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Will Manchin switch to the GOP?

Will Manchin switch to the GOP?

Not long ago, I wrote a commentary that suggested the possibility of West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin switching to the Republican Party. That possibility gained more attention lately for four reasons – (1) his generally more conservative economic views on public policy, (2) his opposition to President Biden’s legacy Build Back Better legislation, (3) Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s open invitation, and (4) the overwhelming – and growing – GOP vote in Manchin’s home state.

The fear of a switch is what kept Democrats from criticizing Manchin harshly as he laid out his initial and substantial objections to the Biden legislative agenda. He was “our friend Joe” as long as they believed he would eventually “come around.”  But he didn’t.

That lead to a round of attacks – most notably from the White House in a statement read by Press Secretary Jen Psaki but said to have been approved by President Biden.

It was about then that the talk of a party switch gained momentum – and when McConnell issued the invitation.  Suddenly, Biden and Democrat congressional leaders realized that the attacks on Manchin may just be what he needed to actually consider switching parties – and consequently, Democrats went back to the “our friend Joe” strategy.  Somehow, they had to keep him in the fold if there was ANY chance of passing ANY part of the Biden Build Back Better legislation.

The new Democrat strategy is to get Manchin to agree to SOMETHING.  Passing the crumbs of the grandiose BBB bill was better than nothing.  Biden & Co. are giving the impression that if they could get Manchin to agree to spend $100 million to send every family one hundred bucks, they would take it and declare victory.

One television pundit suggested that if Manchin was reluctant to join the GOP, he could declare himself an independent and caucus with the Republicans.  But that makes no more sense than making the switch.

Becoming a Republican would not likely be a problem if Manchin wants to get re-elected in 2024.  West Virginia is among the reddest of the red states – and McConnell would certainly offer the support and money from the Senate Congressional Campaign Committee.

The interesting question is what former President Trump would do.  Manchin voted to convict Trump in the impeachment trials – and Trump is obsessed and unforgiving of anyone who has crossed him.  A Manchin switch would be great for team-GOP but Trump is not a team player.  He will turn on even his one-time closest allies if provoked.  Manchin is smart enough, however, to know that he would have a good chance of winning the Republican primary even if Trump put up an opponent.  And Trump should be smart enough to know that, too.

Arguably Manchin’s greatest threat to re-election would be to run as a Democrat and face a strong Republican candidate.

Manchin putting thumbs down on the Biden BBB bill rattled the Democrat establishment – especially those on the far left.  Imagine the shock that would go through the progressive ranks if Manchin actually did switch to the GOP.  It would immediately give Republicans control of the Senate and restore Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority leader.  Suddenly, the GOP would have majorities on all the committees – and the current minority committee leaders would become the chairs.

There should be no doubt that McConnell would offer almost anything to get Machin to come over to the Republican side of the Senate chamber – and probably already has.

So, what is keeping Manchin from making the switch.

The most powerful influence is very simple.  He IS a Democrat – and has been all his life.  He is a moderate only if compared to the most radical Democrats.  He is not a hardline right-winger.  If he were, the decision would be easy.  He would switch.  

Manchin’s political and personal friendships are almost all Democrats – in Washington and back home.  They are longstanding and deep.

He is also a collegial guy who likes to work across the aisle, as they say.   He is bipartisan in that he – more than almost any other Democrat Senator – has Republican friends with whom he works to find consensus.  Were he to switch, he would not have many friends left on the Democrat side of the aisle – if any.

As a guy who strives to reach consensus, it is not in Manchin’s nature to disrupt the system – and throw everything into acrid political chaos.  And that is exactly what would happen if he switched.  If such a switch did not change everything so dramatically, he might be more inclined to make the switch.

Manchin is also a small-d democrat.  Since he ran as a Democrat – and the folks back home elected him as a Democrat –Manchin may feel that changing parties with such dramatic results would be a betrayal of all those voters.

Much of the speculation surrounding Manchin rests on the impact a switch would have on his re-election in 2024, but at 77 years old, he may not want another term.  And if that is the case, that would also mitigate against the switch-a-roo.

So, the answer to the headline question is … probably not.  But my odds – that were once 99/1 against such a switch (nothing is 100 percent) – are now in the range of 80/20 against.  

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Ben

    At this point, it really doesn’t matter. He doesn’t have the best interests of his constituents in mind, so he might as well be a Republican.
    If the shoe fits….

    • Larry kuhn

      The news reported that the people in West Virginia are proud of their senator and will support him even if he switched parties. Manchin is like the old democrat party of Kennedy and Truman. They have since been hijacked by communist. It took me a while to see it and then I switched parties and never looked back

      • frank stetson

        And you joined the Autocrat party of just say no instead? Following a man who does nothing but lie? A man with so much integrity that he hasn’t even conceded the 2020 election yet? A man who held a rally on 1/6 and then sent the minions to stop Congress in it’s tracks? I agree that’s a road less travelled by most Democrats. We usually just turn Independent….but that’s not really a party then, is it?

      • Ben

        Larry KKKuhn,
        You do understand Truman enacted the Fair Deal? The social programs that are loved and relied upon by so many Americans, regardless of political persuasion.
        And Kennedy established the Peace Corp, the New Frontier program, expanded welfare benefits, negotiated peace accord w soviets. Worked toward progressive initiatives in Latin America.

        Soooo, the Democratic Party hasn’t changed much at all. My guess is that you are just more comfortable embracing your bigotry and racism. This would squarely align you with the Republican Party.

        • Larry kuhn

          Yes, I realize all of that. But it was done with consideration of the National debt. Both parties are guilty of fucking us our finances. And I don’t understand Frank’s post. He seems to be referring to trump. My question is, what the hell does he have to do with joe Manchin? I think that Frank is scared shitless that Trump is going to be re-elected. He probably won’t even run again. But if he gets the nomination he damned sure has my vote.

          • frank stetson

            Well, Mr. KKK, if case you missed it, the Republican party has been the party of Trump for some time. That is what Joe Manchin would be turning to if he turned to Republicans. As I have said before, I fear not Trump, he’s a carnival sideshow. I fear Trumpism, people like you, who embrace Trump but worse, embrace some form of Trumpism, all of which is harmful, IMO.

            I agree, Trump won’t run, he’s too old and he’s making more money not running than he did running. Plus, the risk of being the yugest loser in all time —- two-times impeached, one of a small handful of one-term wonders, and then if he loses another run —– oh my, the family loser legacy. Don’t think he will risk it, but will feint all the way to the end collecting, collecting, spending, spending. Gotta pay for those lawsuits!

          • Ben

            Larry KKKuhn,
            trump hasn’t won the popular vote in two tries. What makes you think the third time is the charm?
            JFK jr as his running mate?

            Dude, that ship sailed.

            Nobody cares about the debt. Republicans only say they care when a democrat is in office. Then it’s suddenly silent when they are in office.

            The only difference is republicans allow you to feel more comfortable in your bigotry.

    • frank stetson

      Err…. on this one, I say, IMO, Joe is doing the right thing, just in the wrong way. I have no issues with a smaller spending package, but let’s negotiate a number. And if the number is $0, we need another way to get er done. But personally I would take any package, chalk Joe up for his vote, put someone else against him in the next election if you don’t like it, and let’s move forward. Sideways sucks. And the Republicans “just say no” program is just ignorant and unworthy of Congress, for any party.

      • Larry. Kuhn

        One more thing Ben. Re kkkuhn. White power!!!!!

        • John swartz

          Ben your Muslim daughter in law would be really proud of you since her ilk hates America too.

          • Joe Gilbertson

            Let’s keep the insults to first person only, please…

          • frank stetson

            And our two resident racists weigh in.

          • Ben

            Hate America?
            No, Neither she nor I are Republicans.

            I think it’s cute how Larry KKKuhn switches user names.

        • Ben

          Nice Larry KKKuhn,

          Whites (men) have been in power far to long. The fact that people of color and women are now having their voices heard obviously scares the crap out of you. It’s almost as if you know minorities are treated different in America. Whites birth rate is already less than minority birth rates. Between the birth rates and the trump base dying off, It’s only a matter of time.

          Thank you for once again reaffirming that today’s conservative movement is filled with hate and bigotry. Larry H loves giving a platform to the same group of people that discriminated against his grandson.

          • Larry kuhn

            That’s going to be the downfall of America. And no, I don’t post under different names. Why should I?

  2. frank stetson

    Really Joe, that’s the PBP guidance on ad hominem attacks? Just keep em in the first person? Does that mean Hunter Biden is off limits?

    Shouldn’t the line just be ad hominem attacks?

  3. Ben

    Joe ,
    Thanks for drawing a line in the sand. No matter how faint it may be. ( it’s like saying,”no, stop, please consider not doing that thing you’re doing.. or not. I don’t really care”)

    I noticed you seem ok with the racist attacks, I’m not surprised.

    I do like that PBP gives a forum to the racist and hate filled readers to post their bigotry. It perfectly illustrates where the conservative movement stands today.

    • Joe Gilbertson

      I’ve deleted a few racist things (not yours so far), but I like to keep a light touch. It’s also difficult to let clueless liberals spew propaganda and untruths that hurt America. But then again, if we both agree on everything, then one of us is redundant.

      • Ben

        Joe, I’d say you’re right, but then we’d both be wrong.

        You seem to have the market cornered on spewing propaganda and untruths that hurt America. I’ll let you do your job.

  4. frank stetson

    “I’ve deleted a few racist things (not yours so far), but I like to keep a light touch. It’s also difficult to let clueless liberals spew propaganda and untruths that hurt America. But then again, if we both agree on everything, then one of us is redundant.”

    IMO, you should kill any name-calling and/or ad hominem attacks. Can’t see where they are of any value to the discourse except to spread discord. Stopping at the first person is some weak tea, not a light touch. Of course, you then broad brush liberals as clueless, a first-party attack across 30% of the voters in America.

    If you see untruths, call them out. But generalizing and stereotyping are beneath you, cease and desist.

    Still waiting for your actual proof, not just “check this website” that there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election grand enough to statistically retain Donald J. Trump as our current President, which in his mind, he still is since he has not conceded the contest yet. Nor have you apparently.

    You made the claim, you were offered and you did not walk it back, either stand up and toe the line or walk it back. Show us the evidence.

    Crickets. BUSTED