Is It Time for Kyrsten Sinema to Leave the Democratic Party?

Oct 15, 2021 · 634 comments
lrb945 (overland park, ks)
Whatever she is, neither she nor Senator Manchin is a Democrat. That "D" next to both names must stand for Despicable, Doom, Delusional or worse. They are choosing greed and ego over all the best efforts to mitigate climate change and may well be rewarded with infamy.
kcurran (USA)
Any strength is a weakness if misapplied or overdone. Sinema prides herself on proclaimed independence and challenging status quo. She has shown herself to be so hung up on her own persona that her ego now runs Kristen. Now she can twist and justify anything she does: traipsing off to a fundraiser, courting big biz donars, blocking legislation that would help people. Agree: Sinema should go independent. All the way out of politics completely. Kristen, please go and do something else where your supposed strengths are used for good not for your own identity work!
Them (NYC)
Let's see. She represents Arizona, a very purple state. Far from progressive. Her voters are her ultimate bosses, not Bernie Sanders. She is an intelligent, pragmatic politician who serves her constituents first. Hats off to Sinema for not caving to the non-stop bullying and harassment from the left and many members of her party.
Andy (Montreal)
@Them I read previous comments on NYT articles coming from AZ constituents that were enormously critical. So you argument is shaky.
drew (nyc)
@Them Let's see. Maybe she could vote for what's right. Just her claiming she's a D means she wants to further rights for gays, women, and workers. I understand what a republic is, so don't try to lecture me. Much of her constituency is wrong...she recognizes that and should try to correct them by educating then as to why she's voting with the current Dems...not walking a tight rope to stay in power. If this was 1860 I would hope she wouldn't be voting with Dems.
S.B. (S.F.)
@Them But the people who actually got her elected basically can’t stand her anymore. Plus, she will not talk to them, or anyone other than lobbyists and big fundraisers.
Peter Wozniak (Hong Kong)
It is good to read a balanced and informed piece about Sinema. It shows how difficult it is to be in the middle in our current polarized political world. I have come away with a new respect for the Senator and can certainly see why she would be opposed to abolishing the filibuster.
Adj (Nyc)
@Peter Wozniak and you live in Hong Kong— so you're not affected by her mercurial and narcissistic behavior.
Peter Wozniak (Hong Kong)
@Adj except that I pay taxes in her state
Claytronica (MA)
@Peter Wozniak Yet another mention of the evils of "polarization". Do people stop to consider the meaning of the word? There have always been strongly divergent positions in politics - no more than now. That is not a problem in itself. Staking a middle ground is fine - if there's substance behind it. Sinema shows no inclination to fill that requirement. She's all window dressing and no window.
Donald (Butte, MT)
“But Ms. Sinema has a better shot than most at not just surviving such a shift, but becoming a truly independent force to be reckoned with — maybe even a power broker for years to come.” This is an odd piece of hagiography. If she does become a “power broker,” it will reflect the worst of Washington, DC, not the best, because of her amazing haul of special interest money. It’s laughable that the author wrote “truly independent” under these circumstances.
K (NY)
Sinema and Manchin are not Democrats. They belong with their buddies in the GOP. They are using their position in the DNC to push a GOP agenda. They are essentially ending any chance the American people had for change in this presidency. I hate them both. Yeet them out the airlock.
colin beasley (marbella spain)
The article mentions twice she opposed minimum wage legislation. Didn't that try to impose a 15 dollar minimum right across the USA which is plainly ridiculous due to the massive disparities in living costs?
Elizabeth Patte (Oregon)
Sen. Sinema’s behavior serves 3 things: Her own healthy bank account, a Republican take-over of both houses of Congress in 2022, and a Trump win in 2024. Along with Sen. Manchin, she appears to be perfectly willing to allow the gutting of voting rights, an end to free and fair elections, and inaction on addressing climate catastrophe in order to keep the checks coming and the spotlight on.
Eric S (Philadelphia, PA)
Very interesting.. I remember being an early enthusiast about Sinema. Then I started to read more and more about how she was disappointing the party or progressives in one way or another, and, fairly uncritically, I started to think, "Oh, well, maybe she was an imposter." After reading this piece I'm thinking, "I should listen to what she is saying - not what people are saying that she's saying, but what she's saying." I think Sinema is right about the outrageousness of tying up the infrastructure bill in they way Democrats are doing. It's a dumb stunt, and apart from that, it's the wrong direction for Democrats in terms of getting political credit. Why? Because who wants to give government a giant slush fund to "build back better"? It's vague, massive and smells like waste. Instead of aiming for a giant bloated bill that is just a projection screen for political preconceptions, Democrats should be making detailed, tangible bills, one after another: Clean Drinking Water Act, the New Internet Act, the Solar Rooftops Act, the Safe Bridges Act, and on and on and on. Each one could stand or fail on its own, on its merits - so far as anything does in Washington. That would be impressive and something to point to in 2022 and 2024. As for the filibuster, it's an absurdity, and does not even have the Mr. Smith pretense anymore. But there is a case for it that Democrats have themselves often made. Maybe Sinema believes it. It could be. I believe in voting for what you believe in.
Dick (California)
Seeking bipartisanship is a noble goal only if the other side is amenable to reasonable compromise. The Republicans have stated time and again they have no interest in passing any legislation that helps Biden. The "bipartisan" infrastructure bill got Republican support only because they needed something that helped them in the upcoming midterms. Moreover, they gutted the bill of many of the proposals on the Democrats agenda which forced them to try and pass the Build Back Better bill which Kyrsten Sinema is obstructing. My analysis of her differs from the author's. I see her as an unprincipled narcissist. She's loving the limelight and power she's getting from her position. I guarantee her interest in bipartisanship would evaporate if the Democrats had a sufficient majority to pass legislation without her. In that case she'd be marginalized and powerless. Voila, suddenly she'd be a team player in an attempt to have some influence in the process. Everything she does, her clothes, wig, marathon runs and lifestyle is meant to draw attention to herself. Add in her attempt to be perceived as having a maverick personna and you have the definition of a narcissist. Kyrsten, I knew John McCain, and you're no John McCain.
Mitch G (Florida)
Sinema does not understand that running the U.S. government is not simply the same as high school student government scaled up. Colorful costumes and standing "in front of the elevator" are cute in their place, but she fails to demonstrate any understanding of the reach of her actions. I don't care if she dyes her hair fuschia, I care that she acts like an amateur where professionalism is required.
honestly (west)
For all her stack of degrees and mantra, what exactly has she united and conquered? I find it curious that someone with a beef against identity politics has several identity issues herself. Her antics are ridiculous and not cute nor funny on a grown woman. At the very least she owes a clear explanation on her positions she is after-all a public servant.
Helmut Wallenfels (Washington State)
An old rule of Congressional politics says: If you want to get along, go along. At some point Manchin and Cinema will have to pay a price for violating it. Currently, their 48 Democratic colleagues have to walk on eggshells around them lest they turn Republican, but I'd bet that quite a few are yearning for the first safe opportunity to pay them back.
J Eric Lundin (Bellingham WA)
I strongly disagree with the premise of this article. The Democratic Party, and the United States, would be far better served if the small minority faction of progressive activists left the Democratic Party.
Susan (Wilson)
This article focuses primarily on Sinema’s feelings about politics and partisanship. I think that many people would agree with some of the views expressed in that regard. What gets glossed over, though, is her impact on the policies that affect the daily lives of her constituents. The people of Arizona have a right to more honest and open communication about her stances. Many progressive groups worked very hard to get her elected under the assumption, not negated by her at the time, that she would support certain policies. It appears to me that her focus is more on herself and her image than on the enormous consequences of her actions. Maybe she should be less of a showboat and more of a public servant.
Kayren (Gilbert, AZ)
Since I moved to Arizona in 1979, I have seen Democratic political leaders fade away until I saw myself as a tiny blue spot in a sea of red. I voted for Sinema in 2018, and I did so with great hope and the fear of what a McSally win could do to our state and our nation. But I will not vote for Sinema again, and I continue to be disappointed by someone who is certainly intelligent and educated enough, but who has sold out any ethical considerations to monied interests. She is now a threat to any real, positive changes we hoped for and so desperately need, hiding behind the even more imposing shadow of Joe Manchin. Contacting her office is useless, and it doesn't matter if you are a Democrat who contributed to her campaign (as I did) or just a concerned American from any state who hates to see her obstructionist gambit play into McConnell's gnarled hands and doom Biden's ambitious agenda to the optimist's graveyard. I hear the steady drumbeat of "primary" growing louder. May I suggest former AZ attorney general, former McCain campaign manager, and former Republican Grant Woods?
Dan (Colorado)
Sinema and Manchin don't care about voting rights, our democracy, law and order, or we the people. They only care about getting rich by supporting their corporate lords. So, yes, they are just like all Republicans.
Joe McGrath (Tucson, AZ)
Ms. Cottle writes an interesting horse-race piece here. A thoughtful assessment of election strategy....assuming that, in the coming years, there's a democracy with elections that matter. It may be that none of this working-across-the-aisle will be relevant once the U.S. does away with free and fair elections.
Thomas Briggs (longmont co)
I am a pretty diligent student of politics. Finding a rational explanation for Sinema's dilatory behavior continues to elude me. Does she really think she is the reincarnation of John McCain? If so, it is a little late in the game. Or that Arizona voters are so stupid that they'll reward a person who acts like a two-year-old whose only response is "No"? The explanation offered here, that Sinema hates the dysfunction of partisan Washington so much that she empowers Mitch McConnell's blind obstructionism, does not satisfy. No, there is more to Sinema's opposition for opposition's sake. I don't know what it is. We may never know. But we have to live with the reality that she is willing to torpedo vital legislation without any explainable rationale.
Chicago Guy (Chicago, Il)
Q) Is It Time for Kyrsten Sinema to Leave the Democratic Party? A) She left the party the day the check cleared.
Robert G (Michigan)
An interesting perspective, although it is far too "understanding" of a grandstanding, narcissistic and "bought" politician. And, if she went into the overwhelmingly Republican Arizona House with the idea that she was going to prevail on her agenda she is an idiot to boot.
Nancy A Murphy (Ormond Beach Florida)
In a word - No. Krysten Sinema should not resign from the Democratic Party. We are a big tent not a bunch of lock step flunkies of big (and I suspect foreign) wealth. She could function as an independent. But she would have to caucus with the Democrats anyway. So why bother.
Chicago Guy (Chicago, Il)
Our current form of government not only allows for a "conflict of interest", it practically demands it. When "The will of the few outweighs the needs of the many" is the hallmark of the majority of our representatives, it's little wonder there is so much dysfunction in Washington because, essentially, that's what these people are being paid to ruthlessly inflict on the rest of us.
East End (East Hampton, NY)
If the lady with "the Crayola-colored wigs, the edgy outfits, (and) the in-your-face bling" truly wanted a "new breed of post-partisan, anti-establishment anti-elitism" she would see that the most blatant symbol of the corrupt system she feigns to be against is the filibuster. We have government by-ransom. We have a perennial hostage system within the senate. We have tyranny by the minority all because a relic of Jim Crow that has no place in The Constitution. Continuing to allow the filibuster is indefensible. Exhibit A of this argument is the refusal of the Sultan of Obstruction himself, Mr. McConnell of Kentucky, to allow a vote on an eminently qualified nominee to the US Supreme Court named Merrick Garland. There are innumerable other "exhibits" for this case. The flamboyant Ms. Sinema is deluded if she thinks the filibuster is a cause worthy of her support. She is only cutting her own throat while she allows a procedural Frankenstein to continue its monstrous path toward nihilism.
Gordon (Washington D.C.)
The real question is, is she a deep thinking principled politician, or is she a self serving opportunist. For now she seems to be playing chicken with the House progressives. If she comes out on top she gains a plenty of street cred with the Republicans.
bpedit (California)
It’s time for the party to leave her. Run somebody else. She’s a sad and transparent statement of the hold of Big Money on our political system, typically more pronounced in the “other party” but well on display here.
Steven Fellows (Seattle, Washington)
Is it time for her to leave the party? Since the new face of the Democratic party are the likes of Sen. Bernie Sanders, Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Ilhan Omar, and President Biden now yields to them, maybe. Good luck in 2022!
Thales of Militus (Florida)
Maybe just returning her to Earth will help a bit. Remember, if Manchin or Sinema turn Republican, the Senate majority will revert to Republican hands, putting control of all Senate committees in Republican hands with Republican majorities. Expect the Senate to do nothing but investigate Hillary Clinton, phony voter fraud, and everybody who has attracted Herr Trump's anger in the past 6 years.
J (USA)
Sinema is a grifter for hire. Here's the most recent round of her fundraising numbers (mostly from outside of her state): https://www.politico.com/news/2021/10/15/sinema-campaign-money-pharma-finance-516110
Dennis Holland (Piermont N)
For the record, Sinema raised $1.1 million dollars in the 3rd quarter of 2021, bring her coffers to $4.5 million, 3 years from her next election ..
RWE (Princeton Junction, NJ)
I agree with Senator Sinema's preference for bipartisan governing and repudiation of identity politics. However, what's the best ethical and political course in a fraught real world landscape must change when it has been invaded by a very toxic and threatening enemy. Neville Chamberlain certainly had quite the valid point in 1938 that peace is better than war especially after the horrors he had witnessed in World War 1. However, the extreme dangerousness presented by the rise of fascism made a policy of appeasement a fatally wrong ethical and political stance. The metastasizing Trumpist authoritarian contemporary Republican party presents a danger to democratic liberalism analogous to 1930's fascism. And Sinema's effective appeasement-like stance toward such a nemesis is wrong both politically and ethically.
JCAZ (Arizona)
Most people vote for the party platform not so much the candidate. Senator Sinema is not representing the party platform, nor her constituents wishes.
Lumberjack Bear (The Great Northwest)
What's really sad is that individuals running for a seat in the House or Senate or even for the office of U.S. President are only interested in enriching themselves and the prestige of the office instead of doing the work of the people that worked to get them elected. Deception is part of the game and the better you are at it ,the more successful you will be. Honesty and sincerity won't get them where they want to go and campaign promises are just lip service. Just tell them what they want to hear and forget about it. Then pour on the sugar around re-election time. When a Senator lies (think Lindsey Graham) it is just met with a shrug and 'Oh well , that's politics'. It is so common now that it has become something we expect of our elected.
Randy (Ann Arbor)
If she left, it would be great. Leave right now. Then a GOP majority.
Shocked Citizen (Maine)
Welcome to Maine's nightmare Arizona. We are saddled with the cowardly Collins because voters love 'moderates' which apparently the press and the candidates get to define. If you vote for moderates and moan about the lack of partisanship in politics then you are voting for the status quo. If that is really what you want then continue to vote that way but PLEASE do not complain about nothing getting done. THAT is what you voted for. But unless polls are completely out to lunch then why do 70% of Americans want almost all of the things in the Build Back Better package? Stronger gun regulations? Elimination of the filibuster? And on and on. I am beyond sick to death of being in the majority and being stymied at every turn by 'moderates' preventing the very change we ALL voted for in the presidential election. Cowardliness, venal greed, quest for attention and power? I don't know, but I am SICK OF IT!
John Hart (Pittsford, New York)
@Shocked Citizen, it is not moderates that are stymying you at every turn, nor did all of us vote for the change you desire in the last election. As to the latter point, Democrats lost seats in the House, only hold the Senate majority leader’s position and chairmanships because there are moderate Democrats in Arizona, West Virginia and Montana, and a good argument can be made that Biden’s victory was more rejection of Trump than his victory. The Progressive agenda Biden adopted as his lacks an electoral mandate. How can that be if the polls you cite are even close to correct? Because we do not live in a pure democracy. That was not the Founder’s intent. We live in a democratic republic and if we want to enact the kind of fundamental change that you think we voted for, then we have to win geographically as well as in the population centers. Democrats do not have the votes without Sinema, Manchin, Kelly, Tester, King. The last three may not have been as public as the first two, but I guarantee they have no objection to Sinema and Manchin taking the flak. It was political folly for Biden to have adopted the Progressive wish list as aggressively as he did, and it was political suicide for the Democrats for Progressives to have torpedoed the bipartisan supported infrastructure bill in support of a program they lacked the votes to pass. And Biden’s numbers reflect that.
Shocked Citizen (Maine)
@John Hart Oh thank you for reminding me! We need to pass the three laws to prevent voter suppression.
Birch (New York)
Yes. Along with Joe Manchin!
Mark DiFeiciantonio (Wayne, PA)
The piece is preposterous on every level. The writer and Ms Sinema appear to hold the view that today’s republicans are a reasonable political entity, capable of compromise and cooperation; and Ms Sinema can work with them. Seriously? Hello Ted Cruz, hello Amy Coney Barret, hello Bret Kavanaugh, hello Clarence Thomas, hello every “trumper”. The sad list is long and the position of republicans is contemptible - reasonable is not a word in their lexicon.
iabd (Hudson Valley)
Re: "But she does have a guiding principle." You forgot to include her overriding quest for power and money! Her greed makes her care only for herself, constituents be damned. The Headline should be a statement... "It Is Time For Kyrsten Sinema To Leave" Not only the Democratic Party but politics all together.
Mr. Ed (US)
Yes, she should leave. So should Manchin. As a former Democrat, now Independent, neither share my values.
Marco Martinez (California)
She is not a Democrat. She lied to get elected. She would never have won as an “independent.” She is self-serving and a danger to the future of our children. She must be removed.
Rick Sacks (Washington DC)
Sinema baseball cpas next. Buy bulk cheap, sell to patriots. Make a killing.
Marky A (Littleton, Colorado)
She has learned from Trump that fomenting outrage is the best form of publicity.
Bill (New York)
Senator Sinema seems to be doing just fine. She raised more campaign money in the last three months than in any quarter since she became a senator,
Gene S (Hollis, NH)
Senator Sinema has obviously reconciled herself to being in office for only one term. Her participation in Nader’s campaign in Y2K helped elect G.W. Bush, which led to our misbegotten military adventure in Iraq. Just think where we’d be climate-wise if Al Gore had been elected. She is an evil, malign influence who will find millions of people dancing on the corpse of her once-promising political career. Not only that, but she is not a nice person.
Coffee Please (NoVa)
Sinema is exactly why Citizens United must be overturned. She’s serving her donors not her constituents.
Jen (Denver)
100% chance she gets primaried.
S.Einstein asc (Jerusalem)
“What’s harder though is ignoring the chaos and getting out of our comfort zones..." The description of her diverse behaviors, her political history, and very brief word about her growing up poor, is informative. In what ways', if any, has she demonstrated that she was, is, and will be, personally accountable for the implications and outcomes, temporary and more permanent ones, of her words and deeds? How often has she, as an elected policymaker, mandated to DO, for the wellbeing, health, and experienced existential security and safety, in their broadest dimensions, for ALL the diverse people in a divided nation? How often has Sen. Sinema "ignored" the missing comfort zones of all-too-many THEYs in America's well nurtured, toxic, violating WE-THEY daily culture? DOing, whatever she wants to, whenever she wants to, in her own unique ways, may be a limited definition of BEing "independent." There are other English words labeling such behavior.
Chicago Guy (Chicago, Il)
I have to hand it to her. It's takes a real "maverick" to sell the future of our children down the river in exchange for a bunch of "campaign contributions". She is NOT serving her constituents. She is serving herself. And the reason is because our current system of government allows for it.
Tom (Pittsburgh)
If she does, it only means the Republicans will control all the Senate committees and Moscow Mitch will be majority leader.
Mikes547 (Tolland, CT)
History is filled with opportunists who latch join a political party in order to run for elected office. Once elected their primary objective is to remain in office. Thus, regardless of whatever personal ideology, if any, they may have, they reflect the wishes those voters who they anticipate will determine their future.
Kate M. (Boston)
Forget leaving the Democratic Party....why she is even in the Senate or anywhere in government? There are plenty of ways for someone so needy to get attention without making life harder for our country. We need senators who are responsible, honest and willing to be transparent and work for the common good.
Ulysses (Lost in Seattle)
Sinema has committed the mortal sin, in the Progressive church, of thinking for herself and not following the party line. So the Dems are going all out against her. For example, threatening to primary her in 2024. News flash: she knows she would lose that primary, so logically she will become a Republican sometime before then (hopefully sooner than later), causing the Dems to lose control of the Senate. Smart strategy, Dems. Nest thing we'll hear from the Progressives is something about how we need to go back to the good old days, when they used to solve such problematic women by burning at the stake.
Sean Underwood (Portland)
nothing partisan in this comment as Republican politicians are famous for their independence.
James (Phoenix)
I live in Arizona and she is terrible. Nobody knows why she’s doing what she’s doing other than to just get attention. She’s not helping anyone. Maybe she’s unbalanced and hasn’t disclosed it? Something is wrong with her.
Chicago Guy (Chicago, Il)
After Illinois Governor George Ryan was convicted, the lead prosecutor in the case, Patrick Fitzgerald, held a press conference in which he argued that if someone's only concern was to enrich themselves or their family then they should stay out of politics and stick to the private sector. He repeated that plea years later after he helped convict Rod Blagojevich. I believe that's the case here. Unfortunately, the kind of corruption that lead these two career politicians to jail terms is far too narrowly defined. The fact is that ANY campaign contribution, etc, can inevitably lead to a conflict of interest between what's in the best interests of the politician and his "backers" and what's best for the constituents who's interests they are supposed to serving and looking out for. Until money is completely divested from our politics it will continue to serve as an incredibly corrosive force which will ultimately pit the benefit of the many against the benefit of the few.
Gene S (Hollis, NH)
Manchin’s holdings (through a relative) in the coal industry should disqualify him from deciding matters relating to energy and climate. Instead, he is trying to veto the climate provisions in the proposed reconciliation bill. There ought to be a law…
Chicago Guy (Chicago, Il)
@Gene S "Conflict of interest" used to be something politicians were supposed to avoid. Now it's the rule. Something which is as ubiquitous as it is de rigueur.
