Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Analysis: So, Joe Manchin was kidding about switching parties?

Collins had arranged the dinner following Vice President Kamala Harris’ interview with a local West Virginia TV station in which she said that the country was facing a “crisis of unbelievable proportions” and that politicians needed to “step up and stand for them.”

While she didn’t mention West Virginia’s Manchin, the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, by name, it was very clear whom Harris was targeting with her words. And Manchin was upset.

Sensing an opportunity, Collins, who had a close relationship with Manchin, invited him to dinner with her, Portman and Thune, the second-highest ranking Republican in the Senate. Manchin had rejected party-switching appeals in the past, so Thune pitched him on becoming an independent and caucusing with the Republicans, according to reporting from Burns and Martin.

“Thune suggested Manchin would likely be rewarded for taking such a step: You could write your own ticket, the South Dakotan told him. Chair a committee, we’ll help you raise money for your campaign.

“Manchin heard them out and gave Thune a politically deft response.

“John, he said, if you were the leader I would do it.”

Which, well, interesting, right? Yes! Absolutely!

On Thursday, CNN Capitol Hill producer Morgan Rimmer asked Manchin about the comments.
“Not that I can remem — no, we talk all the time, we have dinners together and all that. No, they’re always kidding back and forth,” Manchin said.

Which isn’t exactly a denial.

Then Manchin added this: “John Thune is the most decent human being, a good friend of mine. But no, they know where I’m at. And Mitch McConnell knows he’s tried everything humanly possible. The bottom line is I am a West Virginia Democrat.”

Which, again, is not a denial that he told Thune that if the South Dakotan was the Republican leader, he would switch parties!

Now, Manchin is right in this regard: There is no way that McConnell is not the Senate Republican leader come 2023. But who’s to say what the future holds? And Thune could be positioned to ascend to the top job whenever the Kentucky Republican steps aside.

If Manchin is still in the Senate at that point, does his party-switching calculus change?

For Democrat activists already leery of Manchin — and for Democratic strategists perennially worried about him leaving the party — his comments are something well short of reassuring that he’s always going to be with them.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

United States

In a 62-to-37 vote, 12 Republicans joined Democrats to advance the Respect for Marriage Act, landmark legislation to provide federal protections for same-sex marriages....

United States

new video loaded: Watch Live: Biden Addresses U.N. General Assembly Recent episodes in Live Journalism TimesTalks ​ — live and video conversations between New...


On Friday, Willow’s crate was spotted being carried by a staff member from the White House residence to Marine One, the presidential helicopter that...


“As a teacher, I’ve imagined that scene in my own classroom, again and again,” said Biden during remarks at the National Parent Teachers Association’s...


Navarro is charged with contempt of Congress after failing to appear for testimony or turn over documents in the House select committee’s investigation. While...


The hearing, which had been scheduled for Wednesday but was postponed until next week, would feature former top Trump administration legal officials who stood...


Paladino, then a Buffalo school board member, was defending himself against allegations that previous comments he made were racist and said he cared about...


But there was a striking change from pre-2020 briefings: It touched on violent threats to election officials that stem from conspiracy theories about the...