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Will Joe Manchin Switch Parties?

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Although it’s not yet official, it is likely that the Democrats are now positioned to take control of the Senate after the inept Republicans once again got outclassed and lost 2 seats at the same time in Deep South Georgia. That leaves the Senate at 50-50, with far-left Democrat Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker.

But what if Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), were to switch parties? He has declined to do so in the past, but the stars are now aligned to make a party-switch his smartest move. Consider:

  • Manchin is the last conservative Democrat in Washington. All of the others are now retired or dead, have switched to the Republican Party, or moved left with the Democrat base.
  • Manchin is on record as opposing most of the highest-priority items on the Democrats’ agenda: nuking the filibuster (which I actually support, although for very different reasons than the Dems), packing the Supreme Court with activist judges who will rubber-stamp anything the Democrats do, making DC and Puerto Rico states to make it almost impossible for Republicans to ever again win control of the Senate, abolishing the electoral college, government-run health care, Green New Deal, forgiving student loans, and numerous other radical, socialist, and anti-constitutional policies.
  • If Manchin votes against these items as a Democrat, he will be excoriated by his party’s base across the country, his colleagues in the Senate, and the Democrats’ “news” mafia. If he votes for any of those items, he will be excoriated by the conservative voters of West Virginia. So, remaining a Democrat is a no-win situation for him.
  • He will also be excoriated by his party’s base across the country, his colleagues in the Senate, and the Democrats’ “news” mafia if he switches parties. But he’ll also be celebrated by Republicans and others who care about preserving our constitutional republic, and he’ll be revered as a hero by the highly-Republican electorate of his state.
  • West Virginia is now a solidly red state. Manchin has been reelected in recent elections based on the people’s respect for him personally, but despite, not because, he’s a Democrat. His last election was competitive in a way his previous ones weren’t, and the state continues to become more solidly red. If he wants to run for reelection again, his state might be too red for him to win as a Democrat next time.
  • Some evidence of this new political dynamic that’s daunting for Sen. Manchin if her remains a Democrat: WV Gov. Jim Justice got elected 4 years ago as a conservative Democrat due largely to Manchin’s support. But he concluded he could not be reelected as a Democrat, so he switched parties and ran for reelection this year as a Republican. He won by a two-to one margin with 64% of the vote – despite the fact that Manchin endorsed his Democrat opponent. This result shows both that WV is now a solid red state and that the voters there are no longer willing to follow Manchin’s lead to vote for Democrats. This can’t be lost on the senator.
  • If Manchin is going to switch parties, now would be the time to do it. Now is when he would have the most leverage he will ever have to maximize his political power and influence for the good of his state in exchange for making the party switch.
  • Say what you will about Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, but he is a smart and shrewd tactician. He knows everything I’ve said here, and I would be shocked if he’s not already talking to Manchin about a deal to switch.

Some will counter that a party switch by Manchin would ignore that the results in Georgia, both for president and Senate, continue a trend starting in Virginia and Colorado of traditionally red states becoming blue. But that trend is based on shifting demographics in those states. In West Virginia, unlike in Virginia, Colorado, and Georgia, the demographics haven’t shifted at all. The only thing that has shifted is that the still-and-always conservative voters of West Virginia moved from the Democrats to the Republican Party.

Everything I just wrote is contingent upon at least one of two things being true: Manchin must either wish to run for reelection in 2024, or he must care about his legacy. He has the opportunity to become the kind of legendary statesman that Strom Thurmond was in South Carolina and Mills Godwin was in Virginia.

Sen. Manchin has to know that, but the fact that he endorsed the Democrat gubernatorial candidate last year over the incumbent that he endorsed 4 years ago indicates that as of a few months ago Manchin remained dedicated to the Democrat Party. But remain so now, under the current circumstances, would be to miss a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a hero to his state and country.

The question is whether he will seize the opportunity.

Ken Falkenstein

Author: Ken Falkenstein

Ken Falkenstein is the Managing Editor of Committed Conservative and brings a wealth of experience and expertise in public affairs to the job. Ken served in the U.S. Army in the last years of the Cold War as a Russian linguist for military intelligence and the NSA. After leaving the Army, he earned his degree in Secondary Education from Old Dominion University, where he also wrote a popular column in the student newspaper. Upon graduation, Ken worked as a Legislative Aide to two Republican members of the Virginia House of Delegates. Ken also served as Corresponding Secretary of the Young Republican Federation of Virginia, managed several successful political campaigns, and managed governmental affairs operations for a local Realtor association. In 1995, Ken moved to Washington, DC to serve as a Legislative Assistant to Sen. John Warner (R-VA). While working for Sen. Warner, Ken attended law school at night, earning his J.D. with honors from the George Mason University School of Law (n/k/a The Antonin Scalia Law School). Since that time, Ken has practiced as a civil litigation attorney, including serving for three years as an Associate City Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Ken previously was a contributor to the highly-regarded political blog Bearing Drift and was a weekly co-host of The Steve Batton Radio Program. In 2016, Ken ran unsuccessfully for the Virginia Beach School Board. Ken is also a former President of the Down Syndrome Association of Hampton Roads. Ken now lives outside of Denver, Colorado with his wife, Kim, and three sons, Adam, Dylan, and Joshua, who has Down syndrome. Ken’s writing is motivated and informed primarily by his concern for his kids’ future.