Gordon Drake (Chapel Hill, NC)
In a word, YES.
David Kannas (Seattle, WA)
She and Manchin are Republicans in Democratic clothes who are using their positions to ambush every policy or budget proposal brought by Biden. She used the term of Democrat to get elected. She needs to be stripped of any committee seats she holds and sent to a corner to await the next election.
PaulB (northern NJ)
@David Kannas So you want her to be expelled from the Democratic caucus and make Chuck Schumer the new minority leader?
Brenda (Scottsdale, AZ)
She campaigned on one platform to get elected, and pursued another platform in her elected role. That's downright treachery, not intellectualism.
Dania (Az)
Her argument of unite and conquer seems null. Uniting and conquering principles should apply to building coalitions across the board and really to the group that seems to have more power which in this case is the “progressive” agenda of build back better. Following her “Unite and conquer” principles would be finding common ground with her party members and passing meaningful legislation since they have the power to do so. And yet she refuses and obstructs- why? Perhaps like the article says, she has self hatred and bitterness towards the more liberal wing of her party and maybe is possibly jealous of what they have been able to accomplish. The article states that Sinema didn’t think progressives would get meaningful legislation unless they coward to republicans and special interests and some of the progressives in congress have proven otherwise too. She’s on yesterday train and refuses to get off out of willfulness. She’s not ready for prime time.
Domenick (New York City)
I am sure those campaign donations and paid summer internships she is now taking have not moved her too far from her 2001 core. Bipartisan is just another word for socialism (corporate welfare) for the elites and bootstraps for the rest.
Is_the_audit_over_yet (MD)
What’s most troubling is that there is not one single gop senator that is willing to vote for enough of the Biden agenda to nullify her. Not one! Much of the Biden plan has bipartisanship support among voters but elected officials in AZ an WV refuse to do what is in the best interest of a majority of their constituents. Further evidence that a single senator can destroy meaningful legislation that is good for 330 million people. That’s not democracy and not what our founding fathers envisioned!
GRH (New England)
@Is_the_audit_over_yet , to be fair, I believe 19 GOP Senators voted for Biden's infrastructure plan, no? It would be a major, major accomplishment, and the biggest investment in infrastructure in decades. It includes climate change mitigation measures as well. I just don't understand why the Democrats couldn't take the easy bunt to get on base that was waiting for them, that would have strengthened Biden, strengthened his case going into 2022, made the Democrats more popular, done real good for the country, etc. The whole, half a loaf is better than nothing? Apparently the enemy of perfect is good. But then again, I am Generation X, so must be missing something.
Bossystarr (Nyc)
yes please, leave the party.
Blunt (New York City)
Is this a rhetorical question?
Is_the_audit_over_yet (MD)
Yes. Long overdue and necessary.
Moksha (NYC)
Behavior is character, the portrait that Sinema paints is narcissistic, opportunistic, and obeisance to corporate interests.
Sean (Ft. Lee. N.J.)
Sinema epitomizing true Naderite: crank.
memchip (ny)
She's a MAGA.
james (washington)
Sinema appears to be a liberal, but unlike the majority of the Democrat party, she does not seem to be hell-bent on making the federal government the arbiter of all things, destroying the limited government our Founders intended, that's all. Despite her liberal background, she has not gone off the deep end with the tax-to-buy-votes crowd. The fact that because she is reasonably rational, Democrats think she should be in the other party says much more about the modern Democrat party (definitely NOT your father's. let alone your grandfather's, Democratic Party) says a lot more about the party than about her.
Sisifo (Chapel Hill. NC)
High-principled senator. Commendable. Holding her convictions against the tide. Letting Republicans continue their never-ending predatory cruelty as they devolve into MAGAmania. This is not the time to seek narcissitic personal desires... and don't ever curtsy in public again...
B (Washington, DC)
While reading this, I can’t help feel like Sinema is a disturbing view into the Id of the modern Democratic coalition. The amount of effort Sinema puts into her chic, whimsical, pseudo-artsy facade seems to be tailor made to de-fang criticisms she may receive from figures in elite media and institutions. I’m willing to bet that many elite journalists and NYT readers had classmates or even college roommates who shared Sinema artsy/quirky aesthetic. As such, Sinema fosters a sense of “familiarity” among these people and this blinds them to the darker side of what Sinema is actually doing. I cannot imagine that an old white man from Alabama would get the same generous treatment, even if his actions were identical to Sinema’s.
GRH (New England)
Yes, it is. And Tulsi Gabbard as well. Today's version of the Democratic Party has no use for people who believe in universalism, the Enlightenment, treating other people as individual human beings, etc. Also, today's version of Democratic Party may vaguely & every so often make a weak nod toward standing up vs the military-industrial complex (& kudos to Biden for finally ending the official Afghanistan war, if not the black-budget CIA/secret ops wars, etc.) but as everyone in America has been forced to learn over the last 12 years, the Dems ultimately prefer military Keynesianism uber alles (check out "progressive" Bernie & his support for basing Lockheed's budget-busting, ear-shattering F35 fighter in VT's most densely populated area); annual renewal of Patriot Act; annual renewal of nebulous AUMF (aka virtually unlimited "War on Terror"), etc., etc. And according to Hillary, people like Tulsi Gabbard who stand up against this are "Russian assets." BTW, imagine if Tea Party types had done to Pelosi what Progs did to Sinema in the bathroom? But Biden says it's the "process." Sadly, it actually may be that Sinema should caucus with GOP for time-being unless & until the Dems forcefully reject the spirit of extremist "Progressive" supremacist intolerance that has taken over the party. Because unless one embraces illiberalism, abandonment of the First Amendment, abandonment of the Fifth Amendment, today's version of the Democratic Party has little use for one.
Objectively Subjective (Utopia’s Shadow)
Imagine a man presiding over the senate “sporting a hot-pink top that read “Dangerous Creature.”” Right- he would not have been let in the door. But that’s not my biggest Sinema complaint. She voted against raising the minimum wage, one of the most important economic issues of the past 10 years. She blew it. And, with Manchin, she is responsible for stripping out the climate change parts of the social spending bill. That’s the most important existential issue of the next 500 years and she blew that, too. I’ve lost faith in America and in the Democrats. Once they were slightly better than the Republics, now they are merely ineffectual mewlers, beholden to their donors, playacting care for average Americans while trading favors and making cushy sinecure retirement plans in exchange for favorable legislation. And legislation for average Americans? It never seems to happen. America is rotten the core and decaying rapidly, with Sinema the hot pink avatar of my despair.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@Objectively Subjective She did NOT vote against raising the minimum wage. That is a myth. She voted against making it part of a much larger bill and instead insisted it be voted on as a stand alone bill. And guess what? Schumer refuses to allow that.
Lillas Pastia (Washington, DC)
wondering if emily's list is having second thoughts . . .
Sky Pilot (NY)
Time for her to leave the USA.
Kristine (USA)
Rather than being in DC and working she goes to Paris for a fundraiser. She is decidedly unserious for some unknown reason and it's getting tedious. Whether she's in over her head and doing the avoidance thing or getting paid off.
Gene (Bradenton, Florida)
The more ordinary voters, Dem, GOP, Independents, see how Biden's agenda helps ordinary Americans but is being held hostage, should be a wake up call to elect more "people centered" politicians. That would be at this time Democrats. Voting Rights, Women's Rights, Climate Justice, all doomed. You will not win any of Biden's, not Sanders, agenda with the slim majority in the U.S. Senate ... Manchin and Sinema are not Moderates, they are Obstructionists. Their motives? Who knows ...
BB (LA)
First, it’s not two senators standing in the way. It’s actually 52 senators and 222 members of the House, or, in other words, a majority of Congress, standing in the way. Second, Manchin and Sinema don’t work for Sanders. They aren’t beholden to the voters of Vermont, where Sanders is from. And they weren’t elected to the Senate by progressive members of the House of Representatives. In fact, Manchin and Sinema were elected by the people of West Virginia and Arizona, respectively, and their loyalty should lie there.
Maria (Boston)
Sinema never was a Democrat - she's that now common breed of politician, an opportunist. And now she's ignoring her constituents - shocking, just shocking. She's a joke, but the joke is on the American people who are struggling. Vote her sorry butt out and vote in an actual leader and serious thinker.
Eva O’Mara (Cleveland, Ohio)
Anyone ever think that perhaps she’s not who she says she is, but a plant?
Ol’ Flawriduh Cracker (FLORIDA)
In the truest sense you are correct she used her association with the Green Party to create the impression among voters that she really cares about the environment (the existential issue of our time) and then once in began to show her true sociopathic nature.
Alex K (Elmont)
If you want her to leave, we welcome her to make Republicans majority again in the Senate.
Bill in CA (Pomona, Ca)
I find it more than ironic that the author defends Sinema as just seeing both major parties as corrupt. Sinema only has to look in the mirror to see corruption. She is owned by big Pharma.
allentown (Allentown, PA)
This is being driven by the House progressive caucus. They are 100 members out of the 435 member House. This makes them a decided minority in the House and still a minority in the Democratic Caucus. The Democratic leadership seems almost as cowed by them as the Republican leadership is by former president Trump. Without Sinema and Manchin, the Republicans and Mitch control the Senate. It is members from very conservative states like AZ and WV who have given the Dems our bare majority. Bernie and the Progressive Caucus demand too much. They do not represent a majority view in this nation and Dems cannot win control of Congress or the presidency with their platform. They produce polls saying a majority of voters support their positions, but that turns around in pills which ask for their approval "even if it requires tax increases'. Then the majority vanishes. Even FDR's big social safety net change, apart from short-term economic fixes which such as we have also pursued in today's economic situation, He did not also try to pursue civil rights, income equality, Medicare, Medicaid at the same time. That was too much to bite off, even with his majorities. Adding $ to ACA, extending child tax credits is a lot, coupled with physical infrastructure bill. Add expanded child care and pre-school at higher worker salaries, paid family leave, much of green new deal, expanded Medicare benefits, free college -- it's too much and tough to implement before next election without SNAFU?.
Michael Simmons (New York State Of Mind)
Sinema's obnoxious curtsy and thumbs-down may be deemed the actions of a maverick by some, but she was affecting the financial solvency of millions of working-class people. It was an act of pure selfishness.
r2w (DueNorth)
I see a show-boating bomb thrower; someone who loves attention and theatrics. She oppositional for the sake of making herself seem more powerful than she actually is, pretending to be a maverick when she's just reactionary. Another clue to her toxicity is how she doesn't deign to explain herself, (Sinema thinks she's above it all) but also takes obvious pains to be visually presenting her edginess, including a snakeskin sheath as she left the country. To her, silence is proof of her power. That curtsy she gave, after patting McConnell on the back, while she voted down the minimum wage said it all. Sinema wants the fame and the power, any way she can get it; and her 'progressive' constituents be damned.
Bach (Grand Rapids, MI)
Sinema is the walking, talking poster child for public financing of national office candidates. She doesn’t care how many bodies she has to crawl over to grab a campaign buck. Money dredges up our most base personalities. I’m ready to try a different way.
Burqueno (NM)
People voted, worked for, and donated money to Ms. Sinema because she was a Democrat. They assumed that as a Democrat, she would vote for Democratic priorities and bills in the Senate. She is now objecting to and holding up Democratic legislation, which is a betrayal of everything her election was about. This is a puff piece that ignores all of that and pretends she’s an independent. If you’re really not going to vote with your party as a Senator, at least be up front with the people who elected you. She’s dishonest at best, a sociopath at worst.
John (Tx)
Can she even keep this campaign money? Isn't that for future elections only by law? Where on earth does she think she can win an election with her latest October poll numbers?
Marianna (FL)
YES - the Dem party needs unity now, not a self-serving maverick. What a mess Manchin, McConnell and Sinema are making of the entire Presidency. Who needs Republicans when you have these two Dems holding things up?
Sickened (NY)
It's ironic that this question is posed because she is exercising her Democratic right, rather than the following undemocratic process of party over country. It's refreshing to see politicians who are not in lock step with the Mafia style governing that Republicans and Democrats follow.
Leslie Acoca (San Francisco)
Dear Fellow Americans. Together, we just lost a quarter of a million loved ones- family members, friends, and colleagues to the brutal, and in many cases unnecessary, Covid virus while Trump (Rome) fiddled...and fiddled .. and fiddled. The Republicans fiddled while our allies stopped trusting us, and the planet lit itself on fire (I know I live in California fire country, now a permanent red fire zone.) I don't at all care what her sexual preference is, what her exercise regimen is, or how cleverly she plays the game of politics. She is fiddling while Democracy fails and the planet burns or drowns depending where you live. Please, NYT stop calling Simema a "moderate". It skews the urgency of this historic moment. This may be the only chance we have to unite. If Simema is not a tool of the Republican- or wealth- agenda to subvert Biden's presidency until the fiddlers reclaim the country, she must say so right now and stand on her record, and by her word. Her silent fiddling is not acceptable. I am not the least bit concerned that it might be hard for her to switch parties. She'll market herself just fine to the wealthy whatever her nominal affiliation turns out to be. Sinema should use her highly developed survival instinct to fulfill her office and help Arizona and the nation survive. Now.
Susanna (United States)
Is it time for ‘progressives’ to leave the Democratic Party? Yes. It is.
Mark (Groeschel)
It’s definitely time she stop fundraising in Europe.
H Munro (Western US)
Sinema conned her way into the Senate by just claiming to be a Democrat. She stole a seat for the other party by pretending to be what she is not and hoodwinking the people who voted for her. Take a good long look at her bona fides.
ElleJ (CT)
The only people who support Sinema are the republicans who love to write comments praising her as she, along with Manchin, bring down the democratic agenda.
Em (Austin)
Sinema is training for and running marathons in other states. She is jetsetting off to Europe to FUNDRAISE! She is interning at a Sonoma winery. She is teaching 2 college courses - an almost full-time job. SO, where will she find the time to do the job she was hired to do?? Taxpayers are paying her salary and she's off doing fun stuff.
larry (Miami)
One word: Stockholm Syndrome. Seriously, all that time held hostage by the Arizona Republican legislature would warp anyone.
JoeG (Houston)
Texans or people of any State vote to be represented in the national capitol. We don't vote so the capitol is represented in our state. Beto O'Rourke wasn't going to represent Texas was he? Again I'll point out when our State Representatives who ran into to trouble with the voters rights bill fled the state to the safety of the US Capitol. Texans want their Representive's to stand and fight for them. Not run. I'd like to point out that Simema sounds like a Hispanic name meadning she's not white according to some. That's the second minority person being attacted for not towing the Progressive line. I'd like to point out Justice Thomas was attacked besides his Conservatism but also his being Catholic.
Twg (NV)
All of this ignores the stark reality of the increasing threat to American democracy that the Trumplican GOP represents; the onslaught of voter suppression laws and the ability of state legislatures to over-rule the voting results and appoint their own EC electors, and the perpetuation of Trump's Big Lie. Sinema is playing with fire. If she and Manchin are the reasons Biden's policy goals fail, they alone will be responsible for handing control of our government back to a party that to this day refuses to acknowledge the ongoing peril of Trump's corrupt presidency and his seditious actions. Why was Sinema overseas fundraising during such a precarious moment in our nation's recovery? And more to the point (and grave need to overturn Citizens United and pass much more strident campaign finance laws ) why is this even legal? It's certainly not ethical. Talk about opening yourself up to undue foreign influence! From all that has been written here my view of Sinema is that she is an egoist first & foremost. If she is too ignorant to see the real value in Biden's BBB bill and the stupidity in not passing an even larger hard infrastructure package by asking corporate America to pay their fair share in taxes she's part of the problem and not the solution. America is falling way behind many of its Western allies in both social & hard infrastructure accomplishments. China is breathing down our necks vying to be the international leader in world politics.
Barbara Snider (California)
Sinema could leave the Democratic party, but Republicans wouldn't want her either. She thinks she is a contrarian intellectual, but she's neither. Just an opportunistic, silly woman without goals or ideals. She would fight pragmatism and accomplishing goals where ever she was. In her private life, does she get bills paid, the laundry done and her room picked up? I doubt it.
Rob (Palm Springs)
I tried to read the entire piece but I was starting to gag a bit after seeing no mention of to whom Sinema is indebted. After spending all her time trying to block President Biden’s bill, she rushes off to fill her purse with hundreds of thousands of bucks from lobbyists who despise and want to kill everything in the bill. My guess is she’s preparing to exit Congress in 2024 to collect “bigly” paychecks from these people.
A Teacher (Portland, OR)
I really don't want to see the words "Sinema" and "maverick" used in the same sentence again.
D James (Cville Va)
Without those two who would be the one to lighten the foot off the spending accelerator? I'm glad someone is being a realist. Progressives should have funded their handouts with spending cuts. Taxing only the wealthy will not cover it.
Erik Asphaug (Patagonia, Arizona)
Independent? Bernie Sanders is Independent. Sinema is Dependent. You require an inner compass to be independent.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@Erik Asphaug GIven that Sanders votes for whatever he's told to vote for, and Sinema goes her own way while the rest of you scream, it would seem she's quite independent and that's why you despise her. You'd rather she just falls into line and vote for bills she's opposed to, simply because Schumer and Biden want her to. Can always count on Bernie to talk big and then do whatever he's told.
John (Florida)
Just because many vocal Democrats in Arizona and outside are against Sinema, doesn't mean that most American voters in Arizona and outside are. If you add up all Republicans and Independents and some Democrats in Arizona, Sinema actually represents the majority of her state.
John (Florida)
It's interesting also that a very recent poll (Quinnipiac or Gallup) asked Democrats whether they supported progressives or moderates in this fight over their ridiculous bill. And unlike what the progressives want us to believe (that it's only 2% of the party are against their bill) it was 50-50 almost on the nose with 52% of Democrats supporting Manchin and Sinema in funding priorities, saying the bill is too big, and too much of a free everything. Most Americans, when looking at the specifics of progressive agenda and not pie in the sky promises, reject it.
Rams (Tucson)
Our previous senator, Martha McSally, was lambasted by the Democrats for toeing the Republican Party line. They insisted a senator should be independent. If they meant that, the Democrats should be critical of Mark Kelly, not Sinema. He’s our senator who does what he’s told, not what he really thinks.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@Rams And that's why Sinema is far more popular in AZ than is Kelly. Guys like him are a dime a dozen.
Eric Jones (Washington DC)
She could hold on for a while as an independent a la Angus King. But easier said than done as most republicans may like her independent streak but would never vote for her. Whether she will face an aggressive primary in 2023 will depend on the mid terms. If Dems pull off two more senate seats (WI and PA), she will be primaried, and unlikely to win the primary. If Dems no longer have a senate majority, same outcome. In those scenarios she will have to undertake a Liebermanesque / Murkowski style effort to hang on. If the status quo remains with a 50-50 it is doubtful a primary will unfold.
John (Florida)
As republicans we love Senator Sinema, and I hope we can offer her a good deal - if she torpedoes all of Biden's agenda (aside from the bipartisan infrastructure bill) - she can switch parties and we can guarantee her reelection by promising not to support any primary challenges. She can then claim to be bipartisan and appeal purely to republicans and independents without fearing of an attack from the right. She will be saving this country from progressives and doing us all a huge favor. Stay strong Senator!
Loren Johnson (Highland Park, CA)
Publicly funded elections would winnow out selfish people like Sinema. It would not eliminate them but it will certainly elect people more interested in policy rather than power and self enrichment.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@Loren Johnson Just because she is not in favor of the policies you advocate for does not mean she isn't interested in policy.
randy tucker (ventura)
It is so difficult not to write off Sinema as just another self serving politician. There may be a lot more to the story than just that, but in the end that is the longterm lingering impression.
Peter (Worcester)
Senator Sinema seems to have no regard for this dangerous moment in history. Help us through this truly perilous time, senator; put the authoritarian challenge behind us, and then go live your uncompromising, ideal senatorship forever and ever. It’s not so much about policy as it is about survival. There’s no hope for you either in a trump dominated state.
Kris (California)
Re: "Is It Time for Kyrsten Sinema to Leave the Democratic Party?" No! The Dems need to practice Lincoln's dictum with her, "Keep your friends close, but you enemies closer". They should lavish tight hugs on Sinema, otherwise they'd become the minority in the Senate.
Philip S. Wenz (Corvallis, Oregon)
Missing from this article is any concern for Sinema's effect on real people. Maybe voting down the minimum wage makes her a "maverick," but what does it do for, and to somebody working for $9 an hour? How about we worry about them instead of whether Sinema is feeloin good herself this week?
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@Philip S. Wenz Other than the fact that she did not vote against a minimum wage increase, great comment. By the way, the minimum wage in AZ is not $9 an hour. It's $12.15 and will be closer to $13 an hour on January 1.
Kerm (Wheatfields)
Enjoyed the political description of Senator Sinema. You should write more of all the senators one a day, would give the voters a truer perspective of whom they are and perhaps why the vote the way they do as party politicians .... However they problem isn't these two individual senators plus all the republicans and Mitch McConnell, it's about what two ''people" who do not interact well on policy decision making, unless there is money and returns on that money to them. Think that the two "people" over reach in both their attempts into passing any policy of legislations today, from taxes - Medicare. And the wealthy are winning the tax wars in creating policies from both party members that favor their pockets, that we fill thru our taxes in all manners, means & ways of taxing the people.
Linda (OK)
Too many politicians only want to be famous now. They're not much different than Youtube stars but they have more power. Sinema is one of them. Look at me! Look at me! Look at meeee!
Mike Seltzer (Pasadena, CA)
I don't think she intends to jump ship. I do think she resists being bullied.
