West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin expressed significant concerns about party politics, hinting at the possibility of his departure from the Democratic party to become an Independent. During a radio interview with Hoppy Kercheva, Manchin stated that the polarization and brand damage associated with both major political parties have deeply troubled him.
“I’m thinking seriously. For me, I have to have peace of mind, basically,” he told West Virginia radio host Hoppy Kercheval. “The brand has become so bad — the D brand and R brand. In West Virginia, the D brand because it’s [the] national brand. It’s not the Democrats in West Virginia, it’s the Democrats in Washington.”
“I’ve been thinking about that for quite some time. I haven’t made any decisions whatsoever on any of my political direction. I want to make sure that my voice is truly an independent voice. When I do speak, I want to be able to speak honestly about basically the extremes of the Democrat and Republican Party that’s harming our nation,”
He emphasized that he does not identify with the mainstream “Washington Democrat” mindset and has contemplated for some time about ensuring his voice remains independent, allowing him to critique the extremes of both parties.
Manchin’s political future has been a topic of widespread discussion, especially amid rumors of his potential run for governor in West Virginia. However, he clarified his intent to remain in the Senate and voiced concerns about the divisive nature of both the Democratic and Republican parties. As he approaches his reelection campaign, his seat is viewed as one of the most vulnerable in the country. Possible opponents include Republican Governor Jim Justice and Republican Representative Alex Mooney.
It’s noteworthy that Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona also departed from the Democratic party in the past, but like Independent Senators Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, she continues to caucus with the Democrats. This highlights a growing trend of politicians seeking independence from party labels, even if their affiliations in practice remain aligned with one of the major parties.