Kyrsten Sinema Announces Abrupt Party Switch

Kyrsten Sinema Suddenly Flips From Democrat to Independent

( – Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) announced she was leaving the Democratic Party. During an exclusive interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on December 9, she revealed she had become a registered independent. The news came just after the Georgia runoff, where Democrats gained another seat in the Senate to grab a 51-49 majority. There are no expectations the change will cause any negative impacts for Democrats in the upper chamber, but it could have some effects in the long run.

Sinema’s Decision and Position

The senator explained her decision was personal. She claimed she has always felt she fell somewhere in the political middle and never liked the partisan nature of the two main parties. She also noted she has strong bipartisan relationships and felt the decision would help her better represent Arizona voters.

Sinema said she didn’t expect the move to change anything and hoped to keep her committee positions. In an interview with POLITICO, the junior Arizona senator said nothing about her values or behavior would change.

Sinema has mainly voted with Democrats, but she’s maintained a relatively moderate stance. Looking at some comparisons from ProPublica, Sinema is closest to Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), who identifies as a moderate. Their votes matched about 95% of the time.

When comparing her to a staunch Republican, Sen. Ted Cruz (TX), the vote matches only 62% of the time. Her record, in comparison with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a more liberal Democrat, matched 63%. Cruz and Booker, however, only side with each other about 19% of the time, showing just how moderate Sinema’s voting usually is.

Sinema has made headlines since President Joe Biden took office for her opposition to Democratic-led legislation. She voted against changes to the filibuster rules early in 2022, which brought scrutiny from her fellow party members. She was also a holdout on the Build Back Better Act, along with Manchin.

But she hasn’t always been so focused on party affiliation all along. In her acceptance speech in 2018, the senator spoke about the late Republican Senator John McCain in glowing terms.

Looking Ahead

While things may not change for Sinema right now, her party change may impact her ability to win in 2024. Axios recently reported that she has gained some support from more centrist voters at the cost of a loss of support from individuals on the left. She needs to appeal to the middle, and she won in 2018 by a slim vote of 49.7% to 48%. However, Democratic campaign consultant Adam Kinsey told the outlet he doesn’t expect Arizona would vote for an Independent.

Do you think this bodes ill for Sinema’s future in Congress?

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