Robert (Los Angeles)
"In 2003, she helped lead a demonstration in Tucson against the presidential campaign of Mr. Lieberman, a hawkish Democrat from Connecticut who later became an independent. “He’s a shame to Democrats,” she charged. “I don’t even know why he’s running. He seems to want to get Republicans voting for him — what kind of strategy is that?”" Sinema is the modern rendition of Joseph Lieberman. And she was right about Lieberman.
gpickard (Luxembourg)
This characterization of Ms. Sinema was well written and interesting but seems incomplete. She clearly is a very educated woman. Being educated is all well and good but she also seems part "rebel without a clue". (Apologies to Tom Petty)...part ingenue, part "pulled up by her own bootstraps", part opportunist and somehow a US Senator. Wow! She may have some very cherished principles but this piece did not shed much light on her core beliefs. She seems more like an empty soul looking to be filled...but with what? In the meantime, there is important legislation to be seriously considered. I don't doubt her intellect but I do doubt how serious she takes the matters in her hand. The time for sophistry is long past. What does Ms. Sinema think is important? I have no idea.
Jim Beach (Roseville, CA)
As a lifelong Democrat the party needs more just like her in office or running for it. The majority of Ds and those independent that lean D are more in tune with her than with the so called "progressives."
john (Duluth, MN)
Cottle's thinly veiled attempt to get rid of Sinema in the next election. Arizona is not Vermont or Maine where an independent candidate could survive. I guess the only good independent is one that caucuses with the Democrats.
glorybe (New York)
Something does not compute. If she grew up knowing poverty and homelessness she would champion a minimum wage hike. If she was in a peace activist she would want to buffer the safety net for everyone, not just veterans. If she were truly a green party sympathizer she would understand the effects of environmental policies on communities. Upholding the filibuster when action is thwarted would make her a malcontent, not a team player. There is something darker at work which the article mysteriously omits.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@glorybe Growing up in poverty automatically equals supporting an increase in the minimum wage? That's interesting logic. By the way, though you wouldn't know it by reading this newspaper, she actually is in favor of an increase in the minimum wage. She did not vote against an increase. She did however vote against throwing a minimum wage increase onto an already huge bill and advocates for it to be voted on separately, which is the responsible take.
Bob Saigh (Phoenix, AZ)
I’m an AZ voter, indy, Sinema supporter and watcher. For now, I cut her some slack as she maneuvers in the Congressional and DC business-as-usual, perhaps exploring being an indy, but she doesn’t wear traditional political labels well, as noted by Ms Cottle. I like that, like that she apparently doesn’t want to be a female version of Joe Manchin, and like that she’ll buck the herd, the way-we’ve-always-done-it, shut up and march. There’ll be a reckoning, she knows it. Meanwhile, I think she’s trying to find a way to be true to her AZ constituents, community, country and herself. I wouldn’t underestimate her.
sh (San diego)
i have a better idea. Arrest those that are illegally harassing her. Biden and Sanders also need to be reprimanded for not discouraging the harassments, which effectively demonstrates they support it.
Bp (Indiana)
Yes. Hopefully, she does something good on the way out.
Robert Roth (NYC)
3.5 trillion not even a pinprick to what's needed. Not even enough for a small speed bump to slowdown the cascading socical/ economic /climate/everything crisis we're faced with. These ridiculous postures, stances as well as well as Michelle's meaningless distinctions are all just noise.
Rick B (Honaunau, HI)
Americans need help after being ignored by Congress for 40 years and this woman is only serving herself.
Christina L. (California)
She reminds me of Tulsi Gabbard, an opportunist and a self-serving reactionary. Unless she becomes serious about helping those who elected her, she won’t be re-elected no matter what party she claims.
David Weintraub (Edison NJ)
"She holds fast to an abhorrence of the toxicity and dysfunction of the hyper-polarized political system, brandishing a potent combination of disgust, frustration and moderation that could, come to think of it, put her in sync with a big slice of Americans." She has a funny way of showing it, being that she is actively contributing to it. You want the Senate to function? Make a rule that bills and nominations need to be taken up for debate, and people need to state their opinions on them. No more backroom deals. No more of this blocking something from even being talked about by having mysterious demands you refuse to tell anyone about. How do you expect moderation, when the political environment actively rewards extremism and dysfuntion?
KD (NYC)
She’s the best thing going in our political arena right now. I don’t care which party she associates with - I will vote for her, and anyone like her. She’s a free-thinker, unwilling to go with the herd and drown our country in debt. She’s resolute, and a true hero.
stevelaudig (internet)
One can only leave what one has joined. She was only ever a slithering careerist who in harvesting bribes err I mean "contributions" from lobbyists shows her to be just another run of the mill political criminal whose primary skill is putting her hands in other people's pockets and selling her votes. Or are those contributions truly sincere? Please. It's not illegal only because corruption is legal and the corruptionists control legislation so corruption will always be rarely punished. Follow the money
Frank L. Cocozzelli (Staten Island)
I think it is time for her to read a book on Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She might learn something.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@Frank L. Cocozzelli Given that she has both a Ph.D. and a JD, I'm going to take a wild stab and say she has learned plenty. Maybe follow your own advice.
Frank L. Cocozzelli (Staten Island)
@Stu Gatz She is clueless about FDR.
Mark (Groeschel)
It’s define time she stops fundraising in Europe.
Know/Comment (Trumbull, CT)
"The senator...fancies herself a role model for a new ethos favoring 'a higher road of engagement that focuses on finding common ground,'” I've been an Independent for most of my voting life, and there was a time I would have agreed with Senator Sinema's approach. BUT NO MORE! Did she forget what happened on January 6th? I doubt it, because the trumpsters were coming to kill her! How does one find "common ground" with the majority of Republican politicians who don't or won't recognize Joe Biden as the legitimately elected president, who believe January 6th "was just another day," or just a group of tourists was visiting the Capitol building that day, or that drinking bleach cures Covid? Senator, when your political opponents are intent on destroying the Democrats AND Democracy, there is no common ground. So pick a side, for crying out loud already, and save our Democracy!
BBFernandez (NYC)
This, along with similar pieces by other columnists and reporters in regard to Sinema, is far too much ink to expend on a narissist. The American people want what is in Biden's plan. Those who live in Arizona want what is in Biden's plan. Sinema is a representative of the people but like most politicians she has forgotten that. She isn't a rebel. She isn't an independent thinker. She is just another self-serving politician.
Ed Watters (Cleveland, OH)
“Throwing in with Republicans seems like a bridge too far.” Not sure why the corporate media worker bees are going so easy on Dem politicians who are sabotaging the Democratic Party’s electoral prospects. The other day some corporate pundit was claiming that Sinema’s deeply held free market values prevent her from endorsing the Dem’s plan to let Medicare bargain for lower drug prices (apparently unaware that bargaining is a free market kinda thing). Seriously, if you’re getting all of your info from the corporate media, you aren’t getting intelligent, rational analyses - you’re being propagandized.
gil (Texas)
The point is she belongs to a party. That party supported her in elections with the understanding that she would support her party. In essence, she has already left the democratic party. She may single-handedly defeat Biden's agenda, and that would be a shame.
Zor (Midwest)
Sorry, the voters of Arizona have been hoodwinked to elect a shallow, self centered dog catcher to "represent" them in the Senate. Hold peaceful protests in front of her offices, both in Arizona and Washington DC. Make her fulfill her voters' agenda (Build Back Better) and not those of special interests. She was elected to serve her constituents, not her own selfish interests.
Peter (Tucson)
Not a helpful headline. We need her in the democratic caucus and we should be the party of the big tent. Only on the NYT editorial page does someone purportedly need to leave the party because they part ways with the progressives on some issues.
Steve (Moraga ca)
Without that "D" after he name on the ballot, she won't get elected as an Independent. With that "R" on her ballot, she very well might get elected, which would kill any hopes of a Biden appointment to the Supreme Court to say nothing of a Democratic agenda.
RDV (Pennsylvania)
This is really weird. What would be the point? She would continue to be just as much of a jerk as an independent as she is as a nominal Democrat. On the other hand, she could continue to spend her time raking-in corporate money and ignoring her constituents while avoiding committee assignments or any bit of work that she currently is obligated to do. So, on second thought, it might totally work for her. And only for her.
Staunch What-Aboutist (Queens)
Thought experiment: substitute “Ocasio Cortez” for “Sinema” in many of these posts, and count how many times the nature of the objections is exactly the same.
Bodyman (Santa Cruz, Ca)
She is an insecure bore who will do anything to draw attention to herself....Even if it means trashing desperately needed social investments that mean the difference between success and failure for a huge number of families in this Country. Her snobbish little march down the aisle in her latest designer outfit to give a thumbs down to the $15/hr minimum wage measure with accompanying hip twist was enough to let you know she's about the attention more than anything else. She wants to be taken seriously when she won't even give a serious answer to the many questions coming from her constituents. Respect is a two way street. Maybe if she made the effort to show some, she'd get some in return.
mjpezzi (orlando)
Pretty sure Sinema will be a one-time lawmaker and need help carrying all her ill-gotten "favors" with her through the revolving lobbyists' door. She talked like a "progressive" and let the progressives campaign and get her elected. Now she only talks to the big-money folks. How rotten to the core is that? She really also is serving as a very, very bad example to her minority community. She feels no shame. Just push the money under the door! She will not be re-elected, unless she runs as a Republican candidate.
Bruce Brown (New York)
After reading this article she doesn’t sound all that bad to me.
sage43 (bmore)
This is really a show down of who will blink first. Sinema wants the traditional infrastructure bill passed before she even wants to consider the reconcilation bill. That is where her priorities are as well as her blood sweat and tears. the progressives want the reconcilation bill to be first. Biden is not doing too well right now for all the obvious reasons. He really needs a win. Pelosi should pass the traditional infrastructure first and get it made law. Its a win for Biden and the country needs it and it would bring Sinema to the table. Sinema has more leverage. No, she does. It shouldn't be personal but it has gotten to that point on both sides. The progressives are trying to bite off more than they can chew in one bill. If Pelosi puts the traditional infrastructure bill on the floor and the progressives kill it out of spite ( which makes the democrats look so stupid and self serving, makes them look as bad as Trump and crushes the midterms) all Sinema has to do is go to Mitch's office and change teams. Once Mitch is back in charge of the senate that reconciliation bill will never see the light of day. Checkmate. That is what this article is talking about, right? Democrats don't want Sinema she might as well become a Republican. The RNC will give her money for her 2024 re-election. I don't see the DNC doing that. You should be careful what you wish for because i believe Sinema has a killer instinct which people underestimate.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
I love how the Sinema-haters skip right over the part where her approval ratings in AZ are far better than those of Mark Kelly, he being the AZ Senator going right along with everything Schumer demands. Think maybe her ratings are higher because voters in AZ like what she's doing and prefer a Senator with a backbone instead of a Biden lackey?
RjW (Chicago)
Democracy itself is on the ropes. Anything and anyone not fighting for it is against it and is the enemy of all who prefer to live in a democratic system.
Douglas Weil (Chevy Chase, MD & Nyon, Switzerland)
Senator Sinema's constituents voted for her but they also voted for a Democrat. If Sinema wants to leave the party, she should wait until she is up for re-election. Until then, try to persuade her colleagues to follow and if she can't, then fall in line. Joe Biden received 81 million votes. Senator Sinema, not so much.
James Simon (New York, NY)
She won't leave the party. She's loving all the attention. If she went Republican, she'd just be another obstructionist no different than anyone else. On top of that, and this is the part that's overlooked: She. Doesn't. Care. Look at the $800,000 she got from the pharmaceutical industry. See how she lied to the press about having a foot problem, goes back to Arizona for two days, and has miracle recovery to do a marathon. She's galavanting around Europe refusing to support policies that the president and a majority of Americans want. She. Doesn't.Care. She's the poster child for corruption. Her numbers in Arizona don't matter to her. She'll "retire" after one term so she can make literally millions as a lobbyist. And there, ladies and gentlemen, shows in nutshell everything that's wrong with America.
CB (Pittsburgh)
She clearly has no game plan except maybe some very misguided presidential aspirations- her colleague, Mark Kelly, seems to be doing fine in the Democratic mainstream. Does she not realize that blocking Biden's very popular agenda will ensure a Democratic minority in 2022 (at best) and will almost certainly render her unemployed at her reelection? I would be fine with her and Manchin holding out with clearly enunciated reasoning and a plan forward - but there is no principle involved - not clear policy priority, no true compromise - just McConnell-like talking points and lines in the sand. My moderate Democratic family members in Arizona have said that unless this changes, they will be happy to see her go.
Charlie Reidy (Seattle)
Yes, like many people who held their noses and voted for Biden last year, because they thought Trump was even worse than Biden, Sen. Sinema is in the editor's words "a Democrat of convenience." Those who believe that an ideology automatically attaches itself to a party don't understand that half the voters in this country don't care for either party, but many of us are associated with one party or another solely for the amount of time it takes us to fill out a ballot. Sen. Sinema represents a lot of those people, not just hyper-partisans who want power so badly that they'll harass a Senator while she's in a bathroom stall.
Nancie (Home)
It's time she chooses democracy, her constituents, and the good of the people.
Old Beaver (Indiana)
I have little faith in either major political party. She is certainly welcome to join me as an independent...
demonut (PA)
Not a fan of Sinema, but don't discount the importance of Mitch McConnell not being the Senate Majority leader. Yes, things are going slow but just imagine what the situation would be if the Dems didn't have the majority in the Senate. I do think the NYT is spending too much press on their discontent of Sinema and Manchin. All of the attention just gives them more power and influence.
Sam (San Jose, CA)
The difference between Dems and Repubs is that the Repubs line up with their party irrespective of whether they are centrists or extremists to get the job done. Example being the 2017 tax cuts for the wealthy. Dems seem unable to ram down policy proposals even when they are in power.
Too Strong (USA)
@Sam That is easy to answer and why the corporate media attacks progressives. Republicans are wholly owned by the wealthy and don't even hide it. These donors fund republicans and democrats. These donors are waging class warfare to make sure workers remain in poverty or near poverty. That means greater power and control for themselves. The irony is either way they are rich and is irrelevant but they are so ignorant they can't figure that out. The donors paid off the republicans to use the first bill Manchin sponsored to give them a candy bag of goodies for republican states. They want blue states to fix their red state infrastructure that is failing because they won't properly tax. This allows the wealthy to not pay the taxes but puts it on us wage earners. This is a double win. They also paid members in the house to decouple the two bills. The agreement was they would go together as that was the unity message and to pass the democrats agenda with some things republicans wanted. Now they only want to pass what the republicans want and force it down our throats while attacking progressives and dividing the democratic party. The donors are the ones who divide the democrats. That is what is going on. Sinema just ran off to Europe with republican donors for a nice trip. They have bought her off and she can't look her voters in the face because of it. The division is from corruption. And it is killing our nation. This is class warfare.
HP (Maryland)
Is it wrong to ask for infrastructure to be included in the bill? That's what she is asking for before she agrees to the bill. Candidate Biden did run on this promise and many who voted for him did think he would fix the infrastructure which is in a total mess. You fear what would happen to the roads,bridges and rails with the next storm,tornado,hurricane or flooding. So if Sinema is standing her ground I would applaud her not chastise her. Maybe she also promised her people that infrastructure would finally be addressed if Biden became president and does not want to sound like a lier to them.
Greg (Troy NY)
Dems must primary Sinema or they will get absolutely nothing done post-midterms. She has cynically taken advantage of the fact that the Senate is 50-50 for personal gain and power. She may very well be the most "bought" Dem in congress right now. Even Manchin, famously a thorn in the Dem Senate's side for years, is visibly more reasonable and ready to negotiate (or at least justify) his resistance to the Biden agenda. On top of that, Manchin comes from a much redder state, so Sinema has comparably more leeway to move left (or should I say to the center...). She thinks she can just be another McCain and be a "maverick", but even McCain voted with his own party about 90% of the time. The sad thing is that she doesn't even really need to win re-election- she has her government pension and her DC lobbyist/donor connections now. She is Made, at our expense. Shame on her.
Jeffrey campbell (Phoenix)
It seems that she has already left. Imagine what will happen when she switches parties and Republicans then control the senate. The Democrats can’t see the forest for the trees. They had and still could have the opportunity to make significant moves. Eliminate the filibuster. Stack the supreme court. Start passing legislation that can improve the lower and middle class lives and most importantly pass laws that protect everyone’s voting rights. Unfortunately, this won’t happen. This will probably be the last time my generation will ever see the Democrats in control of anything. I am a baby boomer from Arizona and I voted for her. I I won’t make the same mistake again.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@Jeffrey campbell Maybe she listened to Obama and Biden and Schumer when they went on endlessly about how important it is we preserve the filibuster. Unlike them, who changed their minds as soon as it was politically expedient, she's not a hypocrite and is still standing firm. The fun part will be when the GOP takes back the Senate and people like you and Schumer and Biden go right back to explaining why the filibuster is so important.
M Ford (USA)
It is good to see diversity reaching the Democratic party like it has the Republicans. For the longest time, the Democrats promoted appearance diversity and thought homogeneity. The Republicans could care less what you looked like, they value lifestyle, thought, culture and viewpoint diversity, individualism. Conservative Democrats are rejecting the progressive thought diversity movement within their party. They consider it an inconvenience to have an intelligent discussion with a peer about matters of national importance.
Ben (Florida)
Republicans certainly do not value a diversity of viewpoints. They are far more wedded to groupthink than progressives. All you have to do is question Trump once and you’re out of the club.
gurnblanstonreturns (Richmond, VA)
By the accident of Senate math, Sinema finds herself in a position of outsized leverage. But, despite the contentions of this well-written and generously even treatment of her and her position, she has simply shown that she is the Democratic equivalent of Marco Rubio and former House Speaker Paul Ryan - empty suits in the deep end of the pool well beyond their capabilities, yet at the same time, the beneficiaries of way too much undeserved attention and an access to real power which they cannot handle.
James (90068)
I think it's time for her to stop ignoring the agenda that won Biden 81 million votes (she was elected with about 1.2 million votes) and pretending like she doesn't need to represent the coalition of people who worked so hard to elect her and give Democrats a majority. Politicians owe their constituents real representation - she is the opposite of that. She took voters' support and now treats them with contempt. It's an appalling betrayal that AZ voters won't forget.
Carl (Idaho)
She seems determined to undermine the hard work and short time frame Democrats have to get important things done. She never criticizes or mocks Republicans who are the actual partisan hacks with no intention of "working with Democrats" to get important things done. She strikes me as someone in love with the reflection of her own face in the mirror. It's all about her. And it's working. For her, but not for us. The country elected Democrats to get important things done. She can contribute to the effort, but she doesn't seem much interested in that. Republican love her because she does their work for them.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@Carl The country barely elected the Democrats because Donald Trump was vile.Their entire agenda was anti-Trump. That's it. They have nothing else to run on.
Jennifer (Palm Harbor)
She may call herself a democrat but she does not act like one. Actions speak much louder than words.
trebor (USA)
No, it's about money. Faux intellectual "independence" hides a very clear opportunistic corruption. This is classic anti-Progressive Liberal divisiveness. I'm making the distinction between Progressive policy, which is strongly focused on the material well-being of the working class, middle class, and poor, vs. Liberals who focus on identity and "Social Justice" political issues. Sinema uses Liberal issues along with absurd bipartisanship rhetoric to mask the reality that she is a corporatist who works against the material well being of the working class, which is to say most of the middle class and the poor. Ultimately she favors more power and more money for the financial elite. That is the reality of her most important political position. That is not uncommon among Democrats. Most are in the pocket of some Big Money interest. But most recognize that the country is seriously out of balance in wealth and politics and that Progressive policy will actually help maintain the status quo by relieving the serious material insecurity the lower 80% of Americans experience every day. Our National Anger level will go up if the $3.5tr BBB plan is Not passed. It will go down if it is passed. If it does not go down, the disruption caused by future protests and violence against some form of the establishment may not be controllable. The financial elite who understand Enlightened Self Interest know that the masses must be taken better care of. Sinema appears not to be among them.
DD (Paris France)
My family I am were her voters, we will never vote for her again.
Tara (MI)
Based on the Republican enthusiasm for this person (in these comments, thinly veiled ), she's their best bet in Congress. The only part of Trumpism that's genuinely Republican is the blockade of Congress.
Charles (Los Angeles)
Hopefully she will soon be unemployed. If the voters wanted a Republican they would have voted for one. I don't see any political future for her.
Keith Wheelock (Skillman, NJ)
I think of the statement “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.’The vexing challenge is for Democratic leaders to determine whether Sinema is a friend or an enemy. Which is the least worst alternative?
Anna (Nj)
This is an exhaustive analysis of her -- another piece on her in the world's leading paper, much to her delight. She lost credibility as a Democrat by making that theatrical gesture of voting against the minimum wage and in my eyes she's finished. Anyone who denies a living wage to hard working people shouldn't be a part of the party, period. Yeah, let her go to the Republicans, they'll take her with open arms -- she's already proven to be of the same mind and heart.
Ivan Strunin (Athens, GA)
I think it’s not time for her to leave the Democratic Party, I think it’s just time for her to leave. Her position on negotiating prescription prices shows she’s more beholden to her corporate donors than her constituents. She is a corrupt example of a Democrat who looks more like a member of the Trump family than a principled Senator.
What Is This (Gotham)
When the government “negotiates”, particularly on behave of the substantial population that is age 65 and up, is it truly negotiating? The bottom line is that pharmaceutical companies will be at the mercy of whomever is in the Oval Office.
Al (Florida)
If she wins it may well be the end of democracy. Acting like we cannot tax the rich and and not imposing high taxes on them means the Democrats will lose big time in 2022. The Republicans will win big and will sweep her Democratic colleagues out of office, but she will be able to stay in office. Greed is good for her!
