Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D. Arizona) has gained a ton of positive press recently, particularly among Republicans, for her hardnosed pro-bipartisanship stance during the recent negotiations over the infrastructure bill. Alongside such notable moderates as Susan Collins, Joe Manchin, and Lisa Murkowski, she has prioritized accomplishment over partisan politics. Of course this is drawing the ire of her party, particularly that part of the progressive wing loyal to Ocasio-Cortez. They have little tolerance for moderates, and have begun fundraising for a PAC to defeat her in her next primary race.
This is extremely stupid — and entirely characteristic of Democratic Party politics. It is, in point of fact, the very reason the Democrats are so frequently called their own worst enemies.
Strategically, this insane move can only hurt the Democrats. At a moment when every contested Senate seat is at a premium, undermining a popular Democrat in a swing state like Arizona seems like a particularly absurd form of suicide. Should such a move fail, any mud slung during the primary race (and mud would be slung!) will certainly stick and help drag her down. Should it succeed, the results may well be worse; Sinema’s political positions are already far to the left of her own party, and a progressive challenger could only come from even further out on the fringe — not at all a popular place to be in Arizona, which has a long history of electing pragmatists and actual moderates.
Which, again, Sinema is most definitely not. She’s an openly bisexual former Green Party ideologue. Her votes on fiscal matters are sometimes conservative, but socially she’s way out past third base. She’s against the death penalty and the War On Terror, fervently pro-LGBTQ+, and strongly believes that raising taxes is smarter than cutting services. She’s pro-gun control and anti-war, pro-immigration, pro-choice, and pro-privacy. Her besetting sins are, apparently, a willingness to criticize her own party’s leadership and a firm opposition to ending the filibuster.
That’s apparently enough to get her vilified on Twitter and by A.O.C. and her ilk.
To be clear: I’m not a resident of Arizona, and even if I could vote in the next Senate race out there I’m not sure where I’d put my support. What I am certain about is that I’d prefer a candidate with whom I disagree on some points but who has demonstrated a willingness to work with the opposition over any number of people that, at least on paper, hold the same views as I do. And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this.
By and large, Americans don’t like our Congress, and for good reason. It doesn’t work for us; it works for itself — and that ain’t right. We don’t care about ideological purity, and we don’t much care about party loyalty. We want common-sense reform and an end to partisan stonewalling and meaningless political theater.
There are people who don’t feel this way, and that’s fine. They can be wrong as much as they like.
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