Joe Manchin To Test Whether 3rd Party Is Viable

West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said this week that he still hasn’t decided what his political future will be, but he will go on a two-month tour this winter to test out whether there’s “movement” nationally for a third-party ticket for president.

Appearing at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council Summit on Tuesday, Manchin said:

“I start in January. I’ll be two months on the road. And all we’re trying to do is just mobilize people like myself who feel like they’re homeless, politically homeless.

“I don’t recognize the Democratic Party, and I have a D by my name. I have a lot of Republicans that don’t recognize the Republican Party that have Rs by their name. I don’t know if there’s a movement, I really don’t.”

Manchin announced last month that he wouldn’t be seeking re-election as senator in West Virginia next year. The moderate Democrat may have had a very difficult path to re-election anyway, as his state is solidly Republican.

Plus, over the last two years specifically, he’s angered people from both sides of the political aisle, especially Democrats who were not happy that he didn’t support many of President Joe Biden’s ultra-progressive policies, such as the massive Build Back Better bill.

When he made that announcement, rumors began to swirl that Manchin might run for president as a third-party candidate. And while he has acknowledged that possibility in the past, this week’s announcement is the clearest one yet that he’s legitimately considering it.

During the CEO Council Summit, people pressed Manchin on what his political future will look like, but he sort of sidestepped those questions. Instead, he said:

“The reason I won’t make a prediction, what I can tell you is: There might be a movement, there might not. That depends. I really don’t know. I would not be a spoiler. I’ve never been a spoiler in anything. I get into something, I get into win.”

That matches with what Manchin has said in the past, which is that he’d only launch a third-party presidential bid if he thought he had a realistic chance to actually win. One thing he probably wants to avoid is running as a third-party candidate, and only taking votes away from one of the major political party candidates – in essence, allowing the other to win more easily.
Democrats, specifically, are not excited about the possibility of a Manchin third-party run. That’s because most political pundits believe he’d draw more votes away from Biden, which could make it easier for former President Donald Trump to win the White House next year.

This year, Manchin has attempted to raise his national profile by appearing at political fundraisers and other major events. He’s been a regular attendee at events held by the political group No Labels, for instance.

Overall, Manchin is unhappy with where politics in the U.S. have trended over the last few years. He said another Trump White House would ultimately “break” the system, though he also isn’t happy that Biden has moved so far to the left.

As he explained:

“I believe that Joe Biden – if it comes down to those two – if he moves back to the center, which is what people thought they were getting, I think he would be in good shape.”