RAH (Jersey City, NJ)
This opinion piece gives the Senator far too much credit. Sinema is decidedly not a political animal with a fully formed World view. In fact, her ideology, far from being "inscrutable", strikes one as profoundly schizophrenic and without any discernible rational consistency. What most distinguishes the Senator is her total embrace of our current narcissistically opportunistic and nihilistic cultural zeitgeist. The flamboyance, the garish wigs, her new found gender repositioning and confused embrace of authoritarian parliamentarianism (i.e., support of the filibuster), when married with her incessant fundraising from Big Pharma and other corporate interests, speaks not to her fealty to any political ideology or ethos, but to her own personal enrichment. It is clear now that Sinema's primary motivation for running for Congress and seemingly sole mission as a U.S. senator is to leverage her office to secure a post-Congressional career in or lobbying for corporate America, complete with the attendant excessive public speaking or lobbying fees that are utterly discordant and at complete odds with the ostensible values she embraced and hand to mouth compensation she received as a community organizer and social worker. Unfortunately, Sinema perfectly embodies the personal character traits esteemed in the era of Trumpism which are, at the end of the day, shameful, mercenary and any existential threat to our democracy.
Jonathan (USA)
It's time for Sinema to leave politics entirely. Her disregard for her constituents and for the rule of law may be more Republican than Democratic at this point in history, but in fact she'll never be someone qualified to govern. Sinema's self-absorption, her callous disregard for the traditions of our country and her failure to understand the basics of our system of government are her three strikes. Now she needs to be out.
Marcia Shirk (Chandler, AZ)
Jonathan, As a Democrat in Arizona, I must let you know that I agree with you completely in your assessment of Ms. Sinema. I am sorry to say that I voted for her but now greatly regret doing so. The woman who ran against her would have been a terrible Senator, but at least we would have known that ahead of time. Sinema pretended to be someone she most certainly is not and she is betraying all of us who voted for her. I look forward to voting her out of office during the Democratic primary.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@Marcia Shirk Found the person who wishes Martha McSally was her Senator.
michaelscody (Niagara Falls NY)
Or perhaps it is time for the individual people to be more important than whatever letter happens to be after their name? The R/D thing may well have gone on far too long.
Dan (Lafayette)
The problem w it’s your article, Ms. Cottle, is that it relies almost entirely on what she says to paint her as an independent moderate Democrat. But her actions are those of a hard right Senator whose main goal, judging by her actions, is to hand the Senate, the House, and the White House over to Trumpies. In fact, when interviewed by the WSJ, she was asked what policies and practices of Trump’s she objected to, and she was unable or unwilling to nam one. She has already left the Democratic Party.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@Dan Which hard right positions would those be? Pro-choice, voting with the Dems 70% of the time in the House, voting for the Biden agenda 100% of the time in the Senate? Yeah, she's a total right winger. It's always amusing to hear what people who don't have the slightest idea of who Sen Sinema is, outside of what their far left sources have told them, think about her.
oblivious (CA)
I certainly hope she does and believe she should yo make a point that egregious harassment is NOT just a process and acceptable and should not be tolerated. My guess is she would move to an Independant status but I am sure Republicans are already offering her all sorts incentives including committee chairmanships.
Barry Henson (Sydney, Australia)
I'm a big tent Democrat. I believe that a political party should be open to the left, center and right because that's how it grows and how the best ideas comes to the fore. If we begin expelling people because they don't toe the line then we are no better than what is happening in the Republican party.
What Is This (Gotham)
Exactly. For more than four years we’ve heard that adhering to the party line was in opposition to the good of the country. Yet we’re now being told that such ideas don’t apply when the party in office are the Democrats.
McHooper (California)
I think she is assuming that the GOP will take control of Congress in 2022 - and quite likely the WH in 2024. And if the Dems can't get voting rights protection passed, the GOP could control government for a decade+ I think Sinema is reading the tea leaves and sabotaging Biden with full intent to change teams and go full boat Trump to stay in power. And/or: She is banking favors with corporate interests, who oppose Bidens BBB Agenda, so she can cash those favors in and get rich when she quits / is voted out / Dems lose power. She was born poor. She has seen what rich looks like. She likes Rich better. She plans on being Rich. That's my prediction.
NewtonTX (Alabama)
Who is Senator Sinema actually? I haven't seen anything declaring her positions, negotiating principles, wants, desires, aims, or political red lines. How can we get an answer out of the sphinx?
CATango (Ventura)
It is the cheapest of all tactics to simply take a position because you have the authority or ability to do so, which in her case means (temporarily) she holds a blocking vote. Last I heard, no one really quite understood what she wants from all this. At least Manchin wants "less." She certainly doesn't offer leadership; that would require articulate debate after laying out a clear position. The socialists at least are more clear by saying "more" is what they want, although they really haven't a good argument why a nation that has never been socialist (despite repeatedly toying with it) would want to strangle an economic system that has produced the most prosperity and largest economy in the world. Yep, its unbalanced and that has gotten substantially worse in the 50 years of my career, but throwing the baby out with the bathwater is rarely a good idea. If Senema of the State were to articulate a program to select several industries to bring back onshore, e.g. medical equipment/pharmaceuticals/PPE, chip manufacture, machinery, that would be worth listening to. I suspect that would be beyond her skill set. For now, she's just a cinder block in the middle of the road and we're all going to break an axle when we hit it.
Bob K. (Monterey, CA)
Progressives are angry with Senator Sinema? The question is, what does she owe them? If the party in her state has been captured by the radical wing of her party and she loses the primary, I endorse Michelle Cottle's advice for her to run as an independent. In fact, I'd like to see a lot more of this in both parties, because the two main parties that exist now do not deserve their duopoly grip on American politics. Change has to start somewhere.
David Baldwin (Petaluma, CA)
An effective politician would not waste the time of her party the way she has done. The days are passing. They are crucial to saving our democracy. She, and her party, need to get things done. Now.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@David Baldwin It's just a foreign concept to you that a Senator from a conservative state would pledge fealty to country over party, eh, and not vote for a far left package.
Anne Keane (Edinburgh)
@Stu Gatz far left. Or as they say in every other advanced democracy ‘sensible policies that improve people’s lives’.
Bobotheclown (PA)
Lets see, she is playing the long game to build coalitions that defeat the debilitating partisanship of modern politics because only bipartisan coalitions can get things done? That is a noble idea. But she is a member of a party that has almost no power and which will lose everything they have in about a year. At that time the partisans that she wants to work with will circle the wagons and block everything till 2024. Then the Republican will be back in total power and none of the democratic agenda will have been passed in the previous four years. The Republicans will work in lockstep (not a coalition but a cult) and pass more right wing laws in three months than the Biden admin will have passed in four years. When she is no longer the critical road block in front of Democratic policy she will no longer have any value to the Republicans. And the Democrats will shun her. I hope she has a new career planned for Hollywood.
Surdy (Phoenix)
In one word -YES. There is no way I am ever going to vote for her. Changed my party affiliation from Democrat to Independent because I am sick of politicians like her.
RM (Worcester)
Sinema must stay in the party. She represents Arizona and must obey to the will of Arizonians. She should not be beholden to “free for all” propaganda by fringe group. She is a true strength of the party to keep a balance between what is deliverable today vs. utopian wishlist .
Ross Salinger (Carlsbad California)
No, it's time for the Democratic Party to embace the enormous population of centrists instead. We see enormous government waste with every new social program enacted. We see pointless "projects" - trains to nowhere, bridges to nowhere - with nothing actually targeted at the real issues we face in America. We held our noses and voted for Biden but if the Republicans nominate a centrist candidate or simply become less crazy, you Dems will go back to being a permanent minority. Taking care of people who have children that they cannot afford to have, taking care of people who choose not to work, failing to understand that the teachers union is the enemy of quality education, failing to target government waste and directly confronting the immigration situation are things that make no sense to most Americans. Keep up the progressive agenda and you'll have about 30 senators by 2026.
Independent (Voter)
Sinema is corrupt and it is an outrage that she is allowed to continue her affiliation with the Democratic Party. We Democrats did not work to elect a majority and a president only to have everything we worked for scuttled because of two corrupt politicians named Sinema and Manchin. If Biden's policies do not succeed we have congressional leadership to blame and Democratic Party leadership to blame. They have done nothing to stop the corruption playing out in broad daylight by the two obstructionists.
MerseyGrrl (Earth)
She has one constituent; herself.
Jake (Rochester MN)
She'd benefit from a greater perception, certainly among those not intimately acquainted with her morals, values and record, that she took her job seriously. The mocking no vote on minimum wage hike, for example, paints her to the country as a joke. That said, if the Democratic party torpedoes this infrastructure win over progressive demands for what appears to much of the public a spending package of ludicrous proportions that has never adequately been explained to anyone (how can you adequately explain what is included in $3.5 trillion I guess?), it's not going to be her fault or Joe Manchin's. The progressive wing can't get beyond what they won't get if the bill is pared down, rather than looking at what they WILL, which would be all the acceptable spending, PLUS infrastructure, PLUS a win for "their" president going into a critical midterm election year. Just dumb. Nothing has been more effective at making me lean left than the ridiculous republican party, and nothing drives me back toward the center like Democrats who seem so adept at slitting their own throats. Govern like you have the slim "majority" you have, not the non-existant mandate you claim, ESPECIALLY for the minority of progressives who owe that slim Democratic majority to the moderates
Chuck (New Jersey)
Oh, wouldn't it be great if BOTH Sinema and Manchin lest the Democratic Party? Then the Republicans would hold a 52-48 advantage in the Senate and our dear old friend, Mitch, would be back in charge. Brilliant thinking.
David (Arizona)
It’s time Senator Sinema and others like her understand the arguments for not taking action on the filibuster (for instance) cannot be made using any history more than 6 years old. Because, at that time, a person in the name of Donald Trump brought to this country something it has never witnessed - a President intent to dismantle our democracy, plain and simple. Donald Trump, as he and many others have boasted is like “no other”, and as such our democracy is in a time like “no other”. Wake up Senator Sinema! Wake up!
John R. (Arizona)
Politicians should put their constituencies first. A democrat from South Dakota should be somewhat different than a dem from NY state.
Sehior Dem (Arizona)
As an Arizona independent voter, her actions look like her, don't they? I suspect that when push comes to shove (like this metaphor), she can objectively evaluate the issue and keep democracy from crashing onto oblivion.
Patrick Cullinan (Minnesota)
We need a Josh Lyman "Five votes down" moment from Biden. Vote with us, or you're not gonna see a nickel of money coming from any Democrat from the rest of your life. Sinema's choices are costing Americans money, jobs, and lives, plain and simple. It is mind-bogglingly selfish of her to behave this way.
Been There (U.S. Courts)
Is there any credible evidence that Sinema currently is in the Democratic Party?
bikegeezer (moabut)
I think this woman is mentally unbalanced. She holds fundraisers in Arizona with the ultra rich. I think she sees her future as a member of corporate boards with huge compensation and little work. With her designer handbags and shoes she shows she has nothing in common with working men and women. Her vote against the minimum wage was disgusting. So, leave the party. Let the Dems concentrate on flipping Murkowski to an independent. Murkowski is pragmatic, has a good sense of her constituents needs and should have no loyalty to Republicans given their support of her opponent in the last election
bigbigJOE (us)
Their celebrity couple name is JoKyr, and neither are democrats.
Ryan Carlson (Minneapolis)
She’s like a person who goes to the dance with one person and then spends the whole time trying to impress someone else. Some people get off on feeling better/smarter than their own crowd.
Paul (Phoenix, AZ)
This is an emerging theme, one having already been discussed in the local AZ press. Her problem is the one Harry Truman expressed: In a race between a Republican and a Republican, the Republican wins every time. Republicans in AZ use her as a stalking horse to taunt Democrats. They defend her by saying she ran promising to be independent and work across the aisle First, she has been unsuccessful working across the aisle, and the infrastructure bill does not count because it was a complete cave in by Democrats who accepted no climate change provisions and no way to pay for it. She has yet to get a SINGLE Republican to vote on any other joint priorities important to her. So, she is not keeping this campaign promise. And while it is true she NEVER mentioned in her ads she was a Democrat when she ran in 2018, being an independent does not mean you are independent from explaining your positions to your voters. Those people who followed her into the restroom? They were not lobbyists with ready cash in hand, so she refuses to meet with them, so this was their only chance to petition local government. She can't win running as an independent. Republicans in AZ like to troll by saying without her Democrats could lose control of the Senate in 2024. Democrats are lucky the GOP does not win a 60 vote super majority by 2024, especially if Angus King (I-ME) retires. She used Democratic resources to win in 2018. She is obligated to support the party line.
Eric (San Diego)
This thorough analysis of Ms. Sinema's current and potential political maneuvering sidesteps one very crucial point: We are almost out of time to do something meaningful to save our children from the worst-case-scenario climate disaster, and Senator Sinema is one of 52 people preventing it. Those of us who care about the future dared to hope that Democrats could stick together at least on this (and maybe saving American democracy). Is "owning" a disliked political elite more important than averting climate disaster? Shall I tell my kids they'll have to deal with ever-worsening deadly heat waves, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, migrant crises, and God knows what else because many in my generation were annoyed by liberal smugness? All this discussion of "the game" forgets the very real stakes. I honestly don't care what Sen. Sinema (or any other lawmaker) wears, whether she curtsies with her "no" votes, or whose support she courts if she would just show that she appreciates the urgent need to get something done. It makes me weep to watch the small group of folks with any power to help squander it -- chasing illusions of approval that will mean nothing when the bitter fruits of inaction ripen. Ignoring this inexcusable failure is Nero-level malpractice. For heaven's sake, please wake up!
Tim Clark (Los Angeles)
"When the Senate passed the bill in August, it was hailed as a coup for Ms. Sinema....This is the achievement she clearly wants to be identified with — not the social spending package." Ms. Sinema seems to have abandoned progressives just as they have become a force that (finally) must be reckoned with. She is identified with and is personally invested in getting the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed. All her talk about compromising and building consensus flies in the face of her outrage over the House progressives objecting to being rolled again by party conservatives like her. Again: Sen. Sinema is not the main obstacle to a large BBB bill. That would be Sen. Manchin. Once Manchin is on board, Sinema will get on board also -- as she must, if it's the only way to get her bipartisan baby passed into law.
Peter Stix (Albany NY)
The problem with being a "centrist" is that once the democracy is lost to Fascism (= *Trump*), there is no getting back. She and Manchin are playing with fire, and I don't mean that in any good way.
Maridee (USA)
"Is It Time for Kyrsten Sinema to Leave the Democratic Party?" Yes. Quickly and quietly, please, never to utter another word on behalf of the party or platform again.
Charlie Miller (Ellicott City, MD)
She's not a Democrat. She should leave the party. We'll deal with the fallout.
PKoo (Austin)
She will be leaving in the next election because she will be voted out.
don healy (sebring, fl)
So she couldn't get things done as a progressive in AZ and concluded that applied to national politics as well. This flattering column does nothing to dispel the notion that she is a narcissistic opportunist (although she has a lot of company in Washington in that regard).
Paul (Phoenix, AZ)
@don healy Conservatives in the local AZ press LOVE her and use her to troll the Democrats.
Pitchforks: check Torches: check (Fl)
She was in the green party like a minute ago. Now she wants to cut the global warming legislation by 100 million? Corrupt as they come.
Sixofone (The Village)
Time to leave the party? Now, with a 50-50 Senate? Are you joking?
E. D. (TX)
She's cringe worthy and I resent her destroying Biden's agenda and the party and our democracy.
Bruce (California)
But if Ms Sinema left the Democrat party, then the Senate goes back to Mitch McConell!
Owen (Canada)
This article is brought to you by the Committee to Re-Elect DINOs.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
Time for Arizona to elect only Democrats who have no constituents in Arizona who will follow the Party line? If the Democrats want solid majorities in the Congress that get re-elected, they need to welcome dissenters like Sinema. This fixation upon passing legislation that less than or barely half of the elected representatives is neurotic. To build things to last the legislation must have solid majorities without angry and resentful near majorities who could reverse those acts.
Paul (Phoenix, AZ)
@Casual Observer That is what Dems thought they were getting in AZ when she ran. She did run on certain policy positions including the problems with climate change. Now she wants to cut $100 billion from BBB for climate change. She won in 2018, a blowout year for Democrats, by just 2% of the vote against an awful challenger.
Eugene Gorrin (Union, NJ)
Just like Kyrsten Sienna criticized Joe Lieberman, the same can now be said of her: She’s a shame to Democrats. She seems to want to get Republicans voting for her - what kind of strategy is that? Sinema, along with Joe Manchin, is derailing President Biden’s and the Democrats’ legislative objectives, as well as the Democratic Party’s chances of maintaining control of the House and Senate in the 2022 mid-terms, and the White House in the 2024 election. Not cool Kyrsten.
Tom (Syracuse, NY)
While she revels in the attention and seeks to trim the social spending bill, people's lives hang in the balance. And by keeping the filibuster and not passing the voting reforms our democracy hangs in the balance. Her future as an independent or whatever she will be won't matter when the deranged GOP is in charge.
beachboy (San Francisco)
Follow the money and you will know exactly who she represents. Those who give her an excuse because she represents a red state are politically shallow, her real pollical philosophy is to server her donors at the expense of her voters. Voting against the national minimum wage increase has nothing to do with being from a conservative state. People like Manchin and Sinema proves that our system is rigged.
A. Cleary (NY)
Ms. Cottle is more generous than I can bring myself to be. There may indeed be more to Sen. Sinema than she's given credit for, but that's largely her own fault. She's cultivated this sphinx-like superficial outsider/rebel/anti-Washington beltway persona while she cashes the checks of Big Pharma and other corporate interests antithetical to that position. Does this remind you of a certain Orange One? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice... And now she's on a fundraising trip to...Europe?! Is she running for a seat in the EU Parliament?? She's an attention-seeking narcissist who knows which side her bread is buttered on. And that's ALWAYS the side she'll be on. Her opposition to raising the minimum wage and her stubborn refusal to help pass the Biden admin's bill to lift poor and middle class people out of the Guilded Age hell we've sunk into tells you all you need to know about her. She's dancing with the ones who brought her. If she's so wedded to compromise, why can't she bring herself to compromise with her own party to support policies that the overwhelming majority of the American people, including her constituents, strongly support? She and Joe Manchin have their eyes squarely on their own political fortunes and the American people be damned.
James F Traynor (Punta Gorda, FL)
Being contrarian on an issue or two is one thing, being contrarian for its own sake another. I came away from this piece with a less dim view of Sinema and in agreement with the author on suggesting she, Sinema, become an Independent. I don't think she'd last very long, unlike Sanders, who although independent at least stands for something.
Jefflz (San Francisco)
She is owned and operated by the Republican Party for he own personal profit. She is a Democrat in party name only. She and Manchin, her GOP buddy, help give the impression that the Democratic Party can be in charge of the Senate when in fact they cannot.
Neil Robinson (New Mexico)
Ms. Sinema has split with her party. As long as she clings to support for the filibuster Ms. Sinema will serve as a destructive instrument benefitting Senate Republicans. If the Democratic Party leadership is unable to salve Ms. Sinema’s delicate ego, how can it expect to successfully govern a country divided and under the sway of a right-wing propaganda machine?
BT (USA)
Progressives only have a voice on the national stage because the suburbs gave Democrats the House and Sinema and Manchin gave them the Senate. The idea that any member of the Democrat Party (let alone a Senator from the not exactly Socialist bastion of Arizona) is beholden to some Progressive wish-list to have the Feds distribute trillions and trillions of tax dollars is absurd and suicidal to the Democrats chances nationally. Seriously, pumping trillions of dollars into the economy is the plan when facing high inflation during a labor shortage? You don’t have to be a corporate shill to have concerns, in fact you’d have to be a crazy Progressive to not be concerned!
Socrates (Downtown Verona, NJ)
Sinema and Manchin are "bipartisan" politcal performance artists smothered in campaign finance contribution syrup. The Republican Party's raison d'être is Grand Old Power at all costs in order to feed the rich....no matter the harm to the the nation, democracy, voting rights, American lives, the common good and sensible public policy. They are awful, but they only have significance because 50 Republican Senators are also owned and operated by America's millionaires and billionaires. It's time to demonstrate against the Grand Oligarchy Puppets driving this country along an endless highway of feudalism.
Paul (Phoenix, AZ)
@Socrates Time to ask why the media is not pointing out that neither Sinema nor Manchin have been able to get even ONE Republican to come to their side on anything given their claim the filibuster promotes compromise.
RMC (NYC)
This is not complicated. I have been in the workplace since 1973. Krysten Sinema is a pathological narcissist, with no program, no path, no principles, no ability to negotiate; playacting at being a “Senator,” feminist, environmentalist, or whatever costume she dons today; and incapable of performing her job. Her advanced degrees are irrelevant. No real-world skills onthe order now demanded of Sinema are required to pass an exam, write a paper (or a dissertation), or take the bar exam. Teaching at college level - and I do - does not require the self-discipline, organized practical thinking or social skills needed to teach high school (my sister), let alone function as an effective U.S. Senator. She’s a loose cannon, in a field of vulnerable targets. Big trouble for Democrats, because there is no way they will persuade her to get on board. She can’t get to “yes,” i.e., in her view, concede to her opponents, w/o sacrificing self-esteem. She will merely keep grandstanding. The main point to be understood about narcissists is that they know, deep down, that they are frauds, and are terrified of exposure. Krysten Sinema knows that she is way, way out over her skis; she is floundering, and we are sunk.
Don (Green Valley AZ)
"She could practically write the messaging for an independent candidacy in her sleep." That is the biggest laugh I have had in days. Independents (like myself since the days of Ray Gun Ronnie) can't stand politicians that suckle from the corporate donor teat. Her true allegiance is to getting stuff done that the corporate world wants, not the voter. She should have tried running as an independent, but she threw in with the AZ Democrats and resented being out of influence, and as a result she cozied up with the AZ Republicans and their kooks included. The AZ Republicans only have the majority in the state government because of the numerous kooks they get elected out here. I'm not a Democrat by choice, but there is no way in He-doubleL I'd ever be a Republican.
