Democrats: Manchin Presidential Run Would Hurt Biden

By Charlie McCarthy

Fellow Democrats are warning Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., that a third-party run for president would hurt President Joe Biden’s reelection chances and could result in former President Donald Trump returning to the White House.

Manchin, a moderate in a party becoming more and more progressive under Biden, has flirted with a presidential campaign as an independent. He recently announced he will not seek another term in the U.S. Senate from his native red state.

“I think it would be very, very unfortunate if Joe Manchin decided to do that,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said of a possible Manchin third-party candidacy, The Hill reported.

“I know he’s a supporter of President Biden and has been an important person here in the U.S. Senate in terms of getting things done. And he knows that if he were to step in [to the race] that it would make it much more likely Donald Trump would be president again and I know Joe Manchin doesn’t want that.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., echoed Stabenow’s sentiment.

“My reaction is disappointment, deep disappointment,” Blumenthal said, The Hill reported. “At his core I think Joe Manchin is a Democrat and believes in Democratic values and principles. I’m deeply disappointed that he is still even talking about a possible run that would undermine Joe Biden.

“The simple stark fact is that a Manchin run for president would undercut Joe Biden.”

Manchin disagreed, pointing to the three-way presidential election race in 1992.

“I don’t buy that scenario,” Manchin told CBS News recently. “I’ve heard that. And — and I wouldn’t buy that scenario because if you look back in history, how things have played out, I don’t think that they thought Ross Perot would elect Bill Clinton.”

Members of the Biden administration, though, told NBC News that Manchin is using the publicity of a possible third-party run to criticize Biden’s “ideological drift to the left.

Democrat strategist Jonathan Kott, a former Manchin adviser, said the senator should be taken seriously.

“I always take Joe Manchin at his word. I think the first thing he’s going to do is go around the country, see if he can mobilize what he thinks is a moderate majority of voters, people who want their government to get stuff done and not the people who focus on the fighting of the extremes of each party,” Kott said, The Hill reported.

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