Things are going from bad to worse for the Democratic Party’s general election playbook.

First, civil rights legend Dr. Cornel West announced he’d be running for president. He initially threw his lot in with the People’s Party. But realizing they didn’t have ballot access, he quickly pivoted to the Green Party. They’re expected to win ballot access in 48 states, making West a viable candidate.

So President Joe Biden already has one headache to worry about. In 2000, Green nominee Ralph Nader nabbed almost 3%, handing they key state of Florida to Republican George Bush (although with some serious argument), making Democrat Al Gore lose the election.

So Biden can reliably kiss at least 3% of the Democratic vote goodbye. The policies of the Green Party are essentially a more ultra-liberal, anti elite version of the Democratic Party’s. So they take votes away from people who are Democrats. And West is probably more visible now in the political media world than Nader was back in 2000.

Now enter West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. He’s a Democrat, but he’s not been a loyal foot soldier. Speaking out against a high allotment for social welfare, Manchin was responsible in watering down key provisions in Biden’s massive “Build Back Better” infrastructure bill. He’s always created headaches for Democratic Party leadership.

Now, it looks increasingly clear that Manchin will be jumping into the race for president as a third party candidate. No Labels has tens of millions of dollars in funding, and is aiming to support a third party bid. They’re backed by some key banking executives, so Manchin would certainly have a lot of financial juice behind him should be embark on a run.

When asked if he’d jump into the fray last month, Manchin said he’s “not ruling anything out.” He then bemoaned the two party system and said a centrist choice was needed, based on the likely major party nominees.

Manchin is also staring down likely defeat should he choose instead to run for re-election next year. Popular Governor Jim Justice, who has a 65% approval rating in his state, announced that he’d running against Manchin on the GOP side. In a state where former President Donald Trump got 69% of the vote in 2020, getting voters to re-elect a Democrat would be a heavy lift. So why not throw your hat in the ring?

Now his fellow senators in his party are going public and speaking out against a potential run. When they do this, it’s usually an echo of more fevered behind the scenes movement. The Dems are going public with their opposition to Manchin’s candidacy, and that’s a big deal.

Senator John Hickenlooper, Democrat representing Colorado told Politico, “I have advised him against it. I think it would be a terrible idea. It would help Donald Trump.”

In response, Manchin told Politico, “Everybody’s getting so worked up and scared to death, and we’re a year and a half away. Is there any alternative? Is there anything that we can do to bring both the Democrat and Republican Party back to centrist policy?”

Looks like he’s going to jump in, completely changing the general election playing field. As Biden gets votes pulled from both his left and right, he can reasonably expect to lose a whopping 10% of the vote. And those are just the more conservative projections. Manchin and West would be two of the most visible two party candidates in the past half century.

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