Just as Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced that he would not be seeking re-election to the upper chamber in 2024, Jill Stein declared that she would – once again – be running for president under the Green Party Banner. With Manchin’s prospects at the head of the No Labels Party looking more and more certain, it seems the 2024 election field is blooming with high-profile choices like never before.
On November 9, Manchin released a video to X explaining that he would not be “running for re-election to the United States Senate. But what I will be doing is traveling the country and speaking out to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle and bring Americans together.” This fact-finding mission is undoubtedly to see if he can drum up enough support as a No Labels candidate – billed as the middle way between left and right.
Manchin Faces Facts
Should he have chosen to contest his Senate seat once more, the West Virginia Democrat would have found stiff competition in a state that went for Donald Trump by almost a 40% margin in 2020 and had to deal with a real contender in the form of popular GOP Governor Jim Justice. One way or the other, it was lights-out. However, it is not necessarily the case that Joe Manchin is running scared.
No Labels is a serious organization that has quite literally put its money where its (as yet unannounced) mouthpiece is. As Liberty Nation Senior Political Analyst Tim Donner wrote in September:
“No Labels has now succeeded in gaining ballot access in 20% of the country – that’s ten states, including the battlegrounds of Arizona, Nevada, and North Carolina. They have done so despite the active opposition of Democrats, led by former House Majority Leader-turned-lobbyist Dick Gephardt, initiating legal action to keep No Labels off the ballot in multiple states.”
It has the money, it has the ground game in terms of getting on the ballot, and, most importantly, it has very good reason to believe that neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump are beloved by a majority of American voters.
And Jill Returns
In 2016, Dr. Jill Stein bore the wrath of Democrats, who blamed her for taking a slice of the vote from Hillary Clinton in a handful of battleground states, thus denying Barack Obama’s “heir apparent” her “rightful” place. Now she’s back to – as she puts it – “offer people a choice outside the failed two-party system, so we can put a pro-worker, anti-war, climate emergency agenda front and center in this election and on the ballot in November.”
It’s a very progressive platform that could pull in voters disaffected with Joe Biden. She previewed her campaign kick-of with a message on X, saying:
“Belief in our political system is at historic lows and the number of Americans who feel that neither establishment party represents them is at a record high. We need real choices on the ballot, because without freedom of choice in elections, there is no democracy. It’s time to revive the promise of democracy.”
And choices on the ballot are what the American people will get.
The Smorgasbord Election
The presidential field is beginning to look more like the 2016 GOP primary or the 2020 Democrat primary, with everyone taking their shot at the brass ring.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is running as an independent candidate somewhere in the middle lane. Professor Cornel West is also going independent (despite a brief flirtation with the Green Party) and is running on the far left progressive lane. Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur has announced his candidacy, despite not being born in America. Marianne Williamson, who ran a long-shot campaign as a Democrat in 2020, is also on the ballot. And then there is Representative Dean Phillips, a lawmaker from Minnesota who is gunning for the Democrat nomination against his own party leader.
This election cycle looks to be the most frenetic and engaging in a long while. Strategists and campaign teams are likely pulling their few remaining hairs trying to fathom the electoral math. Ultimately, the American people will have more than just the bread and circuses they get every four years; they will have choices and races to cheer for – perhaps making politics the nation’s preferred pastime once more.