Sinema throws a rock into the Senate Democrat party punch bowl
Or well, you know what I mean.
The Democrats' celebration of winning and extending their Senate majority is on the rocks, now that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has announced that she will leave the Democrat party and become an independent. That leaves Democrats with a 50-49 advantage over Republicans, and once again puts Sen. Joe Manchin in the catbird seat regarding legislation that goes too far, in at least some bills. Democrats, of course, will also compete for Sinema's vote, but she will be under less obligation to follow their diktats.
In her announcement, Sinema wrote:
Americans are told that we have only two choices – Democrat or Republican – and that we must subscribe wholesale to policy views the parties hold, views that have been pulled further and further toward the extremes.
Most Arizonans believe this is a false choice, and when I ran for the U.S. House and the Senate, I promised Arizonans something different. I pledged to be independent and work with anyone to achieve lasting results. I committed I would not demonize people I disagreed with, engage in name-calling, or get distracted by political drama.
I promised I would never bend to party pressure, and I would stay focused on solving problems and getting things done for everyday Arizonans.
My approach is rare in Washington and has upset partisans in both parties.
It is also an approach that has delivered lasting results for Arizona.
It has a John McCain-ish tone to it, which she must be calculating will play well with Arizona's voters.
It also would largely make sense that she'd leave, given that Democrats have treated her very badly in the past few months, threatening to primary her, calling her a "traitor" when she opposed monster spendthrift legislation, and allowing radical left-wing illegal immigrant activists to follow her into the ladies' room when she took a break trying to teach a class. Instead of condemning those freaks, Democrats didn't say a thing and only Republicans defended her right to do her business without having to listen to leftists screaming through the stall door.
That would be enough to make anyone want to leave that wretched party -- the party of the toilet screamers.
She hastened to assure her voting base that she would largely keep voting with Democrats anyway, and noted that many Democrats and Republicans had already shifted to independent as she had. It's also noteworthy that she made this announcement after the midterms, meaning, it didn't affect the Arizona outcome.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pretty well laughed the matter off and claimed it wouldn't affect anything within the Democrat power structure post-midterms:
According to Fox News:
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's exit from the Democratic Party will have little impact on the chamber's business next Congress.
Schumer said that despite becoming an Independent, the Arizona lawmaker will keep her committee assignments. That signals Sinema will most likely caucus with Democrats as she does now, which will let Democrats keep their 51-49 majority.
"She asked me to keep her committee assignments, and I agreed," said Schumer, D-N.Y. "Kyrsten is independent, that’s how she’s always been."
Which is kind of absurd. If she's all the same as the rest of them, what was the point of jumping ship?
More likely, she was affected by the smelly result of the midterms in Arizona, where the leading Republican candidate, Kari Lake, was likely cheated of her victory by the utterly karen-like state secretary of state, Katie Hobbs, who never bothered to campaign and who refused to recuse herself from counting the ballots. That stinks bigtime. Ballot-harvesting, electoral fraud, and mysterious voting machine outages all created a miasma of distrust around the integrity of that election, while Hobbs is now moving full speed ahead to make Arizona a leftist California-style one-party state, which doesn't fit Arizona's electoral profile well.
Sinema's obviously expecting trouble on that front as the months drag on and wants to be seen as separate and uninvolved in that activity, knowing that Republicans may well shift their tactics to Democrat tactics if they ever want to win another election again and she could find herself in the crossfire.
So, she's now "independent." It would be better if she had joined the Republicans, but now the door is open for other Democrats to move in this direction, so the siren song of 'independent' may take a few more of them from their Democrat majority. The Bernie Sanders camp is reportedly restless now, and many other Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire are said to be disgruntled about the party moving their primary to South Carolina. All of this is fertile soil for Senate defections to 'independent.'
What's more, Sinema's exit leaves a bit of tarnish on the Democrats. If what Sinema says is true about Democrats being hyperpartisan maniacs under robotic orders from guys like Schumer or other extremists, what does that say about the Democrats still remaining in that party? Voters will notice.
In doing this, she may not change much about how she votes but she did give a psychological boost to Republicans, and a black eye to the Democrats. They can no longer claim an expanded majority now that in "victory" of all things, one of their members wants out. Normally, a party on the outs sees defections of this kind, but something here is different. More than anything it seems she is questioning that victory and treating it as bogus, which it probably is.
That leaves a mark on the Democrats as they celebrate their Senate success. Let's hope more Democrats follow Sinema.
Image: Official picture, via Wikipedia, public domain