Moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has wielded a lot of power and influence in the upper chamber during the Biden administration.
Since he doesn’t always stand in line behind his fellow Democrats, how he voted on bills often decides whether something passes or not. Specifically, Manchin was able to have a lot of sway in what ended up in two major pieces of liberal legislation that were passed through budget reconciliation.
Ultimately, President Joe Biden’s ambitious Build Back Better package was scaled back by more than $2 trillion, almost solely because Manchin said he couldn’t support all the spending.
While that power certainly must be nice for Manchin to have, it may actually come back to haunt him in 2024.
Speaking recently on the “CNN This Morning” program, David Axelrod, who once served as a senior political adviser in the Obama administration, said that Manchin is now a “dead man walking” in his home state of West Virginia.
A recent survey shows that Manchin is a full 22 points behind the state’s Republican Governor Jim Justice. This is despite the fact that Manchin has been in the Senate for three terms already.
As Axelrod explained:
“I don’t want to be unkind to Senator Manchin, but he’s kind of dead man walking in West Virginia. There’s nowhere for him to go.
“[Manchin has] a popular Republican governor in the state that former President Donald Trump carried by almost 40 points. [Manchin] didn’t win by very much last time. So, he knows that he can’t win re-election in that state.”
The problem for Manchin is that he doesn’t engender himself particularly well with either political party. Democratic voters in West Virginia may not like him because he put a stop to some of their party’s biggest legislative agendas. And Republicans may not like him because he’s officially a Democrat.
According to Axelrod, Manchin’s only avenue to continue a political career at this point might be to run for president in 2024 as a third-party candidate.
The Washington Examiner reported recently that an outside group called No Labels said that Manchin could become a decent third-party candidate if the presidential election in 2024 ends up being a rematch between Trump and Biden.
According to the recent poll conducted by East Carolina University, in a hypothetical Senate matchup in West Virginia, Justice leads Manchin by 54% to 32% among registered voters in the state. About 13% of voters polled said they would be undecided between the two at this point.
The poll found that Manchin would be in a much better position against Republican Representative Alex Mooney, as he would trail that candidate by only 41% to 40%, with 18% of voters undecided.
For his part, Manchin hasn’t even announced his re-election bid just yet, and he’s said that he wouldn’t make his final decision until later this year. He also told media outlet The Hill that he hasn’t ruled out running for president in 2024.