Joe Manchin, the moderate Democratic Senator for West Virginia who drew criticism from members of his own party for refusing to back President Joe Biden’s mammoth “Build Back Better” bill, attracted new criticism this week. Manchin told reporters that he would not support the confirmation of a second Biden nominee to the Supreme Court if an additional vacancy were to occur just before the 2024 presidential election.
It’s just the latest instance of Joe Manchin breaking rank and hindering his party’s ability to pass unprecedented legislative measures and budgets. Not only did Manchin stop Build Back Better and the amnesty for illegal aliens included in it, but he also stood in the way of the Freedom to Vote Act. Under the proposed legislation, election rules would be federalized, election day made a federal holiday, same-day registration implemented nationwide, and limits placed on the removal of voters from voter rolls.
Manchin has repeatedly cited concerns about rising inflation and the lack of bipartisanship for his refusal to blindly vote with the rest of his part, prompting rumors that he may be considering jumping ship to the GOP.
Republicans Already Welcomed Joe Manchin On Board
Rumors about Manchin joining the Republicans have been around since last year. Republican Senator for Texas John Cornyn confirmed in December that he had reached out to Manchin to encourage him to switch parties over his opposition to the Build Back Better bill.
“I don’t know what he will decide to do…but I do know West Virginia has gotten increasingly red,” he told KXAN at the time. “So, yeah, we’d love to have him…that would change the majority.”
In the same month, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged Manchin to join the party.
“No wonder why Joe Manchin is uncomfortable on the Democratic side…he would be a lot more comfortable on our side,” he told Fox News, arguing that the Democrats had taken a hard lurch to the left.
McConnell did admit, however, that he didn’t expect it to happen.
It seems as though some outlets were eager to make Manchin pick a side, too. In January, both NBC News and the Washington Post described how Manchin, along with fellow centrist Senator Kirsten Sinema, has “joined” with the GOP in rejecting the proposal to remove the Senate filibuster.
The Atlantic even published an op-ed claiming that Manchin and Sinema had “completed a conservative vision.”
Joe Manchin Has Already Said He Won’t
Senator Joe Manchin said in early 2022 that he had no intentions of leaving the Democratic Party and denied reports that he had told his colleagues in Congress that if it were to become “embarrassing” to be a Democrat then he would switch his party affiliation and become an Independent.
Even in the face of the extreme criticism from his own party, and accusations of being an “obstructionist” by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other members of “The Squad,” Manchin has made no moves yet – and has not made any indication that he is even considering joining the Republicans.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and report on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.