Senator Joe Manchin Avoids Questions on His Future as a Democrat: ‘I’ll Let You Know Later’

Democrat Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia recently dodged questions on whether or not he would consider leaving the Democrat party. 

Manchin has been one of the two centrist Democrats in the Senate along with Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. With Sinema’s recent announcement that she is changing her voter registration to independent, Manchin remains the sole centrist. In a recent interview, Manchin was asked if he would be following Sinema’s lead.

“If people are trying to stop something from doing so much good because of politics, thinking somebody else will get credit for it, let’s see how that plays out. And then I’ll let you know later what I decide to do,” said Manchin. “[The Democrats] know how independent I am. The ‘D’ does not saddle me to ‘everything the Democrats want to do is right.’ I don’t think the Democrats have all the answers. I don’t think the Republicans are always wrong.”

Sidestepping questions about his party alignment, he maintained he has always served in the Senate as an “independent voice.”

Manchin’s latest statements echoed those from last week when he said that although he has no intention of leaving the party, he wouldn’t rule it out. He also said he respected Sinema’s decision to leave the party “tremendously.”

Sinema’s announcement of her departure from the Democrat party came shortly after the Democrats won a 51-49 majority in the Senate, putting a damper on the party’s enthusiasm. 

Manchin criticizes hyperpartisanship in Congress

The West Virginia Democrat criticized the hyperpartisanship in Congress and said he would wait and see how the Inflation Reduction Act and bipartisan infrastructure bill play out before making a final decision about his affiliation.

“As frustrating as the political games of Washington are, I will not give up. As I have said from my first day in office, I serve West Virginians and the American people with an independent voice, not a political party,” said Manchin. 

Manchin has frustrated fellow Democrats in the Senate, currently split 50-50, as much of proposed legislation has often hinged on his vote. 

In the interview, Manchin was asked, “Why are you staying a member of this tribe if it’s so toxic?”

“I really don’t put much validity in the identity of being a Republican or Democrat. I think we’re all Americans,” said Manchin.

Both Manchin and Sinema are up for reelection in 2024.