Arnold Schwarzenegger encourages Joe Manchin to run for president

October 30, 2023

Hollywood actor and anti-Trump Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger encouraged Democratic senator Joe Manchin (WV) to run for president, calling him a "great force." 

Schwarzenegger, who served as governor of California, praised Manchin as a moderate who understands energy policy.

"He comes from an energy state, but he's a Democrat. So he knows the challenges. … I think [he’s] really a great force," he said on NBC's Meet the Press.

2024 shakeup?

Schwarzenegger lamented that President Trump and Joe Biden are "taking the air out of everything," leaving voters with few alternative choices.

Manchin "stands out," but "there's many others we just have to give in general — without endorsing anybody — I think we have to give people a chance to emerge," Schwarzenegger said.

"The political system is set up in such a way right now that Trump is kind of like taking the air out of everything, you know, and Biden is doing it on the other side," he said.

While polls show that voters are not enthusiastic about a Trump-Biden rematch, the scenario appears likely.

Trump is dominating the Republican presidential primary, and the Democratic party is backing its incumbent despite doubts about Biden's age and his low approval ratings.

Manchin's next move

Manchin has often presented himself as an independently-minded moderate and a critic of the extreme partisanship that has gripped the country. Known for flexing his power in the divided Senate, he likes to keep his colleagues - and the country - guessing about his next moves.

He was key to passing Biden's major climate bill, the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, but Manchin has since distanced himself from Biden ahead of a potentially tough re-election battle in West Virginia, a coal state and one of the most pro-Trump states in the entire country.

Manchin, among the most disliked senators in the country, hasn't confirmed whether he will seek another term. He has hinted at leaving the Democratic party or running for president as an independent, potentially on the No Labels ticket.

He did say he was considering running for Senate again but believes he can only win by running as an independent.

Biden is not facing any serious primary challenges, but there are two third-party candidates seen as possible spoilers in the race, university professor Cornel West and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who recently left the Democrats.

Will Manchin add to their number?

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