Miss Sinema Goddamn
Kyrsten Sinema at least waited until after Georgia's Sen. Raphael Warnock won reelection Tuesday before she announced early today that she's leaving the Democratic Party and registering as an independent, so there's that. The first term senator from Arizona announced her decision on Twitter, as well as in interviews with CNN and Politico, and an op-ed in the Arizona Republic.
Considering all the times she's gone against the grain of the party — refusing to reverse any of the Trump tax cuts, showily giving a thumbs down (with a cutesy curtsey) to raising the minimum wage, and refusing to modify the filibuster even to protect voting rights or the right to abortion — it's not really much of a surprise.
Sinema says in the op-ed that she just wants to break free of all the partisanship and be just like other Arizonans, who are apparently really big on disingenuous both-sidesism:
Everyday Americans are increasingly left behind by national parties’ rigid partisanship, which has hardened in recent years. Pressures in both parties pull leaders to the edges, allowing the loudest, most extreme voices to determine their respective parties’ priorities and expecting the rest of us to fall in line.
In catering to the fringes, neither party has demonstrated much tolerance for diversity of thought. Bipartisan compromise is seen as a rarely acceptable last resort, rather than the best way to achieve lasting progress. Payback against the opposition party has replaced thoughtful legislating.
It's a pretty neat rhetorical move if nothing else, insisting that the problem is those crazies at the fringes who get all the attention, while making an allegedly centrist, nonpartisan move that'll focus news coverage on her bold not-extreme action for at least the weekend.
Practically, though, Sinema's switch shouldn't make any difference to the operation of the Senate. She made very clear to Politico that she won't be caucusing with the GOP, and that would leave Democrats with a clear majority anyway, thanks to Warnock:
Sinema said she’s not sweating how any future changes in Senate control affect her work. “Partisan control is a question for the partisans,” she said, “and not really one for me.”
She did say that she'd informed Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of the decision yesterday. The man knows his Senate rules, and this shouldn't be nearly as much of a problem for the Biden administration as a House full of full-on crazy Republicans.
Update: On that note, the White House has issued a perfectly diplomatic and anodyne statement on Sinema's defection, because they are grownups over there.
Senator Sinema has been a key partner on some of the historic legislation President Biden has championed over the last 20 months, from the American Rescue Plan to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, from the Inflation Reduction Act to the CHIPS and Science Act, from the PACT Act to the Gun Safety Act to the Respect for Marriage Act, and more. We understand that her decision to register as an independent in Arizona does not change the new Democratic majority control of the Senate, and we have every reason to expect that we will continue to work successfully with her.
They also wish her success in her future endeavors, at least until the 2024 campaign heats up. Also if you go to the White House website, the little holly-jolly White House logo at the top of the page does a little animated bell-jingle when you move your mouse over it.
Sinema's choice will definitely complicate things in 2024 when she's up for reelection, if she bothers. Before, she was likely to lose a primary challenge from Rep. Ruben Gallego, but now, running as an independent, she may think that'll be to her advantage, since a three-way race would hand the seat to her apparently preferred Republicans.
Keep the comments clean as you can with this fuckwhistle. Remember, we don't wish pain and suffering on people, and only wish that they die lonely and alone. Needless to say, you all know better than to be misogynist jerks, right? RIGHT?
[Politico / Arizona Republic / NPR]
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