In the midst of making a very legitimate point, and after having his best Democratic week in recent memory, Joe Manchin wouldn’t answer an easy question as to whether he would support Joe Biden if nominated for 2024. This is peak Manchin, red meat for red people. Moreover, his obvious motivation in doing so also makes him perhaps the biggest hypocrite regarding his legitimate point. Yes, he says stuff to ensure that he is still electable in red West Virginia. But this is disturbing upon further analysis.

First, to one of the actual questions. The highly respected Jonathan Karl asked Manchin:

“You seem to suggest this week that you might not support Joe Biden if he’s the Democratic nominee for 2024. What’s the bottom line? If Biden is nominated by your party, will you support him? Will you vote for a Republican?

Manchin’s answer contains a legitimate point, one that is completely at odds with his motivations, especially given the fact that Manchin will face voters in 2024:

“Everybody is worried about elections. That’s the problem. It’s the 2022 election, the 2024 election. I’m not getting involved. I’m not getting involved in that, Jon.

“Whoever is my president, that’s my president,” he added. “And Joe Biden is my president right now.”

It gets worse. Manchin wandered over to Meet the Press this morning, too, where Chuck Todd asked if Manchin wanted Democrats to retain control of the Senate and House:

“Whatever the voters choose. I’ve always taken the approach, whomever you send me, that’s your representative and I respect them. … I don’t play the politics that way.”

Manchin has a very legitimate point in that this country has become so polarized that everyone in Washington is always consumed by the next election, even Senators like Manchin, who isn’t even up for election this term. In that sense, the focus on elections is a problem. It ensures nothing gets done and makes the atmosphere more partisan.

On the other hand,  Manchin’s answer simply screams that it is Manchin, in his very answers, who is the one consumed with his own 2024 race, such that he’s willing to hide from the “Democratic” label. There is literally no other explanation for refusing to endorse “his” candidate in 2024. (It was asked conditionally, so the question doesn’t even assume Biden will be the nominee, making it that much worse.)

The second answer hints at Manchin’s own craven power grab. The 2022 senate dynamic looks as though it’s highly likely to be very close, a 50-50 split or one seat on either side. It doesn’t seem beyond Manchin, going into his last two years prior to an election, to switch parties as a means to retain his “ultimate power” as the one vote Republicans would need to be the majority, all while puffing up his oh so “independent self” in what he will sell as the epitome of representing what the voters want and his personal political beliefs. In reality, he’d simply retain his lust for power while at the same time easing his political life going into 2024.

Seen from that perspective, it is Manchin himself who is the ultimate hypocrite. He is clearly the one focused on 2024, to the point he’s willing to give “his president” a nice kick in the ass while President Biden is down. Given the Republican hard push toward a more fascist state (nakedly passing election laws so clearly in their favor, it drains even more democracy from the country), with elections that do not favor the actual will of the voters in many states, he is simply that much more hypocritical. The 2024 election may be the definitive election for two to three generations. Perhaps Manchin wants to set himself up to be on the “right side” of that transition.

 



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