Is Manchin Ready to Take the Leap? Watch

n a move that could shake up the political landscape, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin said Thursday that he is “thinking seriously” about leaving the Democratic Party and declaring himself an independent.

Manchin, who is one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate, has been at odds with his party on a number of issues in recent months, including the Build Back Better Act and voting rights legislation. He has also been critical of the Democratic Party’s embrace of progressive policies.

“I would think very seriously about that. I’ve been thinking about that for quite some time. I haven’t made any decisions whatsoever on any of my political direction,” Manchin said when pressed to clarify his position.

“I want to make sure my voice is truly an independent voice, when I’m speaking, I’m speaking about the good the Republicans do and the good the Democrats continue to do,” he added.

“If we can create a movement … that people understand that we could have a voice,” Manchin said. “We could make a big, big splash and maybe bring the traditional parties, the Democratic and Republican Party — what they used to be, back to what they should be today, but they’re gone off the Richter Scale, both sides.”

Manchin’s decision to consider leaving the Democratic Party is a sign of the growing rift within the party between moderates and progressives. The moderates, like Manchin, are concerned about the party’s embrace of progressive policies, which they believe are too far to the left for the American people. The progressives, on the other hand, believe that the party needs to move further to the left in order to win back the support of young voters and minorities.

It remains to be seen whether Manchin will ultimately leave the Democratic Party. However, his announcement that he is considering doing so is a significant development that could have a major impact on the political landscape in the years to come.