I'm not saying it won't happen, but it would be pretty weird for Sinema to switch parties at this point. She's extremely pro-Choice and she never shuts up about being bisexual. One of her colleagues described his first encounter with her like this: "Hi, I’m Kyrsten Sinema, the Congressman from Bisexual. Did I mention that I’m bisexual? Hey, if you’re hungry later on, maybe we can grab a bisexual together." There are plenty of LGBTQ Republicans in Congress, but every single one of them-- even Lindsey Graham!!!-- is deep in the closet and unwilling to ever talk about it. Sinema, on the other hand, never shuts up about it.
Today Sinema was officially censured by the Arizona Democratic Party's executive board. CNN, which has adamantly and consistently refused to ever refer to her severe mental illness and will only analyze her in a political context that doesn't apply to her, reported that "The symbolic gesture Saturday from Arizona Democrats adds to the mounting pressure Sinema is facing from those in her state who helped her flip a Senate seat in 2018. Sinema-- who started her political career as a progressive-- has been a target on the left during Biden's administration for her stances." She didn't start her political career as a progressive; she started her political career using a left-wing platform to find a following. Her only ideology is-- and has always been-- Sinemaism.
"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."
In a statement Saturday, Sinema's office defended her record.
"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.
...Democrats have grown increasingly frustrated with Sinema and Manchin in recent months as they continue to vote against the wishes of Democratic leaders while the party has a slim majority in the House and Senat -- which they could possibly lose in the upcoming 2022 midterms.
CNN reported this week that Arizona Democrat Rep. Ruben Gallego has been getting calls from others in the party, including Sinema's Senate colleagues, urging him to run against her. Gallego told CNN Sinema could be vulnerable in a primary.
Yesterday, Robert Robb, a conservative-leaning columnist for the Arizona Republic, wrote that "the savaging of Sinema by progressives for sticking with her convictions and not carving out an exception to the virtual filibuster for the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act is one of the most shameful things I’ve seen in politics. But it conveys a message Sinema should heed. According to progressives, Sinema is facilitating a return to segregationist voting rules, or Jim Crow 2.0 as President Joe Biden regularly denominates it. This is demagogic nonsense." He contends that the voting rights acts that he opposes but that even Sinema claims to support, are "not really about protecting voting rights. Instead, it’s an attempt to use the camouflage of over-the-top rhetoric about voter suppression to cover the real purpose: use the power of the federal government to change the election rules in every state, in ways that progressives think gives them the advantage."
The reaction of progressives has been to write Sinema out of the Democratic Party. They are threatening her with a primary challenge. Donors are vowing not to contribute in the future and demanding a refund on past contributions.
Sinema should accept the message, officially become an independent and declare her intent to run for re-election as an independent. The threat of a primary, which will make her next three years miserable, evaporates. She undoubtedly would continue to caucus with the Democrats, but more clearly on her terms rather than theirs.
Sinema would have a chance to win re-election as an independent, if she was running against a Bernie Sanders Democrat and a Donald Trump Republican. Such a victory would do much to advance the centrist, nonpartisan convictions for which progressives are seeking to punish her.
Except Rep. Ruben Gallego, unless Schumer intervenes again, the likely Democratic Senate nominee for 2024 is neither a Berniecrat nor a Trumpist. He's a veteran first and foremost and leans progressive. His ProgressivePunch lifetime score-- in a deep blue district (D+24, the most Democratic in the state by far, where Trump didn't event get a quarter of the voters)-- makes him the 67th most progressive Democrat in the House with a an overall grade that swings between a low A and a B. He's certainly not a member of The Squad. He'd make a better senator than Sinema, but probably more in the vein of Martin Heinrich (D-NM) or Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) than anything like Bernie.
Gallego’s been grumbling all week about Sinema’s disloyalty, telling CNN that “more than one” Senate Democrat has approached him about challenging her in a primary.
On Thursday, he absolutely unloaded on his Democratic colleague.
“Nobody in the state has seen hide nor hair of her for the last three years … ,” he told CNN’s Manu Raju. “She hasn’t had one town hall; everything she does is scripted. She says she refuses to negotiate in public, but we want to know who is she negotiating for? Is it for Arizonans? Or is it for the pharmaceutical companies or whatever other interests that she is more likely to have meetings with than it is with the actual constituents?”
(Sinema’s spokesman told CNN she’s met with various leaders and held tele-town halls.)
Gallego could beat Sinema in a primary. Probably, at this point, Krusty the Clown could beat Sinema in Democratic primary. Gallego has a great story and he's a rising star on the left.
The question is, could he win the general election?
Two years ago, no way.
But two years from now?
That’s the calculation Democrats need to make.
If Republicans regain their sanity in the next two years and put up a candidate with broad appeal, Gallego would have a hard time pulling out a win.
Democrats would have no choice but to stick with Sinema or risk losing the seat altogether.
If, however, Republicans continue their bizarre obsession with Donald Trump and nominate, as Arizona Mirror’s Jim Small put it, “a Big Lie-spouting, pandemic-downplaying, misinformation-peddling Republican”?
If state GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward is the nominee, hoping the third time’s the charm, or someone like her?
Gallego’s fortunes would dramatically improve.
And since, at this point, there appear to be precious few Republicans outside of Team MAGA who could win a Republican primary ...
Well, you can see why Sinema might be feeling a headache coming on.