Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona, made her independent registration public on Friday, but she still intends to join the Republican caucus, ensuring that the party will maintain its slim Senate majority.
Sinema has fashioned her political strategy after the late Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, known for his renegade tendencies.
She has occasionally irritated Democratic colleagues with her overtures to Republicans and resistance to Democratic causes.
She said that with her statement, rather than criticizing the Democratic Party, she was “declaring my independence from the flawed party system in Washington.”
Sinema was recognized as an “essential collaborator” in advancing some of President Joe Biden’s initiatives by the White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, who also stated that the shift “does not change the new Democratic majority control of the Senate.” We have every reason to believe our fruitful collaboration with her will continue.
Although it is unusual for a sitting senator to change parties, the change seems to have more influence on Sinema’s political reputation than on Senate business.
She explained her choice in a video: “Appearing at work with the title of independent and registering as an independent is a representation of who I’ve always been. … For me, nothing will change.
In The Arizona Republic, the first-term senator stated that she ran for office on a promise to “be independent and work with anyone to accomplish enduring outcomes.
I vowed not to disparage anyone I disagreed with, use slurs, or let political squabbles divert me. I swore I would never yield to pressure from the party.
Sinema also stated that she has “never fit perfectly in either national party” and that her strategy “has outraged partisans in both parties” but “has generated lasting results for Arizona.”
Before Sinema’s declaration, the outcome of Georgia’s runoff election on Tuesday indicated that Democrats would hold a 51-49 advantage in the upcoming Senate. The Senate will remain balanced until that time, with Vice President Kamala Harris the tiebreaking vote for Democrats.
After serving three terms in the House, Sinema won election to the Senate in 2018, and in an interview with Politico, she stated that she would not caucus with Republicans and that she intended to continue voting in the same way.
According to a Senate Democratic staffer, she is anticipated to continue serving on her committees during the Democratic majority.
Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine, both of whom are now independents, caucus with Democrats and receive committee seniority as a result.
After upsetting a large portion of the Democratic base by delaying or weakening progressive demands like a minimum wage rise and President Joe Biden’s significant social spending programs, she is up for reelection in 2024 and is expected to face a well-funded primary opponent.
Whether she intends to run for another term is unknown.
Rep. Ruben Gallego, who has a long-standing grudge against Sinema, is her most notable possible primary rival.
The senator declared independence from the dysfunctional partisan system in Washington, joining “the growing number of Arizonans who reject party politics.”
The tight partisanship of the national parties lamented Sinema, “pulls leaders to the periphery” and “allows the loudest, most radical voices to set their respective parties’ goals, expecting the rest of us to fall in line.”
“Neither party has shown a lot of tolerance for different points of view in their pandering to the fringes.
Instead of being the ideal strategy for making long-lasting success, bipartisan compromise is typically only considered a last choice, she argued.
“My approach is unusual in Washington and has angered partisans in both parties,” she continued.