It’s kind of chef’s kiss that Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema would not only leave the Democrat Party and register as an Independent two days after the Georgia Runoff results, but that she’d do it on a Friday, which is categorically a day you dump news that you want to be forgotten (and on occasion, chewed on) over the weekend. Democrats and the Left were already dancing over The 51-seat Democrat Majority in the Senate and how it would all but eliminate the brakes that both Sinema and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin sometimes applied to Biden’s trainwreck of an agenda.
Sinema announced the change of her party affiliation from Democrat to Independent in this Twitter thread:
“In a natural extension of my service since I was first elected to Congress, I have joined the growing numbers of Arizonans who reject party politics by declaring my independence from the broken partisan system in Washington and formally registering as an Arizona Independent.
“Over the past four years, I’ve worked proudly with other Senators in both parties and forged consensus on successful laws helping everyday Arizonans build better lives for themselves and their families.
“Becoming an Independent won’t change my work in the Senate; my service to Arizona remains the same. Read my full Op-ed in the Arizona Republic.”
A bit from that Op-Ed:
There’s a disconnect between what everyday Americans want and deserve from our politics, and what political parties are offering.
I am privileged to represent Arizonans of all backgrounds and beliefs in the U.S. Senate and am honored to travel to every corner of our state, listening to your concerns and ideas.
While Arizonans don’t all agree on the issues, we are united in our values of hard work, common sense and independence.
We make our own decisions, using our own judgment and lived experiences to form our beliefs. We don’t line up to do what we’re told, automatically subscribe to whatever positions the national political parties dictate or view every issue through labels that divide us.
This should come as no surprise to anyone, especially Arizonans. From maintaining the filibuster to her refusal to fall in line with her former party and sign on to the PRO Act, Sinema has reflected a thoughtfulness and an independence that belies the lockstep craziness of the Democrats.
Of course, if the name calling, death threats, and maligning was bad when she was thwarting the agenda as a Democrat, it has only exploded now that she is an Independent.
To be honest, I have developed a great respect for Kyrsten Sinema. While still an avowed progressive, I know there are things we would never agree on politically. However, she really does take her role as a Senator seriously in terms of studying the legislation, and debating its merits. She may well vote with Democrats, but she is also just as likely to vote against them.
When the late John McCain, a supposed Republican did this, he was touted as a maverick and hailed as a hero.
For Sinema, not so much.
Sinema has been targeted by her own party to be primaried because as stated above, she refuses to be a part of nuking the filibuster. Activists even harassed her in the bathroom…. the bathroom, to try to guilt her into voting their way.
It’s gone from pathetic to vitriolic. Which is why I also think part of this party change is about political expediency. Sinema is up for reelection in 2024, and as a savvy politician, she well knows that the Arizona progressives will be gunning to take her out of the running. But Arizona is still moderate to deeply Red, despite the Democrat overtaking of the governorship. With this party switch, Sinema has moved from limited change of a win, to a widening of her base of support.
I also like that Sinema refuses to be owned. She appears to want to make her own mark as a Senator that is based on her understanding of her constitutional duty, and her commitment to the actual people of her state, and not one party or another.
In a long form interview with POLITICO, Sinema said that she will not caucus with Republicans and expressed that she intends to vote the same way she has in the last four years that she has represented Arizona in the Senate.
“Nothing will change about my values or my behavior,” she said.
I believe her, and respect this. With a GOP House Majority, and the Senate now back to being a wild card, it looks to be a crazy two years leading up to 2024.
That’s what keeps my job interesting. Here with the popcorn.