Has Joe Manchin Had His Party Conversion Moment?

On a recent visit to Fox News, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) visited with Special Report’s Bret Baier about his intention to stay firm on his position of protecting the filibuster and other historic institutions of the Congress designed to protect the minority and prevent divisiveness.  His efforts in this area has led him to be the subject of much criticism among fellow Democrats.

His state has changed a great deal since he was first elected to office decades ago.  For years West Virginia had been one of the most consistently Democratic in the country. Voting Republican was unheard of.  Today, the entire delegation to Congress is now Republican.  The only exception is Manchin — the state’s only three representatives and the other Senator are now all Republicans.

In the interview on Fox, Manchin was pressed (as he often is) about changing parties.  His telling response starts at 6.15 into the interview.  The Senator’s response is reminiscent of what Ronald Reagan often said in 1980 in his race for the White House when asked why he left the Democratic Party.  “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party,” Reagan said, “the Democratic Party left me.” Although, in the end, Manchin sounds like he isn’t going anywhere any time soon, stating his state doesn’t elect “Joe the Democrat,” but simply Joe.  His assessment of the party’s view of his state indicates that it is a question of when, and not if, he leaves. He describes a Democratic Party that has a hostile view of the Mountain State.

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