Sinema’s political past is peppered with far-left causes. She was a Green Party spokeswoman in Arizona at age 25. In the early 2000s, she organized more than a dozen anti-war protests. She has engaged with farther left figures, including a radio host who eventually became known in the 9/11 truther movement.

This isn’t to delegitimize Sinema’s current stances, but to trace Sinema’s path to the center, which represents something of a feat. Indeed, her shift from the farther side of the spectrum towards the center may offer guidance—and consolation—to those within the Democratic Party who fear alienating the progressive wing. Her story reveals that such a shift can be done, but at a certain cost, apparently.

The backlash against Sinema provides a window into the state of leftist orthodoxy and why it’s important to acknowledge those who forge their own political paths. When criticizing Sinema, O’Neal explained that the purpose of the censure was to alter her voting patterns. “The way she is voting is really disappointing. We want Democrats to vote like Democrats and not Republicans.”