Lew (New York)
All I want to know is Where Does She Get Her Money eg. campaign contributions etc.? Is there Dark Money involved? That fact can tell you more about a current politician than anything else...even sexual orientation.
Andy Jay (Denver)
Ah, "I am a maverick for the sake of being a maverick." John McCain she ain't.
PATRICK (Pennsylvania)
Interesting analysis. There is a problem with getting Biden's social safety net global climate change fighting bill passed. There is a possible explanation as to why Senator Sinema insists on immediate passage of the Infrastructure bill first and why it risks the Biden bill. Senator Manchin is from the Coal mining state of West Virginia and Senator Sinema is from the State of Arizona where 60% of the Copper our nation consumes comes from it's Coal fired Reverbatory Smelters. It may be they plan on scuttling the Social safety net Climate change fighting Bill for the sake of Coal as they have been dragging it out for many weeks now. The House Progressives are correct to demand passage of the bill before the infrastructure bill.
Annie (Phoenix,AZ)
Sinema scammed her AZ voters. Plain and simple. She needs to go.
Birchibald T Barlow (USA)
No.
Technic Ally (Toronto)
Sinema vérité.
Bob Carroll (new york city)
Once a wingnut always a wingnut.
stewart bolinger (westport, ct)
Sinema should stay. Schumer should go. The Senate leadership fails to deliver and even to offer voters a compelling case for their election and re-election. Secondly, they campaign apologetically. Once they act as if they have profound issues with the GOP, the voters might quit dismissing the tweedle dee tweedle dum niggling fumblers atop the Senate Democrats. Liberal Republicans of yesteryear are now liberal Democrats. Wow. Watch Schumer read, read, from his Senate lectern! How is that for inspiration and a call to battle for a meaningful cause? Schumer is an inspirational joke. Schumer is the minority leader: He tells the GOP his plans. That leads the GOP to formulate their blocking strategy that they then implement. Schumer thanks McConnell and God for the filibuster and the Democrat controlled Senate celebrates standard operating procedure and stalemate at their strongest. Sister Sinema is a very small sideshow. The boulder in the way is the tradition bound Democratic Senate leadership.
Paul (Phoenix, AZ)
@stewart bolinger What is Sinema's compelling case for re-election? Her ability to use the filibuster to forge compromise? Still waiting.
Kevin (Phoenix)
The Democrats spent the last eight plus years fighting on twitter instead of developing a consistent platform for large legislation. You get what you get when it is all about social media.
TB (Atlanta)
Not a person I would vote for but you have to admire her for standing her ground and not caving like the rest of the Party.
Conrad Noel (Washington, DC)
She isn’t standing her ground, she’s grandstanding. There’s a big difference.
Bob (Brooklyn)
The existential crisis we face as a nation is not that two allegedly Democratic Senators are acting like Republicans. The reason they are dangerous is their failure to acknowledge that if Congress does not pass voting rights legislation there will be no future for the Democratic Party at the national level, drastically diminished prospects at the local level in most states, and almost certain success for Donald Trump, the Republican Party, and the right-wing extremist groups who support them. Are Sinema & Manchin willing to allow the USA to turn into a country led by a "President for Life" and run by white supremacists, anti-Semites, misogynists, homophobes, xenophobes, union-busters, conspiracy theorists, religious fanatics, and domestic terrorists all protected by minority rule, the Supreme Court, and sympathetic law enforcement and military personnel? The future of our country is now a binary choice. Like it or not, the "middle of the road" leads to ruin. You can't be bipartisan or compromise with those who will gladly destroy our democracy if you let them. Which side are you on?
Climate Change (CA)
Kyrsten “ Cinema” would be a more appropriate name. She is all about show! No substance !!
Martin (Iowa)
Thank you NYT for a reasonable description of someone who is often poorly characterized in print. Setting the record straight.
steffie (Princeton)
In a single word, "Absolutely!"
Mimi (Southwest)
My first impression of Simena was that she seemed to immature for the job, now I know she is. I get the feeling she never got the “service” part, just the “what’s in it for me” part.
Easy Goer (Louisiana)
Manchin and Sinema need to take their show on the road to Republica. Btw, didn't read beyond the headline.
Rando Randy (Meddle Amuricah)
I hope Sienna has enjoyed the spotlight in her last term. She’s a Republican in Democrat’s clothing and scammed her way in to office. If she magically ended the filibuster, tossed the other guy in prison and packed the courts we might forgive her but I don’t see a real path to re-election for her. Honestly, AZ should recall her or replace her ASAP. Fool me once…
Blunt (New York City)
It is time to KICK her out of the Democratic Party. Like, today.
Wheelerfield41 (Baltimore,Md)
What a flake ! Almost makes me long for the days when party whips were respected and feared in the same breath . The Dems are doomed . Between Sinema and Manchin the Un-Dems , it's like herding kittens .Run 'em out of the party on a rail !
Themis (State College, PA)
This Democrat did not wait for Sinema to leave the Democratic party. He left it first.
LT (Toronto, Ontario)
It is just too bad that there were not a couple Republicans who see the benefits of Build Back Better and would vote for it and the Dems could tell Sinema and Manchin to...you know....
Bulldawg (DC)
YES! Next question.
hm1342 (NC)
"y Senate standards, Ms. Sinema is an odd duck: a nonreligious openly bisexual young woman with a salty wit and a flair for the dramatic Have you ever accused Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez of having a flair for the dramatic?
SW (Boston)
Frankly, I think she should grow up and act responsibly. She acts like an air head, which she probably is. If she isn't, she should grow up.
Robert (Oakland)
This is a rhetorical question, right?
PhillyMama (Seattle)
Um, yes? She’s a vapid, self-absorbed grandstander uninterested in doing the job for which she was elected. DINO, indeed!
Sara (Princeton)
I wish I was an investigative journalist. I would’ve hopped on a plane to Paris and London and camped out at Sinema’s hotel to see how many stores she visited in order to augment her already bizarre inappropriate wardrobe, and how many lavish meals paid for by Pharma, business, etc….
Butch (California)
A primary will sort out that fake Democrat. Too bad she still has until 2024 to sink Biden’s agenda.
Abby (Tucson)
Did the news misspeak this AM when they said she was in Europe fundraising? Nigel can really move that laundry truck!
Nancy Keefe Rhodes (Syracuse, NY)
Yep. Come clean & go home.
Bill (SF, CA)
I wish she'd wear her pink tutu to the Senate which has become the laughing stock of democratic cynics.
David (Morges, Switzerland)
The best thing for Kyrsten Sinema do for herself, her constituents and te country would be to step down and leave the Senate!
Facechange (Seattle)
She is like trump narcissist and seeking attention She does not have idea what she is doing as a senator. Blah blah blah Ego only trying to be flashy and having the high life.
Peter J Comerford (Portsmouth RI)
if she wasn't raising buckets of money from people who oppose this, I might think more highly of her grand gesture at post-partisanship.
AW2020 (SF)
Whatever the issue might be, it's high time that democrats quit squabbling and come to a compromise. Progressives have a razor thin majority and should not expect to drive the entire agenda unilaterally and anger half the country. More importantly, the country cannot survive four more years of Trump.
Laura (Chicago, IL)
If her "guiding principle" is her abhorrence for toxicity and dysfunction why does her behavior only feed toxicity and dysfunction? She is currently the face of dysfunction in the senate.
Bob Carroll (new york city)
In the name of bipartisanship the entire Biden agenda will come crashing down; McConnell and McCarthy will take their respective leaderships; Trump will win in 2024 and end our democracy. How will this scenario improve any Americans' lives? Everyone including Biden better wake up and smell the coffee before it's too late.
November 2018 has Come; 2020 is Coming (Vallejo)
For Sinema to become "a force to be reckoned with for years to come," she first has to be reelected, which would involve paying some attention to the desires of the constituents who sent her there to represent them. This, in her queenly way, she refuses to do by refusing all meetings with people who knocked on doors and gave money to get her elected and putting out high-minded statements about what she "will" and "will not" do and declaring that demands for her time or even for clarification of her positions are somehow inappropriate and insulting to her, though she is not apparently insulted by the attentions of big corporate lobbyists. She is lapping up all the media attention while relaxing in her ivory tower, and I hope she makes the most of it while she can because the voters of Arizona along with the Democratic party have turned against her.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@November 2018 has Come; 2020 is Coming I'm one of her constituents. I voted for her as I have a house in AZ. She's doing exactly what i want her to do. And guess what? Out of all my friends and colleagues, we all are with her 100%, and most of my friends are Dems.
Laura (Chicago, IL)
If her "guiding principle" is her abhorrence for toxicity and dysfunction why does her behavior only feed toxicity and dysfunction? She is currently the face of dysfunction in the senate.
Jim (Washington, DC)
Seems like the author is enamored by the rebellious destructiveness of Sinema. Its one thing to be independent minded but another to be an enabler of a republican party that no longer believes in democracy, facts or bipartisanship. Sinema is pretending to seek a solution with republicans that isn't there. She's allowing the disenfranchisement of large swaths of the electorate by Republicans by not getting rid of the filibuster and passing the voting rights act. She's betraying the very people who elected her.
Jim (Washington, DC)
Seems like the author is enamored by the rebellious destructiveness of Sinema. Its one thing to be independent minded but another to be an enabler of a republican party that no longer believes in democracy, facts or bipartisanship. Sinema is pretending to seek a solution with republicans that isn't there. She's allowing the disenfranchisement of large swaths of the electorate by Republicans by not getting rid of the filibuster and passing the voting rights act. She's betraying the very people who elected her.
Jim (Washington, DC)
Seems like the author is enamored by the rebellious destructiveness of Sinema. Its one thing to be independent minded but another to be an enabler of a republican party that no longer believes in democracy, facts or bipartisanship. Sinema is pretending to seek a solution with republicans that isn't there. She's allowing the disenfranchisement of large swaths of the electorate by Republicans by not getting rid of the filibuster and passing the voting rights act. She's betraying the very people who elected her.
Andy (Charlotte)
She reminds me of Kylie Irving. More power to her and her whimsical, individualistic nature!
Carson (Colorado)
Increasingly through the years, Republicans -and now Senator Kyrsten Sinema- have become more and more revealing and frank about their actual motives: to take all the chips and run. Sinema figures on the perfect gig: a six (6) year term as a U.S. Senator in which to make piles of dough and then to skedaddle. She will not resign from such a perfect setup.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@Carson Just because you obviously have shabby motives for your actions doesn't mean everyone else does. With her law degree and her Ph.D. Sen Sinema could be making far more than what she currently makes if money was the object. It isn't, but thank you for letting us know you think you can read minds.
david (Florida)
Sad to see many folks here wishing her to leave the so called big tent party. Not so big a tent when you cross progressives. We must be better! Especially in welcoming moderates back into the discussion and needed compromises.
steffie (Princeton)
@david First and foremost, I am absolutely in favor of welcoming moderates within the Democratic Party, engaging in bipartisanship as Ms. Sinema claims she does, etc. But, as I'm sure you know oh-so-well, the prefix "bi" means, "two." And right now, party number two, being the Republican Party, has been absent for well over two decades now. No offense, David, but I, for one, am sick and tired of the Democratic Party playing Mr. Nice Guy. Republicans all over the South are feverishly dismantling the voting rights of people like me, i.e., Black people, curtailing the rights of women and LGBTQ people, and yet you are asking me to play nice? How many times will you allow someone to hit you over the head with a cudgel before you say, "Enough already," and grab a cudgel yourself? I'm sure you are familiar with the scene in "A Christmas Story", in which the main character, Ralphy, loses it and goes after the kid who has been taunting him time after time after time. Well, call me Ralphy!
Bill Scurrah (Tucson Arizona)
If she doesn’t leave the Democrats, the Democrats will leave her.
Evan (Atherton, CA)
It is time for Biden to promise her an ambassadorship to Sweden if 1) she votes for all the Dems agenda and 2) a Democrat becomes governor of AZ in 2022 and can replace her with a Democrat. She has no interest in being a legislator. But swanky parties with beautiful Swedish men and women…..
Jonathan (Mauritius)
Another article to keep the treadmill moving. She feeds off the attention. Newspapers feed off her obstruction. And so on...
Zach (High Falls, NY)
You give Sinema way too much credit for being a thoughtful, principled tactician. I don’t see her as anything more than a corrupt tool of the corporate lobbyists who have bought her off. She is currently on a fundraising tour in Europe rather than in Arizona with her constituents. She’s making a lot of money off this grift. Articles like this just veil the naked corruption at the core of her lying scheme. She’s like Trump in this regard. It’s just about getting rich.
Sterno (Va)
Unsaid in this is that the main issue isn't political. This isn't the core issue. The issue is that Sinema's bizarre swings in behavior and politics spring from her being mentally ill and deeply unstable. She's isn't a "maverick." She's a pathological narcissist. Her core is her instability, her actions are driven by an inner personal theater. Her "politics" are driven not by any rational politics or ideology. What could be more satisfying to a pathological narcissist than holding her party hostage? Constant media attention. Constant ego stroking by the president is enabling her dysfunction. This is why she can't articulate what she wants, or for that matter articulate, via human speech, a coherent position. Or speak with constituents. Or hold a press conference. "Negotiation" with Sinema isn't about compromise, or articulation of a rational coherent position. It's about enabling.
roaxle (Tucson, AZ)
Sinema's "aggressive across-the-aisle outreach" means nothing when she won't even listen to her own constituents. Since her election, she has had numerous meetings with big money donors and not one single town hall. Those of us who contributed and pounded the pavement to get her elected feel betrayed. She needs to take a lesson from Molly Ivins: You got to dance with them what brung you. Otherwise, she should prepare for more bathroom confrontations.
Greg Morgan (Wyckoff NJ)
Informative summary on Sinema. While the suggestion that she she become an independent is probably appropriate, this would seem to be heading down the wrong path. Dems need the moderate centrists in the senate (including Sinema & Manchin). The structure of the senate currently favors the GOP and Dems have no wiggle room. The current situation is similar in the house, again no wiggle room at this point. I’m sure the GOP don’t always appreciate the likes of Murkowski, Collins, Cheney & Kinzinger, but a more centrist approach (e.g. house problem solver caucus) has appeal to a lot of moderates. Many moderate Dems have much more discomfort with the liberal wing than folks like Manchin or Gottheimer in the house.
Jean (Cleary)
If she really had principles Sinema would agree to end the Filibuster so that the Voting Rights Bill would be voted into law. After all, it could benefit her if she decides to ride as an Independent
viridian (South Bend, IN)
The irony, of course, is that by taking a hard-line stance on building coalitions with the other side, she is effectively causing the very type of ineffective road block that such coalitions would theoretically prevent. I hate to say it, but the Republicans aren't going to play ball when it is back in their court. They may not be entirely unified, but they are very consistent when it comes to changing the rules to make sure they maintain political power despite an ideals that are becoming less and less popular with an increasingly diverse electorate.
Robert (NYC)
In general I don't like to see moderates pushed out of either party, because it further polarizes us. I do wish she would vote to get rid of the filibuster. I'll say this about the filibuster though..conventional wisdom holds that democrats will get crushed in the midterms, and lose both the house and the senate. If that happens, we may wish that we retained the filibuster.
WTig3ner (CA)
If she can't (or won't) even articulate what she does stand for, she should not merely leave the Democratic party, she should just leave.
Gillman Royce (Palm Springs)
Please don't forget that should she decide not to run again she can keep all the money she has raised by putting it in an IRA. Then she can become a lobbyist and sell her influence to the highest bidder. Apparently all she cares about is herself . She doesn't seem to be centered. No idea how she ever got elected to the Senate but Arizona is beginning to sound like one scary place.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@Gillman Royce False. She cannot put it into an IRA. She also cannot use it to lobby. She can, however, donate it to other candidates or create a PAC to push forth her ideas, which is what around 95% of retiring politicians do. Given that she's been a professor in the grad school at ASU for the last 20 years and still teaches there, it's interesting that you seem to know so much about her, her motives, and her future plans, and yet didn't mention that she often states she will teach at ASU until she retires.
Jasper Lamar Crabbe (Boston, MA)
I think it's time for all democrats to leave the democratic party. I cannot think of a less cohesive body of politicians to be in place during my lifetime. Those long tenured Reps and Senators (Pelosi at 34 years, Schumer at 21, Feinstein at 29, M. Waters at 30) are relics and have proven time and again that they cannot possibly control these young upstarts. It's time for that old guard to step away and let the next wave of actually intelligent younger dems (Katie Porter, talking to you) step in.
Hal Paris (Boulder, colorado)
Certainly not! It is time for the Sinema party, where none of the candidates tell you what they stand for, even after you vote for them, just so you can find out but you never do. Real Mavericks, and definitely not a team player ever! We can call it the "I wonder Party"
sjs (Bridgeport, CT)
inscrutability? You can't work with somebody who doesn't talk to you, doesn't tell you what's on her mind, and doesn't tell you where she stands.
Mark Thomason (Clawson, MI)
Would we be better off if the Senate was organized and run by McConnell? If we shift 50:50 to 51:49, that is what we get. No more VP tiebreaker to save Dems, because there'd be no tie to break. That is what Kyrsten Sinema would take with her, if she left the Democratic Party.
Pete (USA)
The answer to the question of what makes this odd person tick is simple and obvious: Glam Girl doesn't have any coherent political positions. She is so wrapped up in herself that she doesn't have time think about such things. She is a failure in every way that matters to her official responsibilities and is engaged solely in the cultivation of her own twisted sense of self.
Dick (Albuquerque, NM)
I think her main goal is to get as much lobbist money as posssible. She doesn't represent Arizona or the American people just her own selfish interests, To my mind this fits best with her recent actions in Congress. Prerry SAD.
Lana (Here And Now)
Interesting analysis. Yet it seems to me that as a policy maker on behalf of the citizens of this country, it’s not enough to stand on a platform of political strategy - whether you agree with it or not. We need legislators that stand on a platform of values that serve the well-being of the citizens. This article confirms that no one knows what her core values and policy stances are. Not good enough!!
Justanne (San Francisco, CA)
She's a moderate. There are literally MILLIONS of us. The Left can't govern because there's no boundary to the left, of the Left. The Right can't govern because they are now Trump. This has always been a moderate country and we need moderate voices to unite us.
Carol (Florida)
I think it's time for Sinema to leave Congress. She has many "more important" things to do. Apparently she prefers all her other endeavors more than the job she was elected to do in Congress. High time for her to stop obstructing and to leave the Senate.
PATRICK (Pennsylvania)
Interesting analysis. There is a problem with getting Biden's social safety net global climate fighting bill passed. There is a possible explanation as to why Senator Sinema insists on immediate passage of the Infrastructure bill first and why it risks the Biden bill. Senator Manchin is from the Coal state of West Virginia and Senator Sinema is from the State of Arizona where 60% of the Copper our nation consumes comes from it's Coal fired Reverbatory Smelters.
HelgaGiselaMeisterzock (Oklahoma)
Silence with regard to her bottom line is not leadership or negotiation, it’s gratuitous self indulgence. She won’t be re-elected and she’ll claim independence.
ART (NC)
Two questions. First, if she scorns identity politics, why do the rest of us need to know her sexual orientation? Second, as long as she remains wedded to the filibuster, how does she expect to "get things done"? She cannot honestly believe that even she can build coalitions large enough to win a two-thirds vote.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@ART Can you please point to an example of her embracing identity politics? Or how about a speech where she references her bisexuality? I won't hold my breath. Her identifying as bisexual is no more "identity politics" than would be you putting Mr. or Ms. before your name.
david (Florida)
@ART she help get a bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in the Senate. A very popular bill now still sitting in the House for nearly two months.
D P Luna (Belleville Illinois)
Although there is reason in this considered, insightful piece on Sinema to grant to her more credit than one might have before – especially on her issues with progressives she has articulated – her continuing obeisance to the filibuster; her issues with the Democratic policy agenda to the limited extent she has deigned to share them with us; and her willful recalcitrance within the Democratic caucus of which she is a member (for now, anyway), will be the undoing of the bare majorities Democrats have in Congress, not to mention then handing the fate of democracy in America to the tender mercies of a Republican Party that, having fallen under the spell of a sublime demagogue and would-be dictator and succumbed to that, simply no longer believes in democracy and will not be bound by the outcome of elections, so central to it and however fair, that it does not win. Does Sinema get this? Does she care? Who knows?
Michael B. English (Crockett, CA)
There is nothing new in this fluff piece. Just endless praise for the concept of bipartisanship that totally ignores what the Republicans have done with bipartisanship. This is the true irony of Kristen Semina: She came to worship by partisanship in an environment in which by partisanship was the only way that he underrepresented party could get anything done. Now, she and Joe Manchin are the only reason why her party- Which could otherwise accomplish every single one of its legislative goals- can accomplish almost nothing.
Steve Newman (Washington, DC)
She does not strike me as in the mold of John McCain. He may have been a maverick, but his worldview was consistent. Sinema has gone from supporting Ralph Nader and the Green Party to taking actions that are the opposite of the people/groups she previously supported. When she ran for this seat, she positioned herself as typical Liberal Democrat, not as a liberal Republican. Moving to the Independent column now will not help her. She will not win the Democratic nomination in 2024.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@Steve Newman You have a problem with a person changing their views from what they were 20 years ago? Oh, wait. It depends on how they changed them, right?
DinMn (Minnesota)
This is a wonderfully written piece that goes to the heart of who Sinema is, and reflects someone who is strong in her convictions. And completely divorced from political reality...
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
Solidarity, no room for any who represent voters who dissent from the Party doctrines. The Republicans and the Democrats are fed up with liberal democracy and government by consent of the governed. Pick a side or be the target of animosity by both sides.
