Issues & Insights
Ava Lowery – licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

An Open Letter To Sen. Joe Manchin: It’s Time To Change Parties

I&I Editorial

Last week’s Senate runoff elections in Georgia gave the Democrats full control of the federal governing apparatus. America is now a one-party state, and the Californication of the country will soon begin. But there’s one man who can slow it down if not stop it, at least for a while: Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.

The West Virginian could erase the Democrats’ de facto Senate majority (the Democratic vice president is the tie-breaker in the 50-50 chamber) simply by changing parties. This is no radical suggestion. Manchin is the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, if not all of Washington, and the possibility of him flipping parties has come up before. But he remains a Democrat, and as recently as last week said he had no intention to switch.

However, we would like to make a formal pitch, inviting him to follow an honorable path taken by others. Here is our open letter to the senator.

The Honorable Sen. Joe Manchin:

Though you have publicly announced that you will not be changing your party affiliation from Democrat to Republican, we would like for you to reconsider your decision. Please allow us to make our case.

First, your voting record. According to FiveThirtyEight, you have voted in line with President Donald Trump’s position 51.2% of the time throughout your Senate career. Congressional Quarterly reported a few years ago that you voted for Trump’s position 71% of the time, more than any other Democrat. Meanwhile, you voted your party’s line only 64% of the time, the lowest portion among Senate Democrats.

And please don’t forget, 68% of West Virginia voters chose Trump in 2016, 69% in 2020. This has happened even though party registrations in your state are almost dead even. Clearly many Democrats are crossing the line to vote for the GOP in West Virginia.

Recall, as well, that it’s your current party that has gone to war against coal, a valuable commodity whose mining supports tens of thousands of West Virginians. As your Wikipedia page notes, you support “a comprehensive, all-of-the-above energy approach that uses coal.”

We also mention that you were the first Democrat to announce you would vote for Trump Supreme Court nominees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, and have publicly stated you oppose packing the court, a dream of the Democratic Party that could one day become a plank in its platform.

You also oppose another objective of the Democratic Party, which is to “pack” the Senate by granting statehood to Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Furthermore, you are more Republican than Democrat in your strong position on the filibuster.

If you decide to switch parties, you would not be the first Democrat to trade his affiliation after the November elections. Nor the first from West Virginia. As you are no doubt well aware, state Delegate Jason Barrett, a Democrat since 2012, announced last month that he was shifting his party registration.

“I have always been a moderate in the Democratic Party and I fully expect to be a moderate in the Republican Party,” Barrett told the media.

Earlier this month Vernon Jones, a state representative from Georgia, walked away from the Democratic Party, saying “I’m ready to go home” to the GOP.

Please, Senator, do not let this country fall to the hard-left movement and authoritarian urges that have taken over your current party. Unite with the other party to thwart Democrats’ plans to become the permanent ruling class in a country that was never intended to have one.

Some have said you won’t leave the Democratic Party because you’d lose political clout if you did. But we don’t see you as that sort of senator. You have put your constituents and principle ahead of partisan politics. Yet we understand how Washington works, and should you join the Republican Party, you would instantly restore its Senate majority, and be an influential member in the GOP leading an agenda rather than acting as roadblock to the Democratic Party.

We close by reminding you that Ronald Reagan so famously said “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me,” and that you once made a very Reaganesque statement yourself when you told voters you would “get the federal government off of our backs and out of our pockets.”


The editors of Issues & Insights

Of course the senator could remain a Democrat and simply vote with the Republicans on the many pieces of legislation in which he’d be in agreement with them, as he has done much of his career. But then where will he be in 2023? Back in the minority again, after voters, as they traditionally have done in midterm elections, punish the White House by voting out of Congress a substantial number of members from the president’s party.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

We Could Use Your Help

Issues & Insights was founded by seasoned journalists of the IBD Editorials page. Our mission is to provide timely, fact-based reporting and deeply informed analysis on the news of the day -- without fear or favor.

We’re doing this on a voluntary basis because we believe in a free press, and because we aren't afraid to tell the truth, even if it means being targeted by the left. Revenue from ads on the site help, but your support will truly make a difference in keeping our mission going. If you like what you see, feel free to visit our Donations Page by clicking here. And be sure to tell your friends!

You can also subscribe to I&I: It's free!

Just enter your email address below to get started.


I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • Not to worry, Manchin will do as he is told, besides there are Romney, Collins and Murkowski waiting in the wings.
    One thing Democrats should think about is what happens when there is nothing left to lose?

    • Yeah, Manchin promised to be a conservative democrat, but he does that in name only. He still votes almost exclusively with Schumer. Just another do-as-you’re-told democrat.

