Sen. Joe Manchin Keeps Democrats Guessing
As Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) ponders his reelection bid, he has been keeping his party members on their toes by openly considering a presidential run. This uncertainty has left Democrats in a precarious position as they try to keep Manchin satisfied while also discouraging his White House ambitions.
A High-Stakes Election
In the upcoming 2024 cycle, Democrats have 23 Senate seats up for grabs, putting their slim majority at risk. This situation has given Manchin a significant advantage, as Democrats strive to appease the centrist senator and prevent any potential disruption to their party’s control.
“I have advised him against it. I think it would be a terrible idea,” said Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO), expressing his concerns about a Manchin presidential bid. “It would help Donald Trump.”
While Manchin has not yet revealed his intentions regarding a presidential run, he is seen as a favored candidate by No Labels, an outside political group committed to promoting a third-party ticket if the 2024 election becomes a rematch between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.
No Labels has not officially chosen a nominee yet, but its CEO, Nancy Jacobson, has not ruled out Manchin as their top pick. She emphasized that it is too early to make any decisions and that the group will announce its choice at the nominating convention next year.
“[Manchin] was at our launch in 2010,” Jacobson said. “He’s the honorary co-chair with Sen. Susan Collins of the organization, and he is a terrific legislator, and he stands for his politics. This is too premature. We have not made any decisions.”
However, some Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans have criticized No Labels, arguing that a third-party ticket would jeopardize Biden’s chances of winning the White House and potentially cost Democrats control of the Senate. They believe that Manchin, as a centrist senator, is crucial for keeping West Virginia’s seat blue.
With 34 Senate seats up for reelection, Republicans only need to defend 11 to maintain a slim majority. If Republicans win the White House in 2024, they would only need to flip one seat to secure control of the Senate.
No Labels has refuted claims that it would spoil Biden’s reelection prospects and stated that it would withdraw its efforts if Trump is not the GOP nominee. The group cited internal polling indicating that a third-party candidate could only win if Trump is in the race, pledging to exit the race if victory seems unattainable.
“What we’re doing is sticking to the plan we’ve had from the very beginning, which is: This is only worth doing if you think you can win,” explained Ryan Clancy, chief strategist for No Labels. “And today, the data is telling us it looks like it’d be a really steep road for an independent to win if it’s a Republican other than Trump.”
As the 2024 election approaches, the political landscape remains uncertain, with Manchin’s potential presidential bid and No Labels’ third-party aspirations adding further intrigue to an already contentious race.
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