Kakistocrat (Iowa)
Ms. Sinema comes off as an insincere social climber who loves both the new-found attention and the mountain of cash she is sure to get just by virtue of being a senator. Lacking any true moral center she exhibited pretensions to make herself attractive to those who actually hold progressive ideals, and wormed her way into a position of heady power and influence. By the time Arizona voters send her to a life of well-paid lobbying she will have inflicted irreparable damage to our democracy.
Dr. Schlitz (Mt. Washington)
I generally do not hold people in high regard who make wholeshifts in their political outlook. The ability to go from Naderite to the conservative edge of the Democratic coalition reflects an intellectual shallowness that I cannot respect. Ms. Sinema is not suited to serving in the Senate. I urge her not to seek re-election.
Dan (Oregon)
My take on Sen. Sinema is that she's taking the same "performance over substance" approach to governing as many on the right have adopted. I don't know what else to make of her, given her absence of a clearly articulated set of positions. If she's actually trying to create a more centrist approach to politics than what we currently have, then why can't she say that in unequivocal terms?
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@Dan She has stated that. Repeatedly, going back to when she first ran for the House of Reps.
J L Tomlin (Dallas, Tx)
Don't you mean time for her to actually join it?
Ndubs (Houston)
So Sen. Sinema only thinks about her own principles and not the needs our her constituents or the vast majority supporters of her party in general? Is that what we’re supposed to understand from this article? Are the people she’s frustrating supposed to be ok with that? Are we supposed to be ok with this nonsense when we live in a full-blown autocracy because she and her buddy Joe Manchin won’t work to end the filibuster so we can all vote? Got it. This whole article seems like something proposed by the New York Times Pitchbot on Twitter. Completely out of touch and trying to generate sympathy for those who deserve none.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@Ndubs You know about the "needs" of her constituents? I'm one of them as I own a house in AZ and she's doing everything I voted for her to do. Maybe if you lived in AZ you'd know this.
yorider (Hudson, MA)
Kyrsten Sinema is a manchurian candidate. Some day, it will probably come out that she was paid millions under the table by some dark money entity to throw a spanner in the works of whatever the Democrats are trying to do. Read "Dark Money" by Jane Mayer.(sp?) Even though the book is over 5 years old, it really speaks to what is going with Manchin and Sinema, among others.
moclips (federal way)
"But Ms. Sinema seems wedded to her model of aggressive across-the-aisle outreach ..." Ma'am, are you serious? Isn't the definition of insanity repeating over and over what has clearly failed? If so, she is relying on the force of her flamboyant personality to effect change which points to narcissism. On multiple levels Kyrsten Sinema is a self-serving loose cannon. She seems to enjoy literally flipping off her party and anyone who questions her. Note her "f.o." costume jewelry and her open romance with corporate and special interests. Imagine being the center of powerful male attention! Ms. Cottle might check the DSM-V for a more accurate assessment of Sinema's antics. Who could put her own erratic beliefs above tens of millions of Americans and the majority of her own Party without explanation or even courtesy? I'd be real money Sinema is cultivating a career as a lobbyist.
Mystery Lits (somewhere)
One could just as easily ask if maybe, just maybe the Dems need to move to the moderate side of fiscal responsibility and self reliance that Sinema (and Manchin) hold.
Stephen Rourke (Baltimore)
@Mystery Lits one might just as easily take the Republicans to task for not being partners with the Democrats in the future of the country they share. What's stopping them from doing that? Oh, yeah. Mitch McCONnell. And their donors. But even that wouldn't matter if Manchin and Sinema actually described what a "moderate" version of the bill would look like. That they refuse to do so simply proves that their donors have convinced them to refuse to vote for any version of it, and to try running out the political clock.
Bill (Ohio)
I suppose she could join the GOP and get all the attention she wants after handing McConnell the Majority Leader position. It's time to elect MORE democrats so she doesn't matter, not dump the one that gives us the ability to confirm Biden's appointments and judges. God I wish Democrats had a brain.
hm1342 (NC)
"All that said, the deck is stacked against her. But Ms. Sinema loves a good challenge, and she fancies herself a trailblazer." Democrats don't like trailblazers. "If she really wants to make politics safe for independent voices, she may decide it’s worth taking the leap." This entire editorial isn't about her taking a leap for independent voters. It's to justify removing her from the Democratic Party. At least be honest about that, Ms. Cottle.
Robert (VA)
Is it time for me to leave the Democratic Party?
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@Robert I left it a few months ago. Very liberating.
Robert Henry Eller (Portland, Oregon)
Ms. Sinema's political arc has bent from the Green Party to the Greenback Party. She's as likely to have retained her original political beliefs as so many of the neo-Cons of the late 20th century, who once were as left as Marxism. Anyone who is pitching bi-partisanship, at this point, is either a fool or a political entrepreneur. I suspect Sinema is not stupid.
R.A. (Mobile)
So now the suicidal Left is openly campaigning to put McConnell back in the driver's seat.
CRS, DrPH (Tucson, AZ)
I was, and remain, a great admirer of the late Sen. John McCain, who defines "maverick" in US politics. Sen. Sinema seems to wish to earn his mantle; however, Sen. McCain was a patriot first, and did not hesitate to explain his stance on votes and policy. Ms. Sinema is just "anti" and a vainglorious & corrupt politician. I hope she has a quick retirement.
Retired Major (St. Augustine)
There is nothing flamboyant or noteworthy about Sinema. She sold out her party and her constituents, case closed. Nevertheless, we get to pay her for "shafting us" for another 3 years, plus health care and retirement. Politics is the only business when the employee can completely fail in her mission but still retain pay & benefits. Obviously, the citizens need a recall mechanism which the constitution precludes.
wlieu (dallas)
By all means, Michelle, let's make the party completely homogenized, pasteurized and sterilized. That's the American way just as the founders intended.
MSPWEHO (West Hollywood, CA)
I abhor the theatrics of this Sinema character. But I wonder whether there might be some sort of underlying mental illness component to her situation.
Carl S (DC)
Ah, yes, a real maverick supporting popular policies like higher prescription drug prices and no childcare for working families.
nora m (New England)
Let’s be clear. Sinema is a masters level social worker. She is also a former Green Party candidate. She understands better than most the importance of the bill. It will help her state a great deal. Arizona saw temperatures over 115 degrees last summer. People die in that kind of heat, especially the more vulnerable who have to work for outside or lack access to air conditioning. This IS climate change. She doesn’t care. She has betrayed all that she once appeared to stand for. Yep, she’s fit to be a member of the party that is willing to see their own followers die if it improves their chance of re-election. I say she fits right in.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@nora m Pretty sure there's no bill up for debate in Congress right now that would lower the temperatures in Phoenix. Oh, and they hit 115 degrees every summer and have forever.
Zor (Midwest)
Se. Sinema needs to be confronted in every possible way to let her know that she is working against the interests of her constituents. She needs to be held accountable for her sabotage of her state's majority of electorate which supports the Build Back Better agenda - The only remaining question is how.
SB (Berkeley)
Sen. Sinema is an example of the DNC theory (and the never-Trump Repubs) that we need to tack to the middle. The middle is not moderate if by “moderate” you mean the dominant opinions and desires of the citizenry, because the Republican party is so far to the right, it is authoritarian, corporate, racist. Public opinion is clear, it is a progressive economic, civil rights, and ecological agenda. If the DNC, the mainstream media, and politicians keep looking to put themselves in the middle, we will end up in up in that Republican dream of no federal government except for the military. Rather, Georgia pointed the way for Democrats—Stacey Abrams and energetic voting rights groups did the most democratic of things—they worked to register every Georgian in every corner of the state and made sure their ballots counted. The DNC has a choice, go with the folks who who don’t really care what most of us want (an anti-democratic stance) or invest in all the people. I think we’ll find that many of those red states are purple and blue.
legalbeagle (Miami florida)
So Sinnema's against a lot of things, but even after reading this piece. I can't understand what she's for. And why she decided to become a legislator, when she hates legislating.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@legalbeagle If your only knowledge of Senator Sinema comes from this single Opinion piece, I'm not surprised at the conclusions you've drawn. And by the way, just because she won't vote for a horrible bill doesn't mean she's against "legislating." Voting against a bad bill is also "legislating."
clarity007 (tucson, AZ)
Since the party will not brook with a thoughtful and intelligent woman may be it’s time for independence.
Dan (Alexandria)
I think you commented on the wrong article. This article is about Krysten Sinema, not a thoughtful, intelligent woman.
Moxie (Phoenix, AZ)
I voted for her, and was so excited to see AZ elect two democratic senators. Amazed, even. Now it seems like we were fooled, and that's not at all what we did. I miss the old Kyrsten.
JDS (Santa Fe)
Any moderate Democrat needs to make a choice: You either want to save America from the do nothing, don’t believe in government Republicans or you want to watch the US and world slowly burn in it own stupid and reckless mistakes from global warming to income inequality. One thing I know for sure…we are destroying the planet. Your grandkids won’t have clean water to drink. It will become so hot growing crops in dirt will change. Perhaps the humans will develop the technology to grow food with little water, inside buildings. And perhaps eliminating fossil fuels with have the same effect banning fluorocarbons did for the ozone layer. And perhaps not. Democrats need to look a lot more like Congresswoman AOC then Senator Manchin or even Chuck Schumer to gain ground. If anyone thinks people under 40 are voting for moderate Democrats, think again.
Thaomas (USA)
If Michelle Cottle thinks the world would be a better place with Sinema as a Republicand and Mitch McConnel as Majority Leader of the Senate, she need to go back and review her notes from that PoliSci 101 class.
Sam Sharma (San Jose, CA)
NYT should stop calling Senator Sinema a moderate. She is effectively an undeclared conservative Republican. Her stances are a betrayal of her Democratic voters. Unfortunately, Democratic Party is not in a position to expel her. She should simply quit politics, write books or become a lobbyist and make millions. Ms. Sinema, stop holding America on ransom for your love of power!
GMO (South Carolina)
I do believe you have wasted too much space on this woman. We are in peril across this planet and she wants to bob up and down like a cork in a climate changed world. Really, how about standing up and get working to save our species and all the other inhabitants of this earth. If she can't do this, she needs to become a Republican. All she seems to want is power. She does not seem to care about anything else.
LarryM (NYC)
Sinema has not announced her position with respect to the particulars of the build back better bill . That is why she would fit in with the McConnell "party of no". Frankly, if I were an Arizonan, I would vote for Jeff Flake, a man of principle,as opposed to this snowflake.
Stephen Chamberlin (Petaluma, CA.)
It is the "inscrutability" that bothers me the most. As an elected official in a republic, it seems to me that you are morally bound to communicate with the people who elected you.
Michael (New York)
@Stephen Chamberlin She doesn't have to say anything. They have never had the votes for this bill. Ever. Thats the thing really, until they actually vote, you have no idea who will say yes.
WorkingGuy (NYC, NY)
@Stephen Chamberlin There is nothing inscrutable at all: “ She promised voters she’d stay focused on finding common political ground. Even then, she was criticized for tacking right in pursuit of broader support. In the House, she threw in with the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of Democratic moderates. She voted against Nancy Pelosi for leader. Running for the Senate in 2018, she doubled down on her brand as a problem solver unwilling to let partisan games stand in the way of Getting Stuff Done.” She is in the party for sure, but she’s not fallin’ for Chuck’s charms, she’s dancin’ with the people who brung her. A strong, independent, competent and confident we men is still seen as a problem. Even by the Progressives.
Bob K. (Monterey, CA)
@Stephen Chamberlin I disagree with your moral assessment. Elected officials should serve all people in their districts, not just those who elected them. Many of our elections are decided on small percentage majorities. Telling 49.8 percent on the losing side that they can go take a hike seems a bad way to run a country.
Ryan (Washington)
She can declare herself an independent and then what? Fundraise outside of the DNC? Run as a spoiler for her seat in Arizona? Assuming she continues with her behavior, she will continue to crash in the polls. She would not beat a democrat in that race. She would also lose to a republican, since she has turned off many of her progressive constituents. If she truly wishes to be re-elected, running as an independent would be just about the worst thing she could do.
Jeff (Northern California)
After watching Kyrsten Sinema for the last ten months, one could reasonably conclude that she was a covert Republican plant all along... A choice between Republican Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinima was a built in win win for the Republican Party, regardless of party label.
Edgar (FL)
Give it up, seriously. I wish all of the Senate Dems would vote in lockstep, but, face it, we/they have literally the barest of majorities. That's the reality, and Kyrsten is a clown but the problem is in the system--no single Senator should have the stopping power she has, but here we are. Yes, her ego is obviously massive. Yes, she is being unreasonable. But can we stop with the demonizing and instead try to create a conversation that is constructive? So how CAN the agenda be passed? There is a way I'm sure. Let's do it. Increments are better than nothing. If you want to win every vote, then gain a supermajority. It hasn't happened. There are obviously systemic problems that have caused our Congress to be at a standstill. But this has to stop. Change the conversation. Also, she clearly thrives on the attention. So stop giving it to her.
Byron (PS CA)
Of course many repubs in AZ like her - just so long as she is messing with Democrats. If she runs as a Democrat, she most likely loses in the general election. Party loyalty will be tough to overcome for both D and r. If she runs as an independent she loses because she will draw more light blue votes than light red votes. She loses all the votes from repubs and Dems who vote the party line more closely. In short, speaking as a Dem, don't let the door hit you on the way out, Senator. We are fighting with a group (GQP) that ALWAYS votes as a block. Dems will not support another round of Sinema voting whichever way the wind blows.
AgentG (Austin)
Manchin and Sinema cannot fundraise from millions of small donors, as senators who do not have a huge voter following. So they are forced to chase larger donors with their limited time, and viola, this is the result we have. S and M are bound to do the dirty work of their special interest donors to the detriment of the nation. It could not be more clear than that, but we all built that campaign finance system. Is it bribery? Has it always been bribery? Maybe, but it certainly does not get much press attention even though this is the crux of the entire political stalemate. Imho, the position S and M are taking on the reconciliation package is essentially $0, as both have stated. The corporate donors see the infrastructure bill as all that is needed, and are wary of the huge social revolution bill and want to kill it. So the most likely outcome is nothing will get passed as it stands now. It seems much of the media is simply reporting on illusory outrage without covering the real substance, making us all dumber as a result.
Mary Sweeney (Trumansburg NY)
Agree and wanted to add that in addition to being beholden to his donors, Manchin has a personal financial interest in coal.
LIChef (EastCoast)
Sinema is being bought off by someone and Manchin and his ultra-wealthy family do not want to pay any more taxes. So, as far as they’re concerned, the poor, the middle class, working parents and others in need of government help can go pound sand. Both should be voted out ASAP.
Ann Arbor (Princeton, NJ)
When the GOP is intent on destroying democracy, keeping the filibuster as your North Star only empowers the authoritarians.
Bonnie (MA)
Obvious answer is yes. The GOP is, as usual, blocking every Democratic program they possibly can. So who needs a Democrat helping them?
Efrain Ramírez-Torres MD (San juan, Puerto Rico)
IMHO she must leave politics altogether, like many other politicians. Nowadays it's not a prerequisite to have a decent IQ and a solid basic knowledge and cultural background to have a career in politics. Very few have high standard principles, solid backbones. She is sugar candy.
Peter Wolf (New York City)
For Sinema, who knows why. She sure gets a lot of attention this way. Perhaps, for Sinema, it's all cinema.
Jorge (USA)
Dear NYT: Sen. Sinema may annoy some with her Crayola-colored wigs, tutu, and flamboyant individualism, but she is spot-on accurate in critiquing the all-too-clever move by D leadership to link the bipartisan infrastructure bill to hyper-partisan social spending. Consider: President Biden took his own bipartisan bill -- a huge win that validated his brand -- hostage, all to gain leverage over "moderates" in his own party. Imagine a kidnapping note that reads: "Give me $ 3.5 trillion or I will shoot my own son." Describing this bone-headed move an “ineffective stunt to gain leverage over a separate proposal,” is fairly mild. And Ds -- if they continue to harass and demean her -- risk pushing Sinema to the other side of the aisle. Why double down on a losing bet? Why not take the win? The infrastructure bill is a major political victory that deserves passage based on its own merits. It will create thousands of good paying jobs, stimulate the faltering economy, help us fight global warming with the construction of a greener electrical grid, solar and charging stations, and restore our crumbling roads, water and sewer while protecting habitat throughout America.
SJG (NY, NY)
It is shocking how online bubbles and increased polarization has allowed so many people to forget how parties in a two-party system work. European style parliaments allow parties to remain uniform but requires disparate parties to form governing coalitions. With only two parties representing voters in a country as large and diverse as The United States, the parties cannot be ideologically pure. They must contain a diversity of ideas and viewpoints. The parties themselves are the coalitions. Somehow, this fact was lost on most of the chattering class when Georgia elected 2 Democratic senators. Immediately, the idea was that Democrats could do whatever they wanted with majorities in Congress. But those are the slimmest of majorities (3 representatives in the House and Kamala Harris in the Senate). The idea that Biden can institute a sweeping expensive and progressive agenda on the back of this tiny majority is ludicrous, as are comparisons to FDR and LBJ, both of whom were supported by huge majorities in Congress. Sinema's issue with the failure to vote on infrastructure is entirely legit. Her issues with the other bill are less clear. But it's her right. She's representing constituents and reflecting the millions of Americans (including some Democrats) who are uncomfortable with the size and content of the bill. If Democrats want a larger and lasting majority, they need to get comfortable incorporating the perspectives of people like Sinema and Manchin.
Meuphys (Atlanta)
Those Americans uncomfortable with "the size and content of this bill" must be ready to find a level of comfort with permanent and devastating environmental degradation the size and content of which will cause concern in and suffering among even the most droolingly partisan elements of the Great Again cultists. To say nothing of the antidemocratic fascist "reforms" which their stupidity will have enabled...
Mary Sweeney (Trumansburg NY)
Ummmm...Sinema is demonstrably not interested in getting things done, since she's engaging in major obstructionism at the moment. The programs contained in the reconciliation bill are popular with the American people and some programs--notably those combatting climate change--are needed if we'd like to continue to have a habitable planet. And we will not get any of that if infrastructure passes first--the infrastructure bill is the leverage needed to get the reconciliation bill passed. It seems to me that Sinema is putting the chance to get credit for her own work on infrastructure above the needs of the nation. She may or may not be very smart--I'll reserve judgment on that point. But, judging from her own behavior, I think that above all she's a self-promoting narcissist who loves being in the spotlight. Haven't we already had enough of that sort of thing?
James Jordan (Falls Church,Va)
It would be a huge mistake for her to leave the Democratic party's caucus. She would experience what you have so clearly and accurately described in this column and she would also put the Trump-dominated Republicans in the Senate majority and her switch would cause all of the Senate Committees to be chaired by Republicans. Also, historically, about a third of the Democratic staff would lose their jobs. A Republican majority in the Senate is not good for the country. They proved that when Obama was president. I believe another round of Republican leadership in the Senate and with the Republican-appointed majority in the Supreme Court would bring the longest Democratic government in human history to an end. Recall that only 7 Republicans had the courage to vote to impeach President Trump for inciting an insurrection even though the evidence was very clearly presented by the House at the trial. So, I suggest the Caucus should have a special session to find out in private what she wants and try to accommodate her needs. If her main goal is to build common ground, I suggest that she be given the challenge of persuading some of the 7 Republicans of courage to switch parties or declare themselves as independents and join the Democrat Caucus.
Deborah (Colorado)
It is easy for Kyrsten Siname to write a book complaining about what she doesn't like in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. I can empathize with some of her criticisms. It is much more difficult to identify the true issues and pursue solutions. That is what a Senator should do for their state. Bipartisanship is certainly an ideal but the ultimate legislative goals and benefit of the American people should not be sacrificed on the alter of one Senators unilateral definition and pursuit of bipartisanship on one side of the aisle.
Bill (Maryland)
"people just don’t have a clear sense of what matters to her — of what her core principles are." Excepting large sums of money from Big Pharma is a pretty clear indication of what matters to her.
Nick (Austin)
What a weird column. The tone indicates the writer is a personal friend of Sinema's.
Malcolm (NYC)
Well, um, jeez, maybe it would be good for the Democrats to pass some version of Build Back Better FIRST and THEN for Ms. Sinema to leave the party... Because without her, there is nothing, and while we may not like that, that is the way things are... Her foot is on our collective necks.
Sarah (Ann Arbor, MI)
Self-centerness is the ultimate treason. Get rid of her, and the toxic horse she road in on!
Adam Stoler Urban Warrior (Bronx NY)
it's more time to for her be honest with her constituents- and tell then if she plans to screw them by taking lots of corporate lobbyist cash, or not. Her erratic behavior looks as bad as most republicans..................... But wait...there's more! Does anyone really think she would be accepted by the republicans after her votes to impeach TFG? She is a lost soul no matter.
Joe (New York)
One note - republicans are not in the minority - senate is 50-50 and it’s 51/49 in the house. There is no mandate for the extreme changes being proposed.
Ann Arbor (Princeton, NJ)
@Joe We all remember how, lacking a mandate, Bush '43 and Trump both abandoned their tax cuts. /s
Nick (Austin)
@Joe The infrastructure bill isn't extreme--plenty of Republicans and the business community support it. As for the reconciliation package, is free community college really that crazy?
