Joe Manchin Eyes Run Against Biden, Trump In 2024

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) told CNN this week that he “absolutely” can see himself as president in another sign that the maverick West Virginia Democrat may jump into the 2024 race as an independent or third party candidate, potentially spoiling the vote for President Joe Biden.

In private conversations with those close to him, Manchin has said that he may run as an independent this year if President Joe Biden has a health scare or a court convicts former President Donald Trump of a crime, according to a weekend report by CNN.

Meanwhile, in public speaking appearances, the West Virginia Democrat has told voters in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Georgia that there is an important role for him to play in the national dialogue as a “fiscally responsible and socially compassionate” middle-grounder, similar to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), but for moderates instead of the progressive far left.

Should Manchin decide to join the presidential race, he may appear on state ballots under an affiliation with No Labels, a trans-partisan group seeking to put together a presidential “unity ticket” for voters who are tired of bipartisan polarization and don’t want a Biden-Trump rematch in 2024. At the moment, the group is unsure of who to pick for the ticket.

Manchin has argued that President Biden’s policies are too far to the left and asserted that he “shaped” everything in the president’s first term agenda. Manchin argues he used his vote in a Senate split 50-50 to force Biden to follow his agenda. “The way it was presented and the way it ended up are two different things,” says the West Virginia Senator of Biden’s presidency.

Though he is a moderate Democrat, Manchin is firmly anti-Trump, saying last November, “You can’t say you’re going to take the most powerful office in the world and use it for vengeful purposes. You can’t have this visceral hatred out every time you give a speech, denigrating Americans [ … ] This is crazy stuff.” Vanity Fair says if he runs, it will help Trump win.

One journalist who has covered Manchin since before he was West Virginia’s governor, writing for The Politico, recently agreed, warning that if Manchin runs on a third-party ticket for president this year, he will be “remembered as the Democrat who ushered two Republicans into the governor’s office in Charleston, and possibly a third into the White House.”