These Kyrsten Sinema volunteers from 2018 now 'look forward' to 'canvassing for her opponent': report
On Friday, December 9, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona made a bombshell announcement: She was officially leaving the Democratic Party and registering as an independent. The switch, however, won’t necessarily take away Democrats’ 51-seat effective majority in the U.S. Senate in 2023: Like two other independents (Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sen. Angus King of Maine), Sinema is expected to caucus with Democrats and have committee assignments.
It remains to be seen whether or not Sinema will seek reelection as an independent in 2024. Because she is no longer a Democrat, the centrist senator obviously won’t have to face a Democratic primary challenge from liberal Rep. Ruben Gallego, one of her outspoken critics. But if she runs, Sinema may have to face Gallego in the general election if he runs for that Senate seat and wins the Democratic nomination.
Gallego is hardly Sinema’s only critic in the liberal/progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Sinema has been a frequent source of frustration to liberals and progressives, although she fares better among independents, McCain Republicans, Never Trumpers and non-MAGA conservatives.
In an article published by The Atlantic on December 15, journalist Nathan Kohrman takes a look at Arizona Democrats who supported Sinema in the 2018 midterms but have since grown frustrated with her.
“When Kyrsten Sinema campaigned for the Senate as ‘an independent voice for Arizona,’ her volunteers didn’t take that literally,” Kohrman explains. “Perhaps they heard what they wanted to hear. Ana Doan, a retired teacher, thought Sinema would bring fresh energy to Washington as Arizona’s first openly LGBTQ senator. Devina Alvarado, a young Costco forklift driver, thought Sinema would defend women’s rights from Donald Trump. Michael (identified by his middle name to avoid retaliation) admired that Sinema had made it out of poverty after experiencing homelessness as a child, as he did.”
Kohrman continues, “Each from a different corner of Arizona, they were all proud to have volunteered to get Sinema elected, proud of the doors they’d knocked and calls they’d made, proud to have had her glossy purple-and-yellow literature scattered in their home or on the floor of their car. But their pride had curdled long before Sinema announced she was leaving the Democratic Party last Friday.”
In 2018, Kohrman notes, Kohrman notes that although Doan “was thrilled when Sinema won” in 2018 and defeated her Republican opponent, Martha McSally, her “excitement was short-lived.”
Doan told The Atlantic, “She made an idiot out of me, and I made an idiot out of all the people I spoke to.”
Alvarado canvassed for Sinema in 2018 but told the Atlantic that in 2024, “I, for sure, look forward to canvassing for her opponent.”
A Phoenix resident identified by Kohrman only as “Michael” volunteered for Sinema’s campaign in 2018 but was disappointment that she opposed raising the national minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Michael told The Atlantic, “Hunger changes people. It made me want to make no one feel that way. I’m guessing it made her protective of what she has.”
One Sinema volunteer from 2018 who is willing to defend her now is Martha Bruneau.
“Bruneau thinks her fellow progressive Democrats have been exasperating and believes they put too much pressure on Sinema, who votes with Biden more than 90 percent of the time,” Kohrman reports. “She told me she doesn’t get Sinema’s reputation for being unapproachable. When I asked her if she’d support Sinema over a Democratic challenger, Bruneau praised Sinema’s record and said she’d have to look at both candidates. This was, in dozens of interviews, the closest that any of Sinema’s former volunteers came to saying they would vote for her again.”READ MORE: 'She did nothing': Ruben Gallego blasts Kyrsten Sinema for letting fellow Democrats down in the midterms
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