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Sen. Kyrsten Sinema Leaves the Democratic Party


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Joe Biden and the White House’s celebrations of a “real” majority in the Senate were untimely interrupted by Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). The senator shook up Washington D. C. by announcing Thursday that she is leaving the Democratic Party to register as an independent, or, in her own words, to be the “independent voice of Arizona.”

The announcement came just days after Raphael Warnock put Democrats with 51 members in the upper chamber, something that had not happened since 2014. With her new party affiliation, Kyrsten Sinema will join fellow House independents Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Angus King (I-MA). However, she did not clarify whether she will remain in the Democratic caucus or attend the weekly meetings (something that both Sanders and King do), something that may be of great concern to Chuck Schumer.

The legislator announced her decision on social media and in an opinion column, published in The Arizona Republic. Among the reasons that prompted her departure from “a party I never fit into,” she cited growing extremism on both sides of the aisle.

“Everyday Americans are increasingly left behind by national parties’ rigid partisanship, which has hardened in recent years,” Sinema wrote. “Pressures in both parties pull leaders to the edges, allowing the loudest, most extreme voices to determine their respective parties’ priorities and expecting the rest of us to fall in line,” the moderate senator began in her disclaimer.

“Bipartisan compromise is seen as a rarely acceptable last resort, rather than the best way to achieve lasting progress. Payback against the opposition party has replaced thoughtful legislating,” she added.

In a dialogue with Politico, Sinema confirmed that she will continue to vote the same way and that “nothing will change” in terms of her “values” or “behavior”.

Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-D) announced that she will leave the Democratic Party to register as an independent, threatening Biden’s majority in the Senate. (FEE)

Although the senator voted with Joe Biden 93% of the time, she accompanied the Republicans to maintain the filibuster and usually seeks consensus between the parties to promote specific legislation. The latest example is immigration reform, in which she reached an agreement with Thom Tillis (R-NC) to present a joint text.

Strange as it may seem, there are recent cases of senators who switched parties in the middle of their term. One of them dates back to 2009 when Arlen Specter (PA) left the Republican Party after nearly 30 years to join the Democratic caucus. The switch led to his defeat in the 2010 Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary.

Regarding her reelection aspirations, Kyrsten Sinema called for caution and indicated that “it’s fair to say that I’m not talking about it right now.”

Joaquín Núñez es licenciado en comunicación periodística por la Universidad Católica Argentina. Se especializa en el escenario internacional y en la política nacional norteamericana. Confeso hincha de Racing Club de Avellaneda. Contacto: [email protected] // Joaquín Núñez has a degree in journalistic communication from the Universidad Católica Argentina. He specializes in the international scene and national American politics. Confessed fan of Racing Club of Avellaneda. Contact: [email protected]