Bluelotus (LA)
So much sympathy, friendly speculation, and special pleading on behalf of a disgraceful embarrassment of a public servant. This is a senator who doesn't deign to articulate her views, who casts herself as a problem solver while refusing to make offers as she obstructs badly needed change, who votes against raising the minimum wage with gleeful performative cruelty, who jets off to raise money from the corporate interests she serves while the rest of her party waits awkwardly for her uncertain return to the table. The author claims Sinema's "guiding principle" is an "abhorrence of the toxicity and dysfunction of the hyper-polarized political system." And her response is to take her ball and go home - to refuse to even engage with the core of her party's priorities and agenda. Her response to the dysfunction of a hyper-polarized system is to emerge as an agent of dysfunction whenever the stakes are highest. I wonder if the pundits who spend so much time plotting out what X Y and Z all means for Kyrsten Sinema will ever spend one tenth the ink on the full-time workers she consigns to wretched poverty, to the seniors who can't get glasses or dental care, to the poor working families forced to choose between employment and childcare. No, as the planet floods and burns, we're far more likely to read future pieces on what Sinema REALLY wants by obstructing action on climate change, what her next move might be, and what it all means for her future career.
Mary Sweeney (Trumansburg NY)
Thank you. Very well said. Maybe if the media paid less attention to clowns and more to the nation's problems we'd actually get somewhere.
VinceInSeattle (Seattle)
I can find some common ground with Sinema. I abhor partisan game-playing, although there doesn't seem to be any mass of people on the R side who mirror that feeling. Her ladies-that-lunch dresses are an affectation signifying nothing to me. I also abhor identity politics, cancel culture, and demonization of anyone who makes money. BUT - I would like her to say exactly why she opposes free community college. Does she think America has too many vet techs, health care techs, and people in the trades? The middle class is too big? Is she opposed to child care subsidies, which can enable more mothers to enter, stay, or return to the workforce? Why does she oppose the minimum wage, are people making too much money? Does she oppose green energy, because why? She has not communicated clear goals on the Build Back Better bill, or other issues.
BerkeleyGirl (Chicago)
The bottom line: Sinema consistently refuses to hold town halls or meet with her constituents. In Congress, she refuses to come to the table with her colleagues, insisting on only negotiating directly with White House. Meanwhile, in the midst of this impasse, she's holding "retreats" with weathly donors and traveling to Europe to meet, yet again, with donors. All evidence points to the conclusion that Sinema is not working for Arizona, but herself and those who financially support her.
Chris (Santa Fe)
Nice piece on Sinema. Though it saddens me that SO much attention has been lavished on her and Manchin and so little on the people and issues that the two of them are holding up. Where are the calls to help seniors get their teeth fixed or afford their prescription drugs? Where are the editorials encouraging congress to address the existential threat to our environment NOW. Isn't it time to explain how supporting child care will get people back to work or how making community college free will be a cheap investment for huge gains in tomorrow's workforce? Seems like the focus has shifted from the donut to the hole. I wish the woman well, but let's regain focus on the millions she was elected to serve.
dcarlson (minnesota)
It is difficult to reach into my pocket and give to the Democratic Party, when Manchin and Sinema appear to be running the show. I am continuing to support Democrats, but not the party. There must be SOMETHING that can be done to stop these two and their road blocks "road blocks". I can hardly believe what is and has been happening in Washington.
Monty Hebert (Texas)
At this point I no longer care about Sinema's motivation. There is no motivation that can excuse her destructive obstructionism regarding the filibuster that has become a clear and present danger to our democracy. Likewise, she and Manchin seem determined to sink Biden's Build Back Better initiatives and with it, his presidency. If the Republicans regain control of the House and Senate and then succeed in replacing honest election officials with Trump sycophants, we can thank Sinema and Manchin for the end of American democracy as we know it.
Mike L (Brooklyn)
Maybe the article should be re-titled "Should the Democrats Give up the Senate?" Because that's what would happen if Senator Sinema became an independent and the Democrats now have 49 members versus 50 members for the GOP, allowing Mitch McConnell to become majority leader once again.
Meg (AZ)
@Mike L It would depends on who she caucused with as to who would be in charge if she became an Independent as to who would still have control. If she became a republican we would be toast, as you mention.
Mike L (Brooklyn)
@Meg That's why this article asks a pointless question. She’s not up for re-election until 2024. Should she decide to run as an Independent, it will create a three-way race in the general election between herself, the Democratic nominee and a Republican candidate. In a swing state like Arizona, having two candidates with similar ideologies will splinter the Democratic vote and allow the Republican to win.
Fred (NYC)
Interesting to read this essay, but I am puzzled to see nothing here about Sinema's resistance to higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations, who clearly do not pay their fair share, as they say, which seems tied to currying favor with donors and is reflected in her positive support from the Chamber of Commerce. Other writers have pointed this out, so it is no secret, but it doesn't reflect so well on the maverick less partison image to be playing so closely to the rich.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@Fred Define "fair share."
Mirla Raz (AZ)
If the Dems are swinging left, Sinema is correct to not to swing with them. I am a moderate living in AZ. This is a tough state. Unfortunately, we have a bunch of Republicans who adore the former guy, not to mention the huge number of voters who also have gone off the Republican deep end. Sinema has to walk a tightrope to get elected. As for me, I believe the small number of far left (Sanders and his Squad) in Congress wield too much power as it is. They are the opposite of the far right and equally as dangerous.
scott (nv)
And I thought Alabama electing a football coach was dumb ...
kristyn (fenniore)
Yes, please leave the party! You are clearly corrupt and self-centered.
Big Mac (Pittsburgh, PA)
Progressives seem hell bent on putting McConnell back in charge of the Senate. How they managed to keep insisting there were millions of silent progressives who were going to come out to support them didn't hold up even in the Democratic primaries, and Biden didn't resort to the efforts that HRC did to push Bernie aside. Grow up children, AOC is not ready to set the agenda at a national level. I'm a life-long moderate socially moderate Democrat – your threats to take your toys home are going to blow up in your face, and all the finger pointing won't convince anybody you're not to blame.
Michael Nunn (Traverse City, MI)
Neither Sinema nor Manchin have been Democrats from the get go. To be called "moderates" in comparison to the so-called progressive wing of the Democratic Party is a joke. The GOP, if it is to survive, needs its own moderate (read: sane) wing. Let these two go where they're more useful.
Cranston Snord (Elysian Fields, Maryland)
Great Idea! The Dems have such a huge majority in the Senate they can afford to jettison any outliers
Chris (10013)
Sinema is much of the party as is AOC and the Squad. I would far prefer to have Manchin and Sinema than Bernie and Warren are the far left and in one case a literal Socialist
Dave (Lafayette, CO)
There are two words that explain Ms. Sinema's inscrutable behavior: Citizens United. I'm reminded of the apocryphal tale about the man who propositions an elegant woman to sleep with him for a million dollars - to which she enthusiastically agrees. Then he suddenly changes his offer to ten dollars. "What do you think I am?!" the horrified woman gasps. "Ma'am, we've already determined what you are. Now we're just haggling over the price." Citizens United turns all of our elected representatives into prostitutes. Some, like Sinema, (a child of poverty who is obviously dazzled by the bright, shiny objects of wealth) are just more brazen than others.
TimesnLatte (Pittsburgh)
The best way to make Sinema irrelevant is to expand the Senate majority in 2022, which is a difficult but attainable goal. Joe Manchin is a known quantity, but her refusal to negotiate in good faith seems to me to be tied with her narcissistic grabs for attention.
bodie (los angeles)
What are her core principles ? Easy. She doesn’t have any, core or other. Just stop with the armchair psychology.
hm1342 (NC)
"The senator, who declined interview requests..." Of course she declined. There's been no indication from the Times about being anything other than negative in their coverage of her.
itsmildeyes (philadelphia)
“Spit out the gum sister…I don’t like the snappy attitude. This is the most important decision you’ve made in your [life].” Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson Fewer flirty skirts, more serious deliberation and legislation. One can always become simply an internet influencer, should political leadership not be your thing.
Pat (AZ)
I'm a constituent of Sinema's. The puff piece I just read paints Sinema in such a flattering way as to render her unrecognizable. There is a tremendous amount of rage built up for her here in Arizona. She ran as a progressive and then promptly aligned against her constituents, completely turning her back on all of the hard work people put in to elect her. The Republicans and Independents did not elect her; the people of Arizona who wanted a progressive view represented in Congress point elected her. it is very offensive to read, once again, the great untruth that Arizona needs to pander to extremely conservative/pro-corporate interests for a candidate to be "electable" here. She refuses to meet with her constituents - hasn't held a town hall in three years and hasn't responded to any attempts by the people to elected her to talk with her. These are the actions of a woman who has been bought and sold by corporate donors. Her political career is over, no matter what political party she aligns with and no amount of hogwash describing her "independence" will change that.
Yeah, That’s RIght (Scottsdale)
From here in Scottsdale, I agree with Pat.
luxembourg (Santa Barbara)
@Pat It seems that many Democrats do not understand how she won her Senate seat. It was her appeal and positions in the center. Here is a 2018 NYT article after the election. The left should definitely run lefty candidates against her, Manchin, and anyone else that refuses to toe their line. McConnell will be thrilled. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/13/us/kyrsten-sinema-senate-arizona.html
RLW (Chicago)
Sinema won her senate seat because too many Democrats thought she was more "progressive" than she has recently been. It is now up to Arizona Democrats to find a more honest "progressive", the kind that Sinema pretended to be before she was elected, to challenge her in the next primary. Sinema won her seat as a "progressive" in Arizona. Surely there is a true progressive who can beat Sinema and whatever candidate the Republican sponsor, Isn't there?
Meg (AZ)
@RLW It would be nice if someone would announce a candidacy early for '24. Donations would be flooding in for a real Democrat who supports the party.
luxembourg (Santa Barbara)
@RLW According to the Times, she did not run as a progressive, but as a moderate, and that is what got her elected. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/13/us/kyrsten-sinema-senate-arizona.html
JP (NY, NY)
I think this gives Sinema way too much credit. She has had ample time to advocate for her priorities. She has the world waiting for her to speak up. But she's not. And she flew off to Europe this weekend after participating in more fund raising events. It should be noted that her constituents voted for Biden, who had promised extensive infrastructure spending and expanding the social safety net. Even her constituents aren't happy with her. It's time for her to stop with the games and state where she stands. She should tell her constituents why she's not backing Biden, who, not only got the support of her voters, but also is supporting what she once said were her priorities, too.
Meg (AZ)
@JP It is hard not to imagine that she would not be hiding in bathrooms in Europe, as well. People around he world actually do pay attention to our politics - kind of like reality TV, but with real world consequences - I can't imagine they are not anxious about climate policy in the reconciliation bill that she is holding up and would want to ask questions.
Judgeboyajian10 (Fishkill)
Yes please show her the door. And that is a polite translation of what I’m really thinking of the person who prevented us from ending poverty and providing healthcare for all.
Paul (Atlanta)
The core argument in this piece describing Ms. Sinema is that she believes "building coalitions" is the most important precept of legislating ... Yet, she doesn't make any effort at all to build that coalition in her own party, instead she enjoys "tweaking" them. Which says all you need to know about her character.
luxembourg (Santa Barbara)
I personally would like to see her, and several other Senators from both parties, go this independent route. The parties have lost interest in considering the benefit to all and use majority status, when they have it, to jam things down our throats. If they could actually coalesce on some issues, then perhaps we make actual progress.
Ellen (Phoenix)
Krysten is my Senator. I was upset when she did not vote for a $15 minimum wage. However, I was furious when she did not vote for the January 6th Commission. That was the nail in the coffin for me. She won’t get my vote in the next election.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@Ellen A $15 minimum wage was never voted on. It's mythology that she voted against it. What she did do was insist that the wage increase be voted on and not just be thrown into a much larger bill. If a $15 minimum wage was both important and popular enough that would have been no problem, but for some reason Schumer wouldn't allow a vote on it alone. I'd say that you are blaming the wrong person.
Meryl g (Nyc)
I didn’t know she supported Nader’s successful attempt to stop Al Gore. She helped elect George W Bush. So her behavior as a spoiler is part of a pattern. To the extent she’s remembered at all, that’s how she is going to be thought of. Not much of an accomplishment is it?
David Frye (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
For the past few months I've been struggling to figure out what Sinema's base is, who it is she's trying to win over with her destructive antics. And now I know: she's been grandstanding to "centrist" opinion piece writers.
Rudy Pucel (Lyons, CO)
Hasn't she in her beliefs and actions already left the Democratic party?
Roman (Atlanta)
Why is there very little details about the progressive bill… I think NYT is doing a huge disservice by not presenting any kind of infographic or detail of the bill and how it impacts the citizen … I would go as far to say every bill should have a citizen calculator which on presenting some demographic and income should give your eligibility of benefits and the cost govt is incurring.. Then we will really see who is supporting and opposing… Congress and the media are obfuscating the details with simple and silly posturing
NJW (Massachusetts)
None of this explains why this Senator hides from constituents, including those who worked hard to get her elected, and from colleagues. This seems to be about something more than ideology.
Lady4Real (Philadelphia)
@NJW She is owned! Money is the root and route of all evil. This is a feature.
janejaod (Los Angeles)
I've been voting since 1972. I never really had to hold my nose to vote for anyone until the 1992 election for Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton was a better candidate and I believe she would have been a better President. Krystin Sinema, is no Hillary Clinton. This person has little to recommend her save her party membership, which is highly in question. That she would turn away from the ideals held by ALL Democrats, which is, however left or right, always side with the People. Her bona fides are long, but confused. Like those people who are for something.... before they're against it. Sinema and her equally as vicious cohort, Joe Manchin are not Democrats for the 21st century and both must go. The Democratic Party need to LEAVE THEM behind. I hope that will happen the next election cycle for them.
Lady4Real (Philadelphia)
@janejaod I was a very young adult during Clinton’s time in office and distinctly remember thinking, why is Hillary not president? I agree with you 100%. Time has not been kind to her because men (and many women) in America needed a foil for their (GOP’s) terrible presidents.
michjas (Phoenix)
Sinema masterminded the compromise infrastructure bill. It’s the best piece of compromise legislation likely to pass. Other Democrats have fostered dissent and passed nothing. There is no need to make excuses for Sinema. She’s gets things done. Progressives, on the other hand, espouse high principles and get nothing done. Sinema is the most effective Democrat in the party
Paul Kern (Kansas City, mo)
@michjas - Please stop making this a fight between progressives and moderates, it’s not. It’s two Democrats foiling the will of the rest of the caucus, one of which is understandable (Manchin), the other of which is not (Sinema). The 3.5 trillion deal is the MODERATE position, not the progressive one.
michjas (Phoenix)
@Paul Kern The Progressives are a faction. They are not the caucus. If you think Bernie and AOC are the caucus you have lost your way.
sr (Ct)
I did not know much about her before this year. Voters should be wary of candidates like her. I keep thinking about the neocons that were trotskyites in their youth. Yes Bernie still talks the socialist game but he had to get along with the business community as mayor and has a record of compromise in congress. She is probably toast For re-election Her hero, John McCain died before he had to run for re-election. He probably would have lost a primary
Lady4Real (Philadelphia)
@sr I very much doubt Sinema could’ve unseated Mr. McCain, especially in this political climate.
Armando (NYC)
Who cares what party she is in. Right now, she is one of the few voices of sanity that will hopefully keep Bernie Sanders and his crew from plunging this country into socialism. I am so happy for her and Senator Manchin!
JDS (Santa Fe)
@Armando The best run nations in the world with the happiest citizens all live in Democratic Socialist nations. The US on the other hand is not number one in anything worthwhile but perhaps spending money on the military. We suck as a nation. Our schools are terrible, our kids are not that bright compared to Norwegians, Koreans, Finnish, Danes, Swedes, Germans….should I go on. Our healthcare sucks…. And as a populous we seem stuck on stupid. 700,000 Covid deaths is all you need to know. You must believe in the great American myth….you know the one where hordes of Americans dressed in Red, White and Blue chant USA, We’re number one for some oblivious insane reason. Half out tax dollars goes to the military that just lost the third war in my lifetime wasting trillions of dollars. Americans murdered 300,000 Iraqis for no reason twelve years ago and we all act like it never happened. Get real dude…
Lady4Real (Philadelphia)
@Armando I remember when raising my twins there were a couple years we could not afford both of us working because childcare in the mid 90s was $650 per month at the low end. We took turns working. As a result, we struggled a lot. I’m betting that quality childcare for twins present day is at least double. Oh, this carried on somewhat when the twins were in elementary school as quality after school care was equally expensive, so that also meant 1 income in the home. By that time, I was making more than hubby as a paralegal, but not much, so he stayed home during elementary school until I found a job telecommuting, which I then did for the next 15 or so years. I never had latchkey kids (I was one). My point is, having subsidized childcare will get women back to work and paying taxes. Not every child has a 2 parent household. Don’t even get me started on the single moms raising a child/children of siblings who died young and have an elderly parent under their care. This is a real American dilemma that many working age women are burdened/blessed with. I want my tax dollars solving this problem. It’s not socialism. It’s necessary to get as many people working and paying taxes as possible, especially women.
Armando (NYC)
@Lady4Real I understand what you mean about the cost of childcare. I had five, including a set of twins, and was go glad when they graduated from after school care. Their mother did not work when they were preschool age. Fortunately, I was (and still am) an attorney, so we were able to make it okay. I understand that people need help. The government is not the answer. I am neither a democrat nor republican. I vote for the individual that I think will best advocate for my interests. Voting for Biden was major mistake for me. It won't happen again! I am so tired of this "tax the rich" nonsense. I am not rich, but earn a very good income. I would like to keep some of it. Taxes now take more than half of every dollar that I earn, and they want even more to pay for all of these social programs. I am absolutely against anything that increases my taxes.
cwc (NY)
'“since we’re so smart and have all the answers to the world’s problems, you’d think that we progressives would get more done.” Perhaps they could. If Democratic Senators could overcome GOP obstruction. Instead of aiding it! In Arizona. If the voters want a conservative Senator, one who owns the Liberals, a Senator who is against the Democrat's core platform, they'll vote for a Republican. The Arizona Democrats? If they want a progressive, why vote for Sinema in the next election? Is her plan "I came, (to the Senate) I saw (that I could cash in) and I so I did! After only one term? And this is called Public Service?
JDS (Santa Fe)
@cwc She’s taking a page right from Sarah Palin….
Frank (Boston)
After reading the article and a number of the comments I can only conclude that many progressives find Senator Sinema threatening because she is effective.
Paul Kern (Kansas City, mo)
@Frank - It’s not about “progressives”, it’s about her standing against the entire rest of the Democratic caucus, to the point of damaging the presidency of her party’s leader. That’s not being “effective”, unless she’s working for the other side.
njglea (Seattle)
No, she shouldn't "leave" the party. She should be kicked out, tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail. Her duplicity is not acceptable.
Brian (Here)
If you want a Democratic party that looks like the mirror image of the Republicans, by all means usher her out the door. And enforce a party discipline that can help both McConnell and Trump's ascendance. It might even be helpful in making our 6-3 Supreme Court a 7-2 instead. Breyer looks good for a couple more years. Five or six? Hmmmm. At some point, if a governing coalition is to hold, Dems HAVE to play to the center, both politically and geographically. Failing that, things are going to get even more uncomfortable, dumpster-diving as we peer into the restaurant window and dreaming of what might have been.
JDS (Santa Fe)
@Brian This is wrong thinking. The Democrats need to look like AOC and Bernie. It’s inevitable. Whether we all suffer making believe this isn’t true for another 20 years is the question.
S (Phoenix)
I've been watching her for years. Regardless of all the rationalizations and psychoanalysis there really is only one thing important: she's hurting Biden, she's helping Republicans. Bipartisanship is a nice concept. But really bad people use it to their advantage.
Mike Carpenter (Tucson, AZ)
She's amassed quite a chunk of donations from big pharma and others. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think she gets to keep that if she loses or doesn't run again. Maybe that's her plan. She could be part of saving democracy with Manchin if the filibuster were eliminated, and the Dems passed some legislation that helped people.
Wendy (Canada)
The Democrats would be better off without her. So if she will not leave the party, then the party has to dump her. Maybe she is doing this to satisfy a Republican campaign donor ... I don't know, but that is the only way any of her behavior makes sense to me. But if she can't support Democratic Party budgets, then she needs to be removed from the party.
Meg (AZ)
@Wendy If she leaves, and she actually can if she wants, then McConnell takes back the Senate and there is NO RECONCILIATION bill at all - no BBB - nothing We get zero progress So as annoying as she is - we must work with her - somehow
TheRainKing (Venice, CA)
How do these "activists" have so much time to protest during regular work hours? Do they have jobs??? Maybe they are part of the problem.
Lady4Real (Philadelphia)
@TheRainKing Those protestors were tracking Sinema down during one of the evening classes she teaches; and then there are shift workers who don’t work 9/5, rather shift work requires some people to work after 5 pm into the wee hours while the 9 to 5ers sleep.
Mark Johnson (Bay Area)
Her behavior is not that of a politician--or a sane adult. She appears trapped in a time-warp, still acting like a privileged, self-centered high-school girl. She shows no interest whatsoever in the actual job she was elected to do: governance and legislation. Rather, she is all about herself. Nothing else. At all. This editorial ignores her aggressive unwillingness to actually do the job she was elected to do. Suggesting that there is some non-destructive role she might play would make better sense if there was some evidence she has any interest in politics or governance beyond "Look at me!" and "Give me money!"
JDS (Santa Fe)
@Mark Johnson Republicans don’t legislate. They obstruct. Republicans do not believe in government. She is a Republican.
Amelia (Northern California)
It was only two months ago that Cottle was assuring us Gavin Newsom would be recalled. Now she says that Sinema is a force to be reckoned with as an independent. Wrong and wrong.
A (Reader)
Yeah but now she needs to be super practical and get the other bill through, not feel “hurt” hers didn’t get through first. If she gives even the smallest care about climate change, she would get to work right now.
