Time To Launch The 'Beat Kyrsten Sinema' Campaign
Kyrsten Sinema Instagram

Kyrsten Sinema’s inevitable departure from the Democratic Party reminds me of that classic line from Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. When asked how he went broke, Mike Campbell replies, "Gradually then suddenly."

Sinema actively alienated members of her former party and made zero effort to help Democrats in her state defeat actual fascists. A definite area of concern was her pre-midterm canoodle with Mitch McConnell. Well, now she’s finally gone and maybe Senate Democrats can breathe a sigh of relief. Although, Politico reports that the party is struggling with a response to Sinema’s stab in the back. I'd recommend a simple “ouch!” followed by “hey, fuck you!" but I'm no political expert.


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Outgoing Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair Gary Peters emphasized that he's "outgoing" when asked about Sinema: “At this moment, I’m really happy to say that’s the job of the next DSCC chair.”

Former Chair Jon Tester said Monday that the party will eventually decide how to deal with Sinema, but "(it'll) be a tough decision, probably … the standard is, the DSCC protects the incumbents. I don’t think that’s going to change. But it’s not my call."

Tester compared Sinema to Angus King from Maine, who's an actual independent and not a self-obsessed chaos agent. Democrats traditionally clear the field for King, but he actually caucuses with the party. Sinema won't even attend caucus meetings. She told — not asked, mind you — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that she's keeping her committee assignments, but that's purely opportunistic because Democrats hold the majority even without her sorry ass.

Patty Murray, another former DSSC chair, said, “I will wait to answer that question until [Sinema] decides what she’s going to do." Here's what Sinema's going to do next: Fuck us. That’s the last of the two fucks I’ll give Sinema in this post. Murray added that she thinks Sinema is "a really good legislator.”

While Sinema's snubbed colleagues might still have nice things to say about her, the senator's approval ratings in her own state are in the toilet. She couldn't beat Kari Lake in a head-to-head race, let alone Doug Ducey. Too many Democratic voters won’t show up for her. Despite all her self-serving rhetoric about a broken two-party system and outright lies about Democrats’ role in DC dysfunction, her motivations are transparently self-interested: She knows she can’t win a Democratic primary and probably hopes Democrats will blink and refuse to split the baby in half, even if means putting up with her nonsense for another six years. However, Rep. Ruben Gallego ain't blinking.

According to Politico Playbook, Gallego's signed up with Democratic polling firm GBAO Strategies, which worked with John Fetterman and Raphael Warnock's winning campaigns. He told "Morning Joe," "I’m going to listen to my family over the holidays — I have a big Latino family that’s going to come in over Christmas, it’s going to be a very, very crowded house — but then after that, we’ll be making a decision. And we’ll be making a decision based on what’s best for Arizona and based on what I hear from the actual constituents of Arizona.”

Gallego bluntly states that "there is no possibility of Kyrsten Sinema winning as a third-party candidate" so the DSCC backing her "would not be a very smart investment." I like that Gallego is already framing Sinema as the potential spoiler in a general election race. There's no reason Democrats should defer to this saboteur. The party should back the candidate willing to face Democratic voters in a primary.

Most Democratic senators aren’t going anywhere near the topic. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said “it’s way too early to think about” the 2024 Arizona Senate race. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) said she’s “not going to speculate or tie the hands of the future DSCC chair.” And Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he’s “not getting into Arizona politics.”

But this isn't just Arizona politics. The Senate is a national concern, and it'll take a national effort for the actual Democratic nominee to prevail in a three-way race. Joe Biden and Barack Obama definitely helped save Gov-elect Tina Kotek in Oregon, and "independent" Betsy Johnson wasn't an incumbent. To borrow from the West Wing's Josh Lyman, we'd love to see Biden and Obama with their arms draped around Gallego all across Arizona for the next two years.

Sinema has already effectively launched her re-election campaign, with her charmless offensive in cable news interviews and op-eds. Meanwhile, her Republican buddies are already plotting to snatch the seat. John Cornyn said he's “sure there’ll be a Republican candidate" to exploit her splitting the Democratic vote, and incoming National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Steve Daines said his party will keep a "close eye on Arizona."


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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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