Sen. Joe Manchin teases of 2024 Presidential run, warns party system could be nation’s ‘downfall’

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has benefited from waiting to reveal where he stands as the swing vote in a chamber closely divided between Democrats and Republicans.

He’s taken the same approach when it comes to the next phase of his political career: The moderate Democrat has teased possible retirement, a run for reelection to the Senate or even a presidential campaign in 2024 — possibly as an independent candidate.

During a multi-day trip to West Virginia’s capital this week, the 76-year-old expressed growing frustration with the polarized U.S. two-party system.

“I’m having a hard time — I really am,” he said while touring a Charleston metal stamping plant. “The two-party system, unless it changes, will be the downfall of our country.”

Manchin’s visit included the metal plant, which began being revitalized during his governorship, and an Amtrak station renovated with infrastructure funds he helped secure. He told reporters he was “getting closer” to a 2024 decision, repeating his line that he’ll make an announcement before the end of the year. But he deflected questions about his identity as a Democrat, which he’s held since first running for West Virginia’s House of Delegates in 1982.