The mob is coming for Kyrsten Sinema in her home state of Arizona. While they may not be literally showing up with pitchforks, torches, and nooses, the rhetorical impact is about the same. As Allahpundit pointed out yesterday, other Democrats are already being pressured to primary her even though she’s not up for reelection for nearly three more years. But that’s not enough to satisfy the progressives who remain outraged that she wouldn’t agree to torpedo the filibuster to ram through her party’s voting bills. Today, state party leaders will host a vote of either “disapproval” or censure, depending on the mood of the members. While this will have no actual impact on Sinema as a federal legislator, the move highlights the fractured nature of the Democrats around the nation at the moment. (Associated Press)
U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is growing increasingly isolated from some of her party’s most influential officials and donors after playing a key role in scuttling voting rights legislation that many Democrats consider essential to preserving democracy.
Sinema faces a vote of disapproval and possible censure from leaders of the Arizona Democratic Party on Saturday, a symbolic condemnation for the woman who just three years ago brought the party an Arizona Senate seat for the first time in a generation.
Donors are threatening to walk away. Several groups are already collecting money for an eventual primary challenge, even though she’s not on the ballot until 2024. Young activists are holding a second hunger strike to draw attention to Sinema’s vote.
The Democrats in Arizona may want to be careful what they wish for. It’s true that Arizona has drifted further into the purple shade of the political spectrum in recent years, but the state hasn’t suddenly turned into Portland, Oregon overnight. Sinema barely squeaked through in her 2018 Senate race by a little more than two points. The Democrats in Arizona knew precisely what they were getting when they backed her Senate bid and she was previously ranked as the 47th most conservative member of the upper chamber. If the state party expects her to turn into AOC or Elizabeth Warren, they won’t be holding onto that seat for another term.
So why would all of that matter? Because Sinema is the kind of Democrat who can get elected in a state like Arizona these days. If you tried to run Bernie Sanders there this year he would be laughed off the stage at his first debate. Arizona’s Democratic Party may be on a path to split it’s members the same way that Democrats in the House have been in a state of civil war for the past year or more. Sure, they may manage to get rid of Sinema in 2024, but the price they pay for it may wind up being yet another Senate seat being handed back over to the GOP.
I also wanted to just take a moment to point out the way that the AP reporter described the root cause of all of this angst. They accuse Sinema of “scuttling voting rights legislation that many Democrats consider essential to preserving democracy.” This is the image that Chuck Schumer and national Democratic leaders are trying to project as well, but it’s mostly malarkey, as the party’s current titular leader would say. Sinema has already said that she (mostly) supports the two voting bills. She’s just opposed to setting a precedent where the majority can mute the filibuster whenever they want to if there is no opposition support for one of its proposals. Unlike many of her colleagues, Sinema apparently has the prescience to realize that they would be handing a sledgehammer to the Republicans who will happily turn around and use it against the Democrats the next time they take over the Majority Leader’s office. (Which might be a lot sooner than many of them believe.)
Then there’s the breathless claim among Democrats that a failure to pass those nationalized voting schemes will call the legitimacy of the next elections into question. Oh, really? Well, since we didn’t have these nationalized voting schemes in place before now, doesn’t that mean that the previous elections were illegitimate also? Including Joe Biden’s?
Oops. I guess we’re not supposed to ask uncomfortable questions like that while Chuck Schumer and his pals are in the middle of an epic rant, huh?