Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is saying he can “absolutely” see himself as president, further fueling rumors of a 2024 independent presidential run. He told CNN’s State of the Union that the hypothetical rematch between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden is isolating the majority of voters, the bulk of whom define themselves as some version of a moderate centrist.
Manchin has been vocally critical of the “far, far-left liberals,” in his words, who are currently dominating the Democratic Party.
CNN reports that, privately, Manchin believes there could be a chance for an independent run if Biden has a health scare or if Trump is found ineligible to run.
The real question would be what would become of the election if Manchin opts to join a race in which Biden and Trump are both viable and in a dead heat.
Even in a jaded America, the chance of Manchin winning outright as an independent is remote. The last time someone from a party other than the Democrat or Republican variety was Millard Filmore in 1853.
Assuming Americans prove unwilling to break from the 171-year tradition of choosing between donkeys and elephants, the natural focus would become assessing if the Manchin vote would prove more damaging to the left or right. Would moderates from either party cancel each other out?
An answer to that question would likely hinge upon just how unenthusiastic either party’s moderates have become.