on the presidential ballot next year.”
Manchin has taken fire from both sides on the possibility of running for president amid concerns it will help one party or the other.
“I don’t see that favoring either side, because you just can’t tell how this is going to break,” he said. “If come January and February of next year these are still the main contenders, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, that’s a whole other scenario.”
“If they are not — and it could break between now and then — that changes the game completely,” he added. “The bottom line is, ‘Will the middle speak up? Does the middle have a voice?'”
Social media users are not too impressed with Manchin’s latest iteration… here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story, as seen on Twitter:
Trans Republican comes out. World is not shocked, since he comes from the hill that has eyes ….
— Alan Tegel (@tegelad) August 11, 2023
Do it! It’s very freeing.
— Stef (@Steffiesaid) August 11, 2023
He “seriously considers” this every 3 months to appeal to his conservative base. He always stays in his party in the end.
— Robert Real Estate Podcaster (@robertikardpod) August 11, 2023
When Manchin voted yes on Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, I think it was a disaster for his future, and he knows it, hence, looking to go independent.
Republicans should be able to win this seat, but who knows?
— Just Thinking (@StevenR3169) August 11, 2023
it won’t protect him from loosing.
— Tony (@tbenz1221) August 10, 2023
Manchin is a Democrat?!?
— Alex Urena (@nexgencpu) August 10, 2023
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