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Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has been — put mildly — a pleasant surprise for conservatives here in my native Arizona. When she was elected in 2018, it had been 23 years since Arizona had had a Democrat in the Senate. We really didn’t know what to expect. The last Democrat was my dad’s old high school classmate Dennis DeConcini, who would probably be a moderate Republican today.
Sinema is an outlier in present-day Democratic politics: a candidate who campaigned as a moderate and came through on the promise.
I had just moved back to Arizona in 2018 and had almost no familiarity with Sinema. Over twenty years in California had conditioned me to view all Democrats as rabid, progressive hyenas who were always in attack mode. Her campaign promises to be a moderate voice in the Senate fell on the deafest of ears with me.
Since taking office, the running joke with conservatives here is that Sinema is a better Republican than Jeff Flake, the squish she replaced. Low bar, I know, but not too far off base.
A hallmark of modern American politics is that moderates in both of the major parties are often better received by members of the other party. The Republicans are new to this dance but it has been that way with the Democrats for a while. Sinema has been savaged by libs on social media for not getting on board with all of the Democrats’ New World Order overreach. Of particular irritation to the Dems is that she voted against shoehorning a minimum wage hike into a coronavirus relief bill and she’s opposed to ending the filibuster.
Those stances have earned her praise from many Republicans, including one who most on both sides of the aisle see as a firebrand — Ted Cruz.
The Arizona Republic:
“Look, I appreciate that she doesn’t typically engage in the overheated partisan rhetoric that both sides sometimes get into — I think that’s beneficial,” Cruz told The Republic after speaking at a Turning Point USA Young Latino Leadership Summit in Phoenix. “Kyrsten is one of the few in the Democratic conference who would like to see us work together more.”
Asked if he thought Sinema would waver on her filibuster position, he answered, “I certainly hope not. She says she won’t. But I have no doubt that Schumer and the far left are being vicious with her right now.”
The only reason that Cruz can say “far left” with a straight face is because Kyrsten Sinema is there to provide contrast. Absent her (Manchin is a fraud), Senate Democrats would be virtually indistinguishable from the old Soviet Politburo.
Yeah, I went there.
Since she’s my senator, I get asked a lot if I think she’ll cave to the pressure from fellow Democrats when it comes to the filibuster. My gut feeling is that the pressure is merely steeling her resolve. Despite the media talk about Arizona having gone blue, Sinema is dealing with a constituency that is actually reddish-purple. She genuinely seems devoted to representing her constituents, which, sadly, makes her an iconoclast in 2021 Washington.
Just check out any of Sinema’s social media feeds. While other Democrats devote their online presences to championing things that aren’t popular with much of America, Sinema talks about small businesses and the military. You know, stuff Arizonans actually care about. She’s more interested in being popular with the people she represents in this representative republic than with the people she hangs out with in D.C.
Imagine how much better this country would be with more members of Congress — especially the Senate — like that.
That motivation seems to be keeping Sinema firm in her position on the filibuster and other contentious issues:
“There’s a lot of talk about, ‘Oooh, the pressure is mounting and the pressure is out there,’” Sinema said in an interview with The Arizona Republic’s political podcast, The Gaggle, released Wednesday.
“But as everybody knows, I don’t bend to pressure from either party, and I just stay focused on what I think is right, and delivering for Arizonans.”
Like it or not, Kyrsten Sinema is the Republicans’ best friend at the moment. She is far more independent than Bernie Sanders, who is a big “I” independent but a Democrat fanboy 99% of the time. If America is lucky, I’m right about the hate from the Left making her less likely to yield.
If not, she’s still a better Republican than Jeff Flake.