McConnell doesn’t expect Manchin to flip parties
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Thursday he has no expectation that Sen. Joe Manchin will switch parties, even as the West Virginia Democrat faces fierce backlash from progressives.
“Well, Sen. Manchin has pointed out over and over again he’s been a Democrat all of his life. I am certainly not anticipating that he’s going to cross the aisle,” McConnell said during a Fox News interview, when asked about the possibility.
“But I do admire his willingness to protect the Senate as an institution,” he added.
Speculation that Manchin, the most conservative member of the Senate Democratic Caucus, could flip parties as his state shifts increasingly to the right has swirled around Washington for years.
Manchin is in frequent touch with Republicans, including GOP members of leadership, who note that they speak with him frequently.
He said in 2019 that McConnell has tried to get him to become a Republican “many times” but added it could never happen because of where he stands on taxes and health care.
Such a flip would be a huge blow to Democrats. With a 50-50 Senate, losing just one seat would be enough to shift control of the chamber to Republican hands.
But Manchin has repeatedly shut down questions about if he would flip parties. He won reelection in 2018 in a state former President Trump easily carried in both 2016 and 2020.
“I’ve never considered it from that standpoint because I know I can change more from where I’m at,” Manchin told Vox earlier this year.