Manchin a Republican? Not so fast, analysts say

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Outnumbered – Monday, December 20

On today’s episode, Guy Benson is ‘Outnumbered’ as the White House, media, and Democrats blast Senator Joe Manchin for going against President Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ agenda.

Any move by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to leave the Democratic Party would likely come at too high a political cost to him personally, according to several political analysts and consultants who spoke to Fox News Digital.

Following his opposition to President Biden’s $1.8 trillion Build Back Better spending package, some Democrats have implored the moderate to leave the party, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters earlier last week that “it would be a great idea” if he were to switch.

“I would venture to guess no,” said author and political consultant Ryan Girdusky regarding whether Manchin would jump. “Joe Manchin still votes … with the Democrats overwhelmingly. He has to walk a very fine line, and I think he’s playing for the long game of how do you survive as a Democrat in a very red state.”

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 19, 2018. (Photo by REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

Girdusky added that surviving politically in West Virginia likely means more to Manchin “than trying to just pass a single bill that overwhelmingly will not benefit his state, given the green climate initiatives inside the bill.”

Political analyst Charlie Cook, who is a contributor to The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter, offered a similar analysis, saying he seriously doubts that Manchin will change parties given how little he has to gain from such a move.

Pointing out how Manchin would have to give up his chairmanship of the Energy Committee if he left the Democratic Party, Cook said it was doubtful that the senator would be able to maintain his seniority.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a key holdout vote on President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda, chairs a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Noting that “party switchers tend to have problems in the next primary,” Cook said that a party switch could also endanger Manchin’s political future if he decides to run for reelection in 2024.

“His chances of surviving a Republican primary would be much lower than winning a Democratic primary,” Cook said. “West Virginia Democrats are not that liberal.”

A consultant involved in West Virginia state politics likewise told Fox News he “can’t foresee a world in which Manchin switches parties.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) speaks to reporters outside of his office on Capitol Hill on Oct. 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.
(Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

“The thing you have to understand about Manchin is that, as the last surviving statewide elected Democrat, he is not just Joe Manchin. He has an entire infrastructure of people that depend on him.”

The source pointed out how there are large Democratic lobbying firms in West Virginia that depend upon Manchin remaining in power to keep their commercial contracts.

“Ten years ago, when the Republican Party still had really weak infrastructure, he could have switched parties and brought all those people with him. But now, if he switches, it’s over for all those folks, and those are all the people who sustained him in the Democratic Party through their career.”


Manchin’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

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