Arizona Democrats Give Kyrsten Sinema A Big Thumbs Down
Last week, with a trembling voice, Arizona Senator and sentient ukulele cover of "Gin and Juice" Kyrsten Sinema did her darned best to make a compelling case for why the country so desperately needs the filibuster that is currently preventing the Democratic Party from passing literally any legislation that Republicans don't want, despite having earned a majority in the Senate. She did not succeed, largely because her whole point — that the filibuster prevents things from getting too radical one way or another, and could hypothetically help Democrats when they are the minority — was undermined by the fact that being unable to pass voting rights legislation now means that there will no longer be any back and forth in terms of which party is the minority and which is the majority. And then Republicans can do whatever the hell they want, including getting rid of the filibuster.
No one is buying her act, including the Arizona Democratic Party, which announced on Saturday morning that they are formally censuring Sinema for, well screwing the entire country.
"While we take no pleasure in this announcement, the ADP Executive Board has decided to formally censure Senator Sinema as a result of her failure to do whatever it takes to ensure the health of our democracy," Arizona Democratic Party Chair Raquel Terán said in a statement, following a meeting of the executive board Saturday morning.
"I want to be clear, the Arizona Democratic Party is a diverse coalition with plenty of room for policy disagreements, however on the matter of the filibuster and the urgency to protect voting rights, we have been crystal clear," Terán said. "In the choice between an archaic legislative norm and protecting Arizonans' right to vote, we choose the latter, and we always will."
That's fair! And pretty smart, given that Arizona is one of the 19 states where Republicans have enacted voter suppression laws designed to disproportionately impact the ability of minorities and the poor to vote and have their votes counted. The inability to pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act will directly impact the ability of Democrats to win elections in the state.
Sinema's office responded to the censure by essentially saying that Sinema isn't a Democrat to begin with anyway:
"During three terms in the U.S. House, and now in the Senate, Kyrsten has always promised Arizonans she would be an independent voice for the state -- not for either political party. She's delivered for Arizonans and has always been honest about where she stands," Sinema spokesperson Hannah Hurley said.
Except the reason she was elected to the Senate in the first place was due to the efforts of Arizona Democrats, who were understandably under the impression that since she was running as a Democrat, she would bear some resemblance to one. One would also imagine that if Arizonans wanted a Republican to represent them, they would have voted for Martha McSally instead of her.
Sinema, unbelievably, still claims that she supports the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and that she supports the Women's Health Protection Act — and yet, she can't manage to say exactly how it is that these things would get passed, doing things her way. Does she only like them in the hypothetical?
On Wednesday, Sinema explained, again, that she simply cannot support "actions that would deepen our divisions and risk repeated radical reversals in federal policy, cementing uncertainty and further eroding confidence in our government." It's not clear what it is she thinks would be more radical than abortion becoming illegal or people of color being disenfranchised en masse. What would that even be? And what erodes "confidence in government" more than people feeling like their votes don't count and that they have no hope of ever changing anything through the electoral system?
Because that's what's going to happen.
Arizona Democrats are not the only ones telling Sinema to take a hike. This week, both Emily's List and NARAL, two very mainstream Democratic organizations, rescinded their support for her as well. Various groups in Arizona are looking for a Democrat to primary her, with many looking at Rep. Ruben Gallego as a potential option.
Anyway, you're all gonna wanna kill me for this, but this is now your OPEN THREAD. See you tomorrow!
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse