Together with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has long been a thorn in the collective side of the Democrat Party, and according to Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, it appears that she is pushing forward with an independent agenda, even if she does not formally depart the liberal flock.
It appears, according to Marshall, that despite distancing herself from many of the initiatives and personalities of today’s Democrats, Sinema is not doing so simply as a means to exit the political stage or to secure a lucrative job as a D.C. lobbyist.
Marshall proceeds to take readers through an interesting look at Sinema’s political evolution, as seen through the eyes of an observer from Arizona, who offers additional support for the notion that the lawmaker envisions herself as something of a John McCain-like figure who can forge her own path through the political landscape.
Marshall’s source notes that he is privy to political mailings sent by organizations affiliated and aligned with Sinema largely because upon moving to Arizona, he registered as a “No Party” voter, and therefore, he is precisely the sort of citizen she wishes to reach.
He notes that Sinema’s earliest political activities were on behalf of the Green Party and as a volunteer for the Ralph Nader campaign and marked by a strong aversion to moderates like Joe Lieberman, though a rough election cycle in which she was branded everything from a “hippie” to a “pagan” led her to begin the process of reinvention.
Now priding herself on what she sees as her “independent, bi-partisan” image,” the source explains, Sinema believes that her approach is a winning one, and that she can prevail even if subjected to a primary contest and do so without massive support from the Democrat Party.
Indeed, Sinema’s unwavering stance in opposing efforts to end the Senate filibuster rules as well as her resistance to signing onto a massive infrastructure bill that is not bipartisan in nature are indicative of the faith she seems to have in her ability to foster and leverage an identity as an independent, even if she does not formally designate herself as one.
Playing the spoiler role for all its worth, Politico reported that just last week, Sinema delivered an ultimatum to President Joe Biden last week in which she said that if the House does not proceed with a planned Sept. 27 vote on the bipartisan infrastructure plan – or if such a vote goes down to defeat – she will decline to support Democrats efforts to pass spending legislation through the reconciliation process.
Whether Sinema’s political awakening is born of principle or is simply a more cynical means to ensure electoral longevity in her home state, it is clear that she is serving as an invaluable check on the authoritarian instincts of Biden as well as his willing enablers in Congress, and for that, we can all be grateful.