Speculation Grows Over Joe Manchin’s 2024 Plans Following Retirement Announcement
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin III’s announcement on 9th Oct that he would not seek re-election has fueled speculation about his next steps, with some suggesting he may be considering a presidential run in 2024.
Throughout his tenure in Washington, Senator Manchin has frequently criticized the partisan environment of the Capitol, emphasizing that Americans are not as politically divided as their representatives. In his retirement video, he alluded to the possibility of taking a different path to address the nation’s polarized politics.
Mr. Manchin expressed his intention to travel the country and engage in discussions to explore the possibility of a movement aimed at uniting the political center and bridging the divide among Americans. He argued that the country is not as divided as it may seem, emphasizing shared values such as family, freedom, democracy, dignity, and the belief in collective problem-solving.
While Mr. Manchin’s plans remain uncertain, close aides and advisers maintain that they are not privy to his intentions. Known for his independent thinking and last-minute decision-making, Senator Manchin has long charted his course on major decisions.
One potential path being explored by Senator Manchin could be his association with No Labels, an organization advocating for a centrist presidential candidate. The group has generated buzz about fielding an independent candidate in the upcoming presidential election. No Labels acknowledged that Senator Manchin’s announcement came as a surprise but commended him for initiating a national dialogue on addressing America’s most pressing issues.
Some allies of Mr. Manchin remain skeptical about the possibility of a presidential run, citing the significant financial resources required to run a credible independent or third-party campaign. In the past, Mr. Manchin has not been known for his fundraising prowess, and he relied on the support of fellow Senate Democrats and super PACs in his previous re-election campaign.
The late stage of his potential presidential bid could pose additional challenges, with historically low chances of success for candidates who enter the race at this point.
Moreover, Mr. Manchin’s age, at 76, raises questions, as the issue of the age of political leaders has gained prominence in recent years. President Biden, 80, and former President Donald J. Trump, 77, have both faced scrutiny regarding their age, which would be a central issue in any presidential run by Senator Manchin.
While Mr. Manchin remains in good physical shape, his age could become a point of contention during a campaign.
Throughout his career, Senator Manchin has relished his role as a critical swing vote when the Democrats control the Senate. This role has allowed him to engage with media outlets and donors while also drawing the ire of progressive activists within the Democratic Party.
With the ongoing race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, Mr. Manchin might see an opportunity to appeal to a broad section of the American electorate, encompassing both Republicans and Democrats disenchanted with their party’s nominees.
The No Labels organization has made substantial strides in its bid to field an alternative presidential candidate. While they have established ballot access in 12 states, they continue to gather input from members across the nation to determine the characteristics they would like to see in a presidential candidate. Their ambitious goal is to raise $70 million before their convention in April in Dallas.
The future for Joe Manchin remains uncertain, and as the 2024 election season approaches, political observers and voters will be closely watching his next moves.