Move over Bernie Sanders: Sen. Krysten Sinema has left the Democratic Party for greener, more independent pastures.
“I promised Arizonans something different,” Sen. Krysten Sinema began in an op-ed for USA TODAY, explaining her decision to leave the Democratic Party and register as an Independent.
It’s a decision plenty of voting Democrats might consider a bit shocking. Didn’t Democrats just win the Senate during the recent mid-term election?
Normally, players don’t quit the winning team when the season is going so well. When the home team is on a losing streak — that’s when players generally quit.
Take the House of Representatives for instance.
Democrats were expected to lose the House in 2022 and they did, though not by as large a margin as Republicans hoped and Democrats feared. Over the last two years, in anticipation of the coming 2023 Democratic Party minority in the House, lots of Congressional Democrats have seen fit to retire, run for other offices, refuse to seek reelection, and otherwise absent themselves from facing defeat at the ballot box.
They all gave excellent excuses, but can hardly be blamed; serving in the minority is much more difficult for the political party stuck with that difficult but necessary duty. Checks are balances are essential to our democracy: That doesn’t make it fun for the checks and balances.
Even before the triumph of Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia’s run-off, the Democratic Party did at least manage to hold on to the Senate Majority, if not by as large a margin as Democrats hoped or Republicans feared.
With the news that Sinema is leaving the Democratic Party, Democrat’s hold on the Senate is even more tenuous. Prior to her jumping ship, Sinema wasn’t exactly the only Democratic Party obstructionist giving Senate leadership a headache.
Sen. Joe Manchin did at least as much obstructing as Sen. Krysten Sinema, if not more. Manchin was, and remains, reluctant to vote for anything likely to drive prices higher for his constituents.
Both he and Sinema have frequently invoked the growing economic concerns of the working class as the reason for their actions.
“There’s a disconnect between what everyday Americans want and deserve from our politics and what political parties are offering,” Sen. Sinema wrote in USA TODAY.
“Everyday Americans are increasingly left behind by national parties’ rigid partisanship, which has hardened in recent years,” Sinema complained. “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.”
“In catering to the fringes, neither party has demonstrated much tolerance for diversity of thought,” she lamented. “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.”
“When politicians are more focused on denying the opposition party a victory than they are on improving Americans’ lives, the people who lose are everyday Americans,” Sen. Sinema pointed out.
Sinema’s point should perhaps be considered: Effective campaigning doesn’t equal effective governance.
“Barack Obama’s Politics 101: Ridiculing Republicans Works,” crowed The Nation only this week. “The former president is still the ablest campaigner the Democrats have, as his takedown of Herschel Walker’s vampire-vs.-werewolf rumination proved.”
While mocking Republicans may be a successful campaign strategy, it doesn’t do much for working-class voters already struggling to make ends meet and staring down a major recession on the horizon.
Investment firms and major banks are already sounding the alarm, code red. A deep, painful recession is heading right for us, as the world’s economic mandarins are warning their clients.
BlackRock’s recently released 2023 Global Investment Outlook reads like a choose-your-own-disaster book. It’s filled with gems like, “The regime of greater economic and market volatility is playing out — and not going away,” and, “Central bankers won’t ride to the rescue when growth slows in this new regime, contrary to what investors have come to expect.”
For average, working Americans without a stock portfolio, the coming economic downshift is going to mean much more than better-diversified stock holdings and increased risk aversion.
“Each day, Arizonans wake up, work and live alongside people with different views and experiences, usually without even thinking about partisan politics,” Sinema explained in her USA TODAY op-ed.
“Arizonans expect our leaders to follow that example — set aside political games, work together, make progress and then get out of the way so we can build better lives for ourselves and our families,” she pointed out.
For the working class to weather the coming storm, both parties are going to need to work overtime. It may be up to Independents like Sinema to see that they do.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)