Manchin seeking to “mobilize the middle” rather than run for reelection

Link to video announcement. Is he referring to possible No Label’s presidential ticket, accentuating the concern of a potential spoiler effect? Or is he referring to a broader effort to create some sort of centrist third-party movement, of the type that Mitt Romney said he’s talked to Manchin about (according to the new biography of Romney)? Whichever it is, the conditions of polarization (and fragmentation) between (and within) the two major parties has reached a point that I don’t think has existed for many decades. What will be the upshot of this dynamic is anyone’s guess.

As readers of this blog know well, the potential role for an effort to sustain a centrist third-party movement depends greatly on what particular rules govern the operation of an electoral system. Without a move to ranked-choice voting, or fusion voting, or some other type of electoral reform, it seems unlikely for a third-party movement to have a lasting effect except perhaps to contribute to some sort of realignment involving the two major parties (either the same two, or perhaps the replacement of one or both, as when the Republicans replaced the Whigs–consider also the effect of the Progressive Party on the changing natural of electoral competition between Democrats and Republicans during the Progressive Era).

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