Democratic Senator Joe Manchin Stokes Speculation of Third-Party Presidential Campaign
Written by: Sam Orlando
Charleston, WV - One of the Democratic Party's biggest headaches may just be getting started. According to reporting by The Independent, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, architect of the downfall of President Joe Biden's Build Back Better Act, is now publicly stoking speculations about his 2024 ambitions and is just one step away from outright threatening a third-party bid for president.
It would be a stunning move from the West Virginia senator, who is potentially facing a highly competitive bid for his seat from the GOP in his deep-red state, potentially in the form of the state's Governor Jim Justice. And it could upend polling and throw the 2024 race into deeply uncharted territory were he to gain any steam.
Senator Manchin was asked about the issue during two media appearances on Sunday, on Fox News and NBC. On Fox, he deliberately dodged a question from Fox News Sunday host Shannon Bream, who asked if this would be the day that he ruled out a third-party bid for the presidency. And on NBC's Meet the Press, he stated specifically that he would make a decision on running for president "maybe a little bit before" the 15 January 2024 deadline to announce one's candidacy. Pressed further, he would not commit one way or the other to running as a Democrat, regardless of which office he sought.
There hasn't been a serious third-party bid for the presidency since Ross Perot won nearly 20 per cent of the popular vote in the 1992 US presidential election. And even the unprecedented success of Mr. Perot's campaign illustrates the structural disadvantages facing independent candidates. Evan McMullin, a former CIA officer, mounted an independent bid for the presidency in 2016 that was widely celebrated by the so-called "Never Trump" faction of the conservative media sphere. However, his campaign failed to clear even 1 million votes in the general election that year.
Mr. Manchin enjoys significantly higher name recognition (and fundraising capabilities) than does Mr. McMullin, but it's still hard to see how he would be able to compete financially with the juggernauts that are the Biden and Trump campaigns.
Donald Trump remains the heavy favorite to win the GOP presidential nomination, even as he looks to be facing dozens of criminal charges in New York. Joe Biden has likewise indicated that he will run for reelection in 2024, though he has not officially announced the beginning of his campaign.