Kyrsten Sinema, one of only a few Democratic members of the United States Senate who still seems to think for herself, is no stranger to opposition from her fellow Democrats. Her independent streak has drawn the ire of everyone from President Biden, to her Democrat Senate colleagues, to liberal activists around the country.
Any time Sinema has stepped outside of what is deemed by Democrats to be the acceptable narrative, they’ve quickly attempted to — through shame and intimidation — get her back on the track that’s often set by Biden or Schumer.
There are ample anecdotes to show how intolerant those within Sinema’s party have been toward her. When Sinema voted against a $15 federal minimum wage with an emphatic literal thumbs-down on the Senate floor, leftists and Democrats were swift in their condemnation of Sinema’s vote. Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) tweeted of Sinema’s “no” vote that “no one should ever be this happy to vote against uplifting people out of poverty,” something that a $15 federal minimum wage would not have actually done. When liberal mainstream media globbed on to the story and tried to help in the efforts to demonize Sinema, her office responded to a Huffington Post inquiry with a statement that gave the radical left some of their own medicine: “Commentary about a female senator’s body language, clothing or physical demeanor does not belong in a serious media outlet.”
When one of several unsuccessful attempts to get President Biden’s woke and gluttonously expensive Build Back Better budget passed by Congress found Sinema skeptical of the bill’s provisions, leftist Democrats mobilized against her. And more than just showing up to protest Sinema, they went so far as to chase her into a bathroom while recording the confrontation on their cell phones.
Most-recently, Sinema’s opposition to nuking the legislative filibuster to allow Schumer to force Biden and Democrats’ federal takeover of elections through Congress drew some of the most unhinged and hyperbolic opposition from within her own party. For one, there was President Biden’s unhinged rant in Atlanta, Georgia, about the bill. One in which he accused those who didn’t support his bill — or radical measures to force it through the Senate — of being on the side of racists including the President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis.
When Biden’s angry attempt at shaming Sinema into joining Democrats in their norm-shattering plan to nuke the Senate’s legislative filibuster didn’t work and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and his leadership team were unsuccessful in getting her to toe the party line, the Arizona Democratic Party censured Sinema. And who could forget Robert Reich, the former cabinet secretary and current UC Berkeley professor, who tweeted that Sinema’s Democrat colleagues should give her the “backs of their hands.”
In addition to these more-notable moments in Democrats' opposition to one of their own, there’s been a long-running undercurrent of hit pieces from liberal media that malign Sinema as being a phony Democrat bought-off by nefarious forces. But those lazy attempts ignore the facts. Such as the fact that Sinema’s vote on nuking the filibuster followed a well-reasoned explanation delivered on the Senate floor in which she said she supported Democrats’ election power-grab, but opposed nuking the legislative filibuster to do so. Her speech demonstrated a better understanding of the role of the U.S. Senate than has been seen recently from Schumer, Biden, or nearly any other Democrat Senator.
But the logic and principle-based stance doesn’t matter, because she stepped out of line. All this from the party that claims to be committed to diversity.
These attacks on Sinema, apart from being nonsensical and transparently aimed at intimidating their party’s members into quiet compliance with what Joe Biden and congressional leadership desire on a given day, are strategically inexplicable. The United States Senate is currently a 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats are able to claim a majority because Vice President Kamala Harris can break ties and deliver Democrats wins when only a simple majority is needed. The loss of support from any one Democrat in the Senate throws Schumer, Harris, and Biden’s agenda into question.
Just look at the Senate’s reaction to news this week that Democrat New Mexico Senator Ben Ray Luján will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks for recovery after a stroke. POLITICO said the news sent Senate Democrats “reeling.” CNN fretted about how the situation shows the “fragility” of the Senate’s 50-50 split.
Obviously Senator Luján’s absence was unplanned, but what if there were another Senator who could plan to withhold support for future votes to deny Democrats’ legislation passage. Perhaps a certain Senator from Arizona who has been beaten up by her own party, her own colleagues, and her president.
What reason does Senator Sinema have to help Democrats or President Biden? With a looming Supreme Court confirmation to fill Justice Breyer’s seat, Democrats can’t afford any dissent from their own party. Schumer still wants to try yet again to pass Build Back Better (although fellow independent-minded Democrat Joe Manchin declared it “dead” this week) which won’t get anywhere if the Democrat caucus frays any more.
It’s time for Senator Sinema to flip the script and remind Democrats what they’ve done to — and said about — her, by putting their desires to the test. Censured and unwanted by the Democrats? Well then they certainly wouldn’t want her to sully the ideological purity of the Democrat caucus by supporting Biden’s eventual Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Breyer.
A Democrat former cabinet member thinks she should be slapped by fellow Democrats on the Senate floor? She can do one better by giving Democrats her thumbs-down whenever their massive tax-and-spend bills come to the floor for a vote. Chased into the bathroom by radical leftist activists? She should send them scrambling for safe spaces by refusing to go along with Schumer's radical attempts to change the foundation of the U.S. Senate.
2022 could be, and ought to be, the year of Sinema’s revenge.