Democratic Senator Joe Manchin says he’s been thinking seriously about becoming an independent

by Andrew Wright
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Joe Manchin

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin has revealed that he’s seriously contemplating a departure from the Democratic Party to become an independent. As a prominent swing vote in the tight U.S. Senate, particularly on significant spending measures, the West Virginia Senator’s comments were made on MetroNews “Talkline” last Thursday.

Manchin stated, “I would think very seriously about that. I’ve been considering this for a while now, and I’ve not yet made any choices about my political future. My goal is to ensure that my voice represents an independent perspective, praising both the good in Republicans and the ongoing positive actions of Democrats.”

Though he hasn’t formally announced if he will seek re-election, two Republicans, Governor Jim Justice and Representative Alex Mooney, have declared their intentions to run for his Senate position. Interestingly, Manchin had initially encouraged Justice to run for governor as a Democrat, but Justice later joined the GOP during a rally for former President Donald Trump.

Manchin’s Thursday remarks mark his most earnest indication of possibly switching to an independent. He expressed his dissatisfaction with the current political branding, saying, “The ‘D’ and ‘R’ brands have become so bad, especially the ‘D’ brand in West Virginia. I’ve always made it clear that I don’t identify with the Washington Democrats.”

Within the Democratic caucus, frustration with Manchin has been growing, especially as his vote is critical in the 51-49 Senate. His regular criticisms of his party, including President Joe Biden, have raised concerns that he might change parties, potentially jeopardizing the Democrats’ narrow control.

In December 2021, Manchin dramatically withdrew his support from a $2 trillion social and environmental bill, effectively destroying a key part of Biden’s domestic agenda. However, a surprising turn occurred months later when Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer worked together to create a compromise package, resulting in the passage of a more modest domestic law concentrated on healthcare and climate change mitigation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Joe Manchin

What is Senator Joe Manchin contemplating?

Senator Joe Manchin is seriously contemplating leaving the Democratic Party to become an independent.

Who are the Republicans that have announced their candidacies for Manchin’s Senate seat?

Governor Jim Justice and Representative Alex Mooney have announced their candidacies for Manchin’s Senate seat.

What concerns do Manchin’s Democratic colleagues have regarding his behavior?

Manchin’s Democratic colleagues are concerned that his almost constant criticisms of the party, and particularly President Joe Biden, could lead him to switch parties, potentially taking away their slim hold on power.

How did Manchin’s stance affect Biden’s $2 trillion social and environment bill?

Manchin pulled his support from the $2 trillion social and environment bill in December 2021, dealing a fatal blow to one of Biden’s leading domestic initiatives in his first year in office.

What compromise did Manchin reach with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer?

Months after withdrawing support for the social and environment bill, Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer crafted a compromise package that ultimately passed into law, focusing on healthcare and combating climate change.

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