  • I’m surprised you wrote this article based on personal political opinions and didn’t consider the local political spectrum. As a fellow West Virginian, I can state that Senator Manchin has betrayed the values we hold dear. West Virginia supported President Trump in both 2016 and 2020. We rejected the sham impeachment, defund the police debacle, embraced legal immigration values along with increased boarder walls, and are largely pro-life. As an incumbent Democrat, Manchin is nearly impossible to beat in West Virginia. Should he decide to switch to the Republican party, he will loose most of his liberal/moderate Democratic base. Republicans will not flock to his support either due to his current voting record, which has slowly grown out of step with most of his constituents. As a lifelong registered West Virginia Democrat, I welcome him changing to the Republican party. That’s the best strategy we have for getting him out of office and selecting a conservative. But since Manchin is a political opportunist, and the next 4 years will be run by Democrats, the chance of him changing parties is negligible.

    • A serious question for you, not trying to be snarky. Why are you a Democrat?

  • I & I is apparently under the delusion that ‘free and fair’ elections remain in the Soviet States of America. You’re living in a fantasyworld. This is a permanent one-party rule now and will NEVER be relinquished until driven into eternity. Wake up; stop dreaming.

  • This article assume we have an honest election in 2022. I think the odds of that are ZERO. Democrats have seized power with Treasonous FRAUD. The Constitution and Rule of Law are dead. We’ve already seen massive political repression against Free Speech start on a scale never before seen in America. I would like to think that Senator Manchin would realize that keep the Democrats from having total power in DC might just give us a chance, but I think he realizes we are no longer a free country, and that if he became a Republican and stood in the way of the tyrants that how rule us he would face severe consequences. It takes someone with the ability to stand up to a Hitler of Stalin to do that, and its a dangerous place to be. I doubt that Senator Manchin has what it take. I expect that he’ll stay a Democrat and fold on almost everything the tyrants want. That sadly is what History tells us to expect in these situation. Great Men willing to stand in the way of tyranny are few and far between.

  • Not going to happen. Manchin talks moderate, but he votes lockstep with the far left. He’s a hypocrite and a liar.

  • Your editorial assumes that a moderate must necessarily be a Republican. This is at a time when many moderate Republicans have been alienated by the unlawful acts of a radical Republican president. You also assume the Biden will take a hard turn to the left after so many decades as a moderate Democrat. Both assumptions are suspect. If any of these individuals change parties, they would be more likely to be become Independents, especially if Trump continues to retain power in the GOP. In the upcoming Congress, Manchin has much more power as a blue dog Democrat than as a moderate Republican. Most Biden initiatives will seek to be bipartisan and incrementally to the left, though they may appear radical to anyone who supports Trump.

  • Weak arguments. The only part that made sense is that Manchin can stay as a Democrat and vote with Republicans.
    However, what happens if the GOP takes over in 2023? Manchin can always switch then. The GOP will always welcome him.
    Californication? Get real. Not going to happen when there are some Dems like Manchin.
    But here is one good argument against joining the GOP — Trump Republicans are very unforgiving. Manchin has a strong independent streak. The first time Manchin as a Republican takes an unpopular stance against Trump and his cult will be the beginning of them treating him like they did with John McCain. Or perhaps they will want to hang him like some do with Pence.

  • I’d rather have Sen Manchin as a conservative Democrat than reward Cocaine Mitch with a majority. After riding DJT’s coattails to victory after victory, Mitch & his cabal abandoned the President when he most needed their support. The ‘will of the people’ is for Democrats to have both House & Senate, along with the Executive, enjoy…

  • Granting statehood to Puerto Rico would not be packing the Senate because Puerto Rico should be represented in Congress. Being against statehood in Puerto Rico is anti-democratic.

  • Joe Manchin has built his career by straddling fences. He has no interest in being consigned to only one party when he can inveigle them both.

  • After what Trump and Trumpism have done to the Republican Party, it’s just not an appealing or attractive place for Manchin to jump to.

  • Ha. The Democrats would accuse him of treason and try to have him arrested. Oh, the meltdown would be epic.

  • Well-written plea. I hope the Senator sees it and takes your message to heart. He could help stop devastating changes from happening to our beloved country.

  • Fat chance now that he’s calling for Hawley and Cruz’s head. Manchin will never win in WV again.

  • In the case of Manchin, he would be switching to the party his state supports. I doubt West Virginia would hold a party switch against him. Jiim Jeffords was looking at the end of his career in Vermont when he switched from Republican to Democrat in Vermont,

  • Manchin is up for re-election in 2022. He won’t stand a chance running as a Democrat.

About Issues & Insights

Issues & Insights is run by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

We Could Use Your Help

Help us fight for honesty in journalism and against the tyranny of the left. Issues & Insights is published by the editors of what once was Investor's Business Daily's award-winning opinion pages. If you like what you see, leave a donation by clicking on donate button above. You can also set up regular donations if you like. Ad revenue helps, but your support will truly make a difference. (Please note that we are not set up as a charitable organization, so donations aren't tax deductible.) Thank you!
%d bloggers like this: