Is this candidate Dems’ best chance of beating Trump?
West Virginia’s Democratic Senator, Joe Manchin, has been subtly suggesting that he may run as an independent candidate for the presidency in 2024. Despite his role as a vocal critic of President Joe Biden and his opposition to several aspects of the Biden administration’s agenda, Manchin is deeply concerned about the polarization and division within the country.
Manchin acknowledges that both President Biden and former President Donald Trump have contributed to the nation’s divisiveness, leading many people to search for alternative options. When asked if he sees himself as that alternative, Manchin alluded to having numerous possibilities available and a strong drive to pursue them.
However, Manchin finds himself in a challenging political position as he faces re-election in 2024. Representing a predominantly conservative state that strongly supported Trump in the 2016 and 2020 elections, his chances of winning a third term as a Democrat appear slim, especially with the popular Republican Governor Jim Justice announcing his own bid for the GOP nomination.
Despite his circumstances, Manchin has wielded significant political influence during the early years of the Biden administration, particularly when the Senate was evenly divided. His pivotal swing vote played a crucial role in the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act last year. However, Manchin has recently expressed feeling let down by President Biden, believing that the bill’s focus on deficit reduction and the expansion of fossil fuel energy neglects the interests of West Virginia, a state heavily dependent on coal production.
As the chair of the Senate Energy Committee, Manchin has been blocking President Biden’s nominations to the Environmental Protection Agency, opposing initiatives related to new fossil fuel production, power generation, and emissions reductions in power plants.
While Manchin has stated that he has no intention of switching parties or following the path of former Democratic Senator Krysten Sinema, who became an independent, he has yet to formally announce his candidacy for re-election and intends to wait until December. Should he decide to run for president, a significant aspect of his campaign would likely focus on criticizing both major parties for abandoning the political center and promoting unity.
Manchin has expressed deep concerns about the state of the country and its standing in the world. He prioritizes addressing financial challenges and believes that his Democratic colleagues are not as committed to fiscal responsibility as he is. Additionally, he feels that Republicans have missed opportunities to implement meaningful changes.