Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has always been a maverick. As a centrist Democrat, he’s been concerned with the direction his party has been heading to the far left.
Manchin wants to represent the people of West Virginia, not a woke, big-spending agenda.
That’s why questions are now intensifying about whether he will switch to the Republican Party or go Independent, following Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona’s recent decision to leave the Democrat Party and become Independent.
Is Joe Next?
Speaking to the press recently, Manchin said he was watching what was happening and paying attention to Sinema leaving the party.
She left on December 9, making a lot of headlines with her decision and bringing months of tensions with Biden to a close. These happened in particular because Sinema did not want to vote to abolish the filibuster as much of her party did.
Now, Manchin says leaving the Democrats is possible “later” but at this time, he has “no intention” of doing so. He said his “mindset” is to stay the course right now and not get into the partisan game.
Manchin and Sinema have often been allies on votes and have been accused by the party’s activist base of being beholden to corporate interests. They, in turn, have accused the Democrats of going too far left and becoming too extreme.
Sinema defects from the Dems, could Manchin be following close behind? pic.twitter.com/J1vx5IsBam
— Lou Pettey (@golferlouie) December 13, 2022
Why Did Sinema Leave?
Sinema left because she was tired of being persecuted and criticized by her party leadership and voters.
She said she wants to be like the many Arizona voters who also “reject party politics” and has decided that being an Independent is the best place for her.
That said, Sinema is still widely expected to mostly vote with Democrats in Congress, and even if he left, Manchin has made it clear he would still caucus with Democrats as well.
Sinema said she doesn’t like the idea of political teams where you’re expected to be antagonistic and an enemy of the other party.
Both she and Manchin have often been allies and they were part of why a wasteful spending bill from Biden on election security was blocked and the filibuster was allowed to continue.
They also did a lot to block the green socialism of Biden’s so-called Build Back Better bill.
Joe Manchin: ‘No intention’ of switching to independent but doesn’t close door to leaving Demshttps://t.co/2YVc7IxkOM pic.twitter.com/e6cpvU0nsy
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) December 12, 2022
The Bottom Line
Joe Manchin says he has a lot of respect for Sinema and hopes to continue working with her as before.
Nonetheless, it is clear that he doesn’t yet plan to leave the Democrat Party or the various revenue streams and funding it provides to him.
The Washington machine is still chugging along, but these fault lines do show that some of the narratives of partisan politics are beginning to collapse.This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.