Sinema Switches from Democrat to Independent

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema on Friday announced she has left the Democratic Party and is registering as an Independent. This comes after Democrats secured 51 seats in the Senate in the midterm elections. She will, however, continue to caucus with Democrats.

Sinema Switches from Democrat to Independent
Image credit: Getty Images [via Fox News]

Facts

  • Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema on Friday announced she has left the Democratic Party and is registering as an Independent. This comes after Democrats secured 51 seats in the Senate in the midterm elections. She will, however, continue to caucus with Democrats.
  • In an op-ed in the Arizona Republic, she cited increased partisanship and radicalization in both parties as her reason for changing. She also wrote, "Americans are told that we have only two choices – Democrat or Republican," but, "most Arizonans believe this is a false choice."
  • She further stated her intention is "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."
  • Though her departure will likely mean she can vote less along party lines, she expects to retain her committee assignments. Sinema, who is up for reelection in 2024, has already angered liberals, who've hinted at putting up Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego as a challenger.
  • Sinema, who took office in 2018 after the death of Republican John McCain, has often joined Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) in blocking Democratic legislation. She will be the third liberal-leaning Independent senator, joining Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and Angus King (Maine), who also caucus with Democrats.
  • During her first term, Sinema has bucked most of her party by helping block a corporate tax increase in the Inflation Reduction Act, and hindered attempts to abolish the filibuster.

Sources: USA Today, FOX News, CBS, CNN, and CNBC.

Narratives

  • Democratic narrative, as provided by Mother Jones. Sinema’s career has been a giant metamorphosis, and Democrats could never count on her to be in their corner. This is just another step on her unpredictable path, and Democrats will have to continue to work around her harmful opposition to the filibuster, and her devotion to the Wall Street set, while accepting her support on issues that she agrees with them on.
  • Republican narrative, as provided by Daily Wire. Democrats should take this as a warning about how far to the left they’ve moved. There’s less room nowadays for moderates, and those who don’t lean far enough left often pay the price by getting harassed while out in public. Sinema probably won’t be the last defector.
  • Cynical narrative, as provided by MSNBC. Sinema says her policy stances and voting habits won’t change. If she’s still going to caucus with Democrats, what’s the point of changing affiliations? Well it’s all about her political survival. She’s highly unpopular with Democrats, but now she won’t have to face a Democratic challenger because the party won’t want to risk splitting the left-leaning vote. This isn’t about principles, it’s about re-election.