'Not a political genius': Attorney debunks 'desperate' Manchin’s 'centrist' talking points

'Not a political genius': Attorney debunks 'desperate' Manchin’s 'centrist' talking points

During an August 10 appearance on MetroNews' "Talk Line," Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) noted that he is considering leaving the Democratic Party and becoming an independent. The centrist senator would not be the first prominent ex-Democrat to do that in recent years; Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii are now independents.

Manchin is a rare example of a Democrat who has a long history of winning statewide races in deep red West Virginia, which former President Donald Trump carried by around 39 percent in 2020. Before joining the U.S. Senate, Manchin served as West Virginia governor. But Republican strategists believe that depending on who the GOP's Senate nominee is, they have a good chance of defeating him in 2024.

In a biting article published by The New Republic on August 18, attorney Jess Coleman argues that Manchin's talk of possibly leaving the Democratic Party isn't motivated by "integrity" but by "total desperation."

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"There are no secrets about Manchin's political situation at home," Coleman writes. "After being reelected in 2018 by just 3 percent, in a year in which Democrats vastly outperformed expectations nationally, Manchin has an enormous hill to climb with his reelection looming in 2024."

Coleman continues, "But the West Virginia senator doesn't seem to have much interest in taking responsibility for the electoral crisis in which he has enmeshed himself. Instead, he'd like us to believe the political forces around him have simply left him no choice: Both sides have drawn too far to the extremes, leaving no political home for the critical mass of centrist West Virginians who sent him to Washington. Hence, the need to chart a new path on his own."

Coleman goes on to point out that according to CNN exit polls in 2018, Manchin "garnered the votes of 64 percent of those who identify as moderates, and just 23 percent of conservatives" — adding that the senator is "far more reliant on Democratic voters than many of his blue state counterparts."

"Mostly, we have to understand something simple about Manchin: We are not watching a political genius at work," Coleman argues. "He's not on the verge of revealing a masterful plan to pull off another miracle in West Virginia. This is a desperate politician squirming for his political life after making a series of catastrophic political decisions."

READ MORE: These Joe Manchin allies don't share David Axelrod’s view that he's a 'dead man walking' in 2024

The full New Republic article is available at this link.

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