Kyrsten Sinema Under Attack From Arizona Democrats Who Don't Realize They're In Arizona
Things are looking good for Democrats in Arizona. Kyrsten Sinema flipped Jeff Flake's former Senate seat last year, and Republican Martha McSally is on track next year to continue her streak of losing Senate races. Elizabeth Warren is even running neck-and-neck with Donald Trump in some state polls. Arizona Democrats should celebrate -- preferably someplace air-conditioned, but instead they want to censure their brand new senior senator.
Dan O'Neal, a leader in the Progressive Caucus, explained the sudden buyer's remorse.
O'NEAL: The Progressive Caucus is very concerned with Kyrsten Sinema's voting record. We love her, as we love all Democrats, but we want her to vote like a Democrat rather than supporting Trump half the time.
FiveThirtyEight confirms that Sinema votes with Trump 54.5 percent of the time, which is far superior to Flake and Meghan McCain's father. They both humped Trump more than 80 percent of the time, but they were "deeply concerned" about it. So fine, let Mark Kelly be the more liberal of Arizona's two Democratic senators. That would suit us just fine.
Sinema hasn't even been in office a year. Can't we just enjoy the afterglow? Our lady of the fierce outfits has consistently opposed Trump on critical issues. She's voted to provide additional disaster relief money to Puerto Rico, as well as humanitarian aid to the US-Mexico border. She voted to override Trump's veto of a bill blocking the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia. She also was a firm "no" on Ben Sasse's BS "Born Alive" anti-abortion bill. But the wind still cries "DINO." The Progressive Caucus specifically calls out Sinema's vote to confirm William Barr as Attorney General. Barr was confirmed on a nine-vote margin. He was also perceived at the time as a minor improvement over racist troll doll Jeff Sessions and daycare slumlord Matt Whitaker. We'll cut Sinema some slack for believing the conventional wisdom that Barr was an "institutionalist" who wouldn't go on to function as Trump's personal lawyer, releasing his own CliffsNotes of the Mueller Report and acting as the president's personal Roy Cohn. Sinema didn't have a time machine.
Kyrsten Sinema takes oath as senator on copy of constitution www.youtube.com
Sinema was the only Democrat not to support the Save the Internet Act, but that's not because she hates YouTube. She believes there are better ways to regulate the Internet. We might disagree, but that doesn't make her a Trump stooge. She also joined Manchin (naturally) and New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich in voting to confirm fossil fuel bestie David Bernhardt as Secretary of the Interior. That's harder to defend because Bernhardt is somehow worse than Ryan Zinke, who was godawful. Maybe Sinema believes a president gets to pick their Cabinet and as long as the nominees show up wearing pants, she'll advise a little and then consent. We're still ride or die for her because flipping Senate seats is our number one priority. If by some miracle Amy McGrath beat Mitch McConnell, we'd Hammer dance on the turtle's grave and accept that McGrath is going to vote sometimes in ways we don't like. First you get the power. Then you get the Green New Deal.
The Arizona Republican Party censured John McCain in 2014 for his "liberal" record. That only helped his carefully cultivated image as a principled maverick. Moderates still eat that shit up and ask for seconds. We think if Arizona Democrats do the same to Sinema, it'll just benefit her image as an "independent voice." Arizona voters appreciate that.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.