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Joe Manchin Leaves the Democratic Party

The senator will serve the remainder of his term as a independent

Joe Manchin Leaves the Democratic Party

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has left the Democratic Party.

Manchin registered as an independent and has not said if he plans to caucus with the Democratic Party. He joins three other independent senators – Krysten Sinema of Arizona, Angus King of Maine, and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

“From my first day in public service in 1982, I have always focused on doing what’s best for my state and my country, without regard to party or politics,” Manchin said in a statement on May 31. “I have always been proud of my commitment to common sense, bipartisanship and my desire to bring people together. … I have never seen America through a partisan lens.”

Manchin cited a deepening divide between political parties as his motivation to change his party affiliation.

“I have seen both the Democrat and Republican parties leave West Virginia and our country behind for partisan extremism while jeopardizing our democracy,” he said. “Today, our national politics are broken and neither party is willing to compromise to find common ground.”

The 76-year-old, who will retire in January after 15 years in the Senate, vowed to “put country before party” and to “fight for America’s sensible majority.”

Manchin has expressed his frustration with the Democratic Party with increasing regularity in recent years. In January, he warned that the Biden-Harris White House is controlled by “far, far-left liberals.” He also told radio host and billionaire John Catsimatidis that President Joe Biden “has been pulled so far to the left, the extreme left” that he is not "the person we thought was going to bring the country together.”

“Washington wants you and I to be divided, and the rest of America to be divided because it’s a better business model for ’em,” Manchin said during the interview.

In March, Manchin pledged to only vote for judicial nominees that have bipartisan support.

“Give me something bipartisan,” he said while explaining his decision to reporters. “If they can’t get one Republican, I vote for none. I’ve told [Democrats] that. I said, ‘I’m sick and tired of it, I can’t take it anymore.’”

Manchin’s resistance to the Democrat-backed “Build Back Better” plan in 2021 prompted Senator Mike Lee of Utah to publicly call on him to switch to the Republican Party. At the time, Manchin had described himself as a “moderate centrist Democrat.”

Ultimately, Manchin ruled out running for the White House in 2024 as an independent despite months of signaling his serious consideration of a presidential bid. He said that, instead, he would tour the country with his new centrist organization Americans Together.

“I am convinced you can’t fix it from Washington. And I’ve tried for 14 years,” Manchin said, per POLITICO. “This will be the least productive, most destructive Congress that we’ve ever had … people just want to get shit done. I want to get it done too.”

Manchin is currently the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and is a member of the Committee on Appropriations, the Senate Committee on Armed Services, and the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Prior to his time in the U.S. Senate, Manchin served two terms as the governor of West Virginia. 

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