Joe Manchin (Indecisive – WV) is in the news again, this time prevaricating as to whether he’ll change parties or not. Excerpt:
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va) refused to answer questions on whether he plans to leave the Democratic Party or not.
After being asked about his comments regarding serving in the Senate as an “Independent voice,” Manchin was asked if his remarks rang true for the near future.
“I’ll let you know later,” Machin said in response, adding “they know how independent I am,” speaking of his current party.
“The ‘D’ does not saddle me to ‘everything the Democrats want to do is right.’ I don’t think the Democrats have all the answers. I don’t think the Republicans are always wrong,” Manchin said on a segment of CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
However, he said for now he plans to stay true to his party, adding that he would wait and see how the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the Inflation Reduction Act “plays out” before making a final decision.
“If people are trying to stop something from doing so much good because of politics, thinking somebody else will get credit for it, let’s see how that plays out. And then I’ll let you know later what I decide to do,” Manchin said.
I don’t know about you, but to me it seems that the very fact that he’s evading an answer tells me he’s thinking really hard about joining Team R. And while he’d be on the left edge of the GOP, well, he has to be looking at the voting trends in West Virginia over the last few cycles and thinking really hard about how to keep his job. If the Senate GOP leadership has any brains at all (assumes facts not in evidence) they’ll sweeten the pot with some plum committee assignments or some other opportunities for graft.
Now, it’s popular to compare Manchin to Arizona’s Kristen Sinema. I think that’s a canard. Why? Well, I’m a-gonna tell you. Sinema left the Democrats, sure, and gave a whole flock of reasons for doing so. She cast it as a move on principle, and I suspect she really sees it that way – but it won’t change her voting pattern, and it won’t change the makeup of the Senate as she’ll continue to caucus with the Dems.
Joe Manchin, on the other hand, won’t be well served by just leaving the Dems and registering as an Independent. Sinema placed her re-election chances in peril by so doing, and she’s in Arizona, a state that’s trending purple. Joe is in West Virginia, a state that is becoming redder with each cycle. I suspect he’s evaluating his odds of re-election in 2024 with and without hopping over to the GOP.
At this point I won’t harbor any guesses as to what he might do. But I expect he’ll either fish or cut bait; he’ll stay with the Dems or swap to the GOP. I don’t see how any middle ground does him any good at all.