Lady4Real (Philadelphia)
@A Climate change is where she draws the line. She says that has to be stricken from the bill before she chooses the next item to be stricken, drug price negotiation. After she kills all that from BB2, her donors have other items for her to strike, I’m sure. So, her bait and switch is vote for infrastructure first (without the climate piece — seriously), then she says she’s willing to negotiate over BBB2. And I have a bridge in Manhattan for sale, really cheap. These are her demands that didn’t get a proper airing in the media. SMH.
Grungy Ol' Dave (Central Ohio)
the author credits Sinema with far too much intellectual acumen and political savvy than remotely warranted. Whatever her game, she's doing plenty of damage.
Stan (Hayward Ca.)
She and Manchin are DINO's. Democrats in name only. Why? My guess is both share with the GOP the fear of the cultural majority of soon becoming the minority. Simple as that.
Lady4Real (Philadelphia)
@Stan Is why they won’t break the filibuster for voting rights legislation.
srl (Bozeman, Montana)
She will have no chance to get elected as an independent. Neither the D's and certainly not the R's like her much. She is gunning for a big money corporate lobbying job.
JDS (Santa Fe)
@srl Lobbyist have to actually work….not sure this one has the capacity to work for living with real schedules and deadlines without interfering with her social life.
Thinking out loud (Sydney)
Senator Sinema is doing what it takes (in her eyes) to get reelected as a Democrat in Arizona in 2024. I doubt she could be reelected as an independent. She will never support the Democratic agenda. Her party affiliation is meaningless. Maybe the best strategy is for the Democrats to bite the bullet and expel her? Put her to the test. It couldn't be worse than it is now. Could she switch party and get the Republican nomination in 2024? I doubt it. The Arizona Republicans are all Trumpers.
D.N. (Chicago)
Nothing pleases a self-serving politician more than the feeling of power--just ask Trump. So while the senator is relishing in her spotlight the country is floundering in the very inaction that she supposedly despises--inaction that she is largely responsible for thanks to her unwillingness to support the very things that could help the country. Now that's rich!
hm1342 (NC)
@D.N.: "Nothing pleases a self-serving politician more than the feeling of power--just ask Trump." Or most other politicians in our nation's capital.
Ethan Allen (Vermont)
Sinema has betrayed the people who worked to power her campaign, and the people who voted for her. But hey, she’s gonna be rich, rich, rich now so who cares, right?
Lady4Real (Philadelphia)
@Ethan Allen The young people who canvassed voters for her senate campaign are the same young people who confronted her in the restroom because she has ignored their overtures to be heard at a place and time of her choosing. They weren’t wrong.
hm1342 (NC)
@Ethan Allen: "But hey, she’s gonna be rich, rich, rich now so who cares, right?" Just like the Obamas, right? I mean, who doesn't get a Netflix deal and a place on Martha's Vineyard after retiring from politics?
Annessey (Girl from the North Country)
@hm1342 And in their free time, both became accomplished lawyers. They worked hard for years prior to politics.
Blunt (New York City)
Here is a suggestion for Ms Cottle: List the top ten donors who have contributed to her campaign and still fund her political enterprise. Print it in your follow-up article. Comment on what you can infer. I and many other will oblige you on what you oversaw if anything. The picture that will emerge will tell everything we need to know about her. I had proposed to do the same when Joe Lieberman, the infamous Connecticut Senator and Al Gore's losing running mate, was threatening to kill Obamacare in its proper form. No one did that. After the fact, Lieberman is the deservedly pariah of the party. He still lives off his lobbying for the Insurance companies (many based in Hartford, CT) like he always did. American politicians and especially congresspeople are the pawns of oligarchs who hand them the legislation drafts to enact. That is it. Citizens United took care of every last detail for the democracy to die a quick death after a long illness (that lasted since 1776). Articles like this are typical in the Times these days. Miss the forest for the tree. Just adding to the victory of the oligarchs and their pawns.
Meg (AZ)
BBB is good for AZ - Sinema promised to vote for what is good for AZ When the bi-partisan bill was crafted, things were removed to gain bi-partisan support with the promise that things that the GOP did not want to vote for would be passed in the reconciliation bill Many D Senators would would not have agreed to vote for the trimmed down bi-partisan bill without these assurances Also, at that time the 3.5 trillion price tag was agreed to as a framework So, after all of this, for Sinema to act like the House not voting for the bi-partisan bill is some sort of betrayal seems bizarre, when she had backed out on the BBB reconciliation bill price tag and only (as far as I am aware) expressed this after the bi-partisan bill had already passed - bait and switch So one can see how some Ds in the House and the Senate who voted for the bi-partisan bill based on assurances about the reconciliation bill would feel betrayed and how the people of this nation also feel betrayed as, well A lot of the climate proposals got bumped to the reconciliation bill All of this said, I'm "a bird in the hand" in my thinking and wish the House would pass the bi-partisan bill My reasoning is that pleas from economists, experts and polling from Americans that show huge support for Biden's BBB seems to have zero meaning to Manchin and Sinema None So to ward off a GOP win in '22 and '24 we need to get things done If I am mistaken about how the Senate bi-partisan bill came to pass, let me know
a rational European (Davis ca)
Yes. It is. What about starting a Change Signature Petition. I might do it---
Meg (AZ)
Sinema would never win the GOP nomination if she switched parties If she did get it, she would not win the state Remember, this is no longer John McCain's GOP or even John McCain's Arizona The GOP have moved far-right even supporting "fraudit" and Californians have moved here by the hundreds of thousands, with this migration accelerating during the pandemic as people who worked remotely sought cheaper housing and especially after we turned blue with Biden's and Kelly's wins There is no future for her in today's AZ GOP and she would not win even if they embraced her AZ is now blue and not going back
MarkB (Mesa, AZ)
@Meg - it was more like a blue rinse than a true blue hue in 2020; the trend is in the Dems direction as long as Latino turnout is good, though the link between Dem party and Latinos is weakening.
Meg (AZ)
@MarkB Yet, there is no part of this valley that is not seeing massive apartment building construction almost every mile, in every direction, with many hundreds of units in each and rents have been rising due to supply and demand issues and most of these folks are coming form CA - because even with the increases we are less expensive than LA and it is only a 1/2 day drive if they get homesick for friends and relatives. The "blue wash" also has inspired them to put down roots here, a well when some had been on the fence. I am also a transplant from CA but I made the move decades ago - Maricopa Co is now becoming another CA suburb
Lady4Real (Philadelphia)
@Meg I wouldn’t underestimate her bait and switch chimera to MAGA to continue cashing out her voters (GOP) in this case.
Finever (Denver)
I'm only a casual observer of Sinema but your piece makes sense.
Susan (Paris)
When I think about the “inscrutable” Kyrsten Sinema, I tend to think of the quote from Groucho Marx - “These are my principles, and if you don’t like them…well, I have others.” I think the only thing Ms. Sinema feels really strongly about is Kyrsten Sinema.
hm1342 (NC)
@Susan: "“These are my principles, and if you don’t like them…well, I have others.” Senator Chuck Schumer on immigration in 2009: "Chuck Schumer in 2009: Illegal Immigration is wrong, plain and simple" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdAyn89hFIo Barack Obama's views on marriage: "Anderson Cooper Exposes Obama's Flip-Flop on Gay Marriage, "Anything but Precise"" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvcjqtuFXw0
jim emerson (Seattle)
Sinema reminds me so much of Former President Loser, the attention-seeker who spent most of his time denigrating members of his own party and his own country, preferring to lavish unctuous praise on hostile foreign regimes (Putin, Kim, Erdogan, Bolsonaro...) while condemning America and Americans (“You think our country’s so innocent?”). Like him, Sinema genuflects to the opposition rather than working with her own colleagues to (in her words) get "out of our comfort zones to build coalitions and get things done.” How about starting by building a coalition and getting things done with members of your own party, the people who got you elected in the first place? Sinema will not receive backing from the Democratic Party in her next election. Perhaps that's why she's now collecting all the money she can from corporate donors (notably Big Pharma) and mysterious Dark Money interests (including those she's visiting on her European Vacation?). She could start her own party, of course -- which would take more courage and gumption than the exposed saboteur of Mar-a-Lago. She could call it the Obstructionist Party -- but she'd face stiff competition from Republicans for that name.
BABBklyn (New York, New York)
She should leave the party. She seems like a sociopath. She does not hold Democratic values. You cannot work with a party that is lockstep against any and all proposals. It isn't rational. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result (Einstein presumably). She does not belong in the Democratic Party. In my view she does not belong in the senate, she should be recalled. All those that actually did vote for her must be horrified. And who cares what she stood for before, what matters is what she stands for now.
Jeremy (Sacramento)
She's a maverick without a cause.
ABC (Here)
Sinema and Manchin are milking their wholly unearned spotlight to feed their personal political ambitions.
Joanne (Nj)
She should leave the Democrat party and start an Opportunists Party if she really is a breath of fresh air. She misrepresented herself. Being part of a party doesn’t mean you have to accept everything they do in lockstep. But it means you believe in something larger than your own career.
ABC (Here)
She is a Democrat In name only, like so many southern Democrats are also in name only. As the well worn truism goes: with friends like that, who needs enemies?
Susan Weinberg (Montana)
Well I know one couple in the Prescott Valley area that told me they’re not voting for her again…
TheraP (Midwest)
To the Times: There is more wisdom in the comments to this article than in the article itself. It comforts me to see how many Times readers are annoyed by the article, which tries to make a Logjam of a Senator look like a diamond in the rough. Nope! That would be a piece of coal.
Jim (Michigan)
Did all these commenters criticize McCain when he went against his own party? I think not...
JDS (Santa Fe)
@Jim NYT readers seem more progressive. Try the WSJ editorial page.
Lady4Real (Philadelphia)
@Jim Mr. McCain’s principles were his true north, so no, his voting against his part, when he did was consistent with his values. From 30,000 feet, Sinema has none of those traits.
LokitheCat (Lloyd Harbor, NY)
Thank you for the analysis of the Senator and her impact on the Democratic party. However she is not the Democrats main problem... Their problem is that Joe Biden has forgotten that he won the election, not Bernie Sanders.
Basic (CA)
Frustration with the Senators reluctance to support the Presidents agenda is justified. Also her reluctance to publicly state and articulate her reasons is disconcerting and worrying as when people don't reveal their motivations it's likely their motivations are not above board. With all that said Chuck Schumer is the majority leader (not Mitch), the American Rescue Plan (which would never have come to a vote is Mitch was the leader) passed, and President Biden is appointing judges to the federal bench at a record pace, which also would not be the case is Mitch was the leader. President Biden understands this.
Zane (New York)
By any sensible measure, Sinema is a firm Democrat that has voted with Biden 100% of the time. Yet she should leave the party because she expresses reasonable trepidation about throwing a $4.5 trillion progressive wish list at an overheating economy? It's worrisome that Congress no longer seems safe for someone who refuses to simply rubber-stamp their party's hardliners wishes. Republicans already purged their ranks of those who didn't back Trump's lies. Now it seems like Democrats are doing the same for members who don't align with the AOC crowd.
Lady4Real (Philadelphia)
@Zane Sinema is being PAID to obstruct Biden’s agenda. FULL. STOP.
Erland Nettum (Oslo, Norway)
She risk in the end being one of the two persons that had the power to save the US democracy but failed to act.
Miles Mitchell(Block One) (Hoggard High School, Wilmington, NC)
"She supports voting rights protections (even if she won’t help abolish the filibuster to achieve it)..." I agree with most of this well-reasoned column, with the glaring exception of the statement above. When the GOP is actively dismantling voting rights protections in a third of states, threatening long-term or permanent damage to U.S. democracy, her position cannot be termed one of support. She and JM are both actively working against voting rights protections by siding with the opposition and against the country on this most important issue.
Richard Cohen (Madrid, Spain)
Why try to psychoanalyze a politician who has decided that she is better off going where the money is? She isn't the first to do that, and she won't be the last. With friends like this, who needs enemies?
Big Mac (Pittsburgh, PA)
@Richard Cohen with friends like progressives, McConnell will get his job back in 2022 and Trump will get his back two years later. The the trillions being discussed will be tax cuts for the top 1%.
Jay (Green Bay)
I wonder if Sinema thinks her win in usually red Arizona is all from her own effort. If she does, someone should have a good talk with her about the fact that she is not the lone Dem candidate to win Arizona and the fact the state went for Biden carries great meaning as well in relation to her win. She needs to show some gratitude for that and show flexibility to help Biden with this legislative effort. Otherwise it will leave no doubt that she just used the party label to help only herself, with no benefit to the party!
Big Mac (Pittsburgh, PA)
@Jay Maybe in the end she will save not only much of the Democratic agenda, but possibly their political future as well.
Bruce Crabtree (Los Angeles)
I have zero patience for someone who talks about how she works so very hard to “get things done” and then stands steadfastly in the way of the first attempt in years to actually get things done. She’s either full of it or deluded.
markd (michigan)
Was she ever a Democrat or was she just playing one to get elected? She's been a cypher regarding her politics, her goals and her opinions on every subject. Maybe in Arizona a Democrat is more of a Centrist Republican rather than any kind of liberal. It was a brilliant move by the Arizona GOP to get a stealth Republican elected to the opposing party. Pretty smart.
Big Mac (Pittsburgh, PA)
@markd When Biden passes something that Manchin and Sinema can support his numbers will go way up, especially among swing voters. If AOC and Bernie can force their agenda down Manchin and Sinema's throats, Democrats will be crushed in the mid-terms. Do you prefer being morally superior yet in the minority to keeping Trumpists from regaining full real control?
BB (LA)
So...you suggest we happily wait on passing transformative measures to fight climate change and other environmental and social disasters so Sinema can try on her new political identity, which will somehow be good for us in the end because we might all "get along better"? We are officially at Code Red - there is no time for niceties.
Robert LaRue (Fountain Hills, AZ)
Seek whatever virtue, savvy, spunk, idealism and courage you may hope to find under the rock where Sinema lives, you will come up with a basketful of positions, statements, programs, and attitudes signifying nothing more than a scattershot approach to governing, the true guidon of which is her own self-interest. She guards it with fierce and enigmatic silence and we are supposed to be, what, impressed, mystified, enchanted, or enthralled to it? Whatever, it's her game. You have three shells before you. The pea is under one of them. Good luck.
TheraP (Midwest)
@Robert LaRue This is so good! At least I got a pleasurable laugh.
Val Wells (New Mexico)
Ms. Sinema, is a DINO-Democrat In Name Only. Inscrutability only serves her and whoever are her handlers. I would be looking to see who and how much Corporate donors made to her PAC and etc. She is reviled by her constituents as it becomes all too clear she has been placed in her position for the sole purpose of thwarting the Biden Agenda. Our country sits and spins while disaster looms nearer all the time. History will not be kind to her or Manchin.
ana (california)
She needs to stay so we don’t lose the majority until we can replace her with a real Democrat.
MarkB (Mesa, AZ)
@ana - news to me that Cali's can vote for an AZ senator; the trick for Sinema could be her re-nomination, not her re-election...per AZ Clean Elections, 'Arizona has an Open Primary and voters that are not registered with a recognized political party (Independents) are able to request a partisan ballot', either Democratic or Republican; the Libertarian Party has a closed primary. Very interesting to see what happens if Dems nominate someone other than Sinema - can she then make the general ballot as a written-in Dem based on Indy support?
Meg (AZ)
@MarkB She would not win if she switched. Californians are moving here so fast they can't built housing units fast enough. We leaned blue in the last election, electing Kelly and Biden and now we are solidly blue, I have no doubts about that
Big Mac (Pittsburgh, PA)
@ana Bravo. THE most important thing is not allowing the Republicans from getting back in power. Hasn't McConnell done enough damage? Manchin and Sinema are a thousand times preferable to McConnell and Trump!!!!
tquinn (RI)
Very benign depiction of Sinema. However this column never examines how her constituents who put in her office now see her. What about the voters and coalitions who worked for her and put her into office? They are not politicians or simply part of a political party. They put their faith in her to support their causes and interests and that is why she won. Now, she won't even meet with them. That is why they are following her into the bathroom. They feel betrayed by her. They have not joined her, as she trips through the partisan dance in which Sinema seems to revel. Rather this is a loss of faith by voters who supported someone they believed was listening to them and would bring their concerns to the table. Yet she chooses to be a politician playing political games, acting in the very manner she claims to abjure. After all, she is there to represent the folks who worked hard to put her in the Senate, isn't she? She may be a Democrat in a conservative state, but that does give her the right to ignore those who put her in the Senate, while seeking a role that is to her advantage only?
Big Mac (Pittsburgh, PA)
@tquinn and what if her Republican opponent, Martha McSally, won? Would the people who voted for Sinema be happier?
Leah (Colorado)
I am a passionate Democrat, and very worried about the obstructionist actions of the Republican party and their attempts to keep power at all costs. However, why would I ever vote for a person who votes AGAINST a federal minimum wage hike and then curtsey????? Wow.
Meg (AZ)
@Leah Although I thought that was disrespectful and rude to those of us who wrote to her to support the win wage increase, the vote was not even a real vote since the parliamentarian had already said it could not be in the reconciliation bill and it could not pass a filibuster should it come up for a real vote in the Senate. Bernie simply decided he wanted to "shake the tree" and hold a vote anyway even though its passage by Dems would not lead to enactment or its presence in the bill. It could be that she was annoyed at a meaningless vote being imposed on them, but regardless, it was rude to thumbs down the idea. Since then she has proven she does not seem to care about what the voters or experts or anyone thinks so this is not good. She is supposed to represent people.
Abby (Tucson)
@Leah She lied to us. She will not be rewarded for it while the GOP thrives on lies.
Big Mac (Pittsburgh, PA)
@Leah Personally I'd like to see the minimum wage hike, but it seems foolish to demand it should be the same across the country.
Robert Leitner (Rural North Dakota)
When she finds herself, time after time, one out of fifty then the math clearly shows that she is in no way supporting her declared party. Thus she cannot and should not rely upon the Democratic Party to assist and support her in return. So yes, she should at this very moment declare herself an Independent and dissolve this charade.
Stu Gatz (Staten Island)
@Robert Leitner One out of 50? I'm sorry but perhaps you forgot she's actually in the majority on this. Sinema + Manchin + 50 GOP Senators equals 52, which is more than 48. Her position is the majority position. It must be hard when you find out that the Senate is made up of 100 Senators and not just 50.
Sarah (Ann Arbor, MI)
@Stu Gatz So Manchin is a treasonist as well. (Any one who operates for his own interests after taking the oath of office is guility of treason). He has a few million in fossil fuels. I was touched by his heartfelt sentiments that he would tax the rich from the back of his yacht. Get rid of both of them. And dear God don't make us independents take them. Send them to the Grand Old Pathetics.
El Lucho (PGH)
@Robert Leitner Actually Sinema and Manchin vote with the Democrats majority most of the time: "According to CQ Roll Call, Manchin voted against his party’s majority 38.5% of the time last year, while Sinema did so for 33.1% of the votes." "Manchin and Sinema have also supported Biden’s position in every instance so far this year," https://apnews.com/article/ap-fact-check-voting-rights-government-and-politics-c65d4424c200ede56fc31db42e28e084
JSD (New York)
Someday in the deep future, historians will look back on that strange period between Donald Trump's failed coup in 2020 and his successful coup in 2024 and wonder why the Democrats didn't do anything to prevent it while they were still in charge.
Frank Soos (Solvang, CA)
She seems angry at the system yet does not truly represent any type of policy or platform that helps the people. Why is she in office if she is simply interested in politics rather than doing something for others?
LynnBob (Bozeman)
@Frank Soos "Why is she in office if she is simply interested in politics rather than doing something for others?" But doing something for the major-donor class is "doing something for others." Those others are simply different from the ones you expect.
Lorem Ipsum (DFW, TX)
She's simply in the wrong party.
bill (madison)
@Frank Soos Sounds rather Republican, no?
David Martin (Vero Beach, Fla.)
It's obviously impossible, but could Sen. Sinema caucus with both parties and perhaps arrange to move her Senate desk to whichever side she's on, on a particular day?
MarkB (Mesa, AZ)
@David Martin - a bi-bencher?
Fidencio (Florida)
If the Senator can’t help the party that help her get elected, then she should get out of the way, resign before she does any more damage, same goes for her cohorts in the Senate like Senator Joe Manchin
MGB (NY)
Who cares? More than 40 percent (the majority) of American voters are independent. Maybe it's time for a third party since the duopoly of Democrats and Republicans is really indistinguishable in substance?
Mark McIntyre (Los Angeles)
If Sinema is so determined to work across the aisle to get things done, she needed to be in the Senate about 40 years ago when that was actually possible. What her supporters got was bait and switch. Today she's just standing in the way of progress and carrying water for the GOP determined to derail Biden's agenda. Sinema's obstructionism is why her numbers are so high among AZ. Republicans and why furious Democrats are chasing her into the ladies room.
Will Lewis (Wilmington, NC)
The only people she has to answer to are those in her district.
TheraP (Midwest)
@Will Lewis District? She’s a Senator. She represents a whole state.
Meg (AZ)
@Will Lewis She is now a Senator and represents the whole state, a state that also elected, Dem Mark Kelly to the other Senate seat and also elected Joe Biden.
Tara (MI)
At least John McCain saw what Trumpism was and prevented it from destroying health care. Every politician needs a model to be measured against. In Sinema's case the model is probably Yasser Arafat.
Ed Watters (Cleveland, OH)
The truth is, if Manchin and Sinema hadn't stepped forward on behalf of their wealthy donors, there are a couple dozen blue dog Dems who would've. Democrats campaign on popular policies, then the blue dogs get busy so the Dems don't have to anger their wealthy donors.
pixilated (New York, NY)
Sorry, I'm sure she's an intelligent woman and there's nothing wrong with taking heartfelt independent stands, but her agenda strikes me as more purposely perverse than well thought out. Particularly problematic is her stance on the filibuster, an anachronism born of the Jim Crow era and an obvious impediment to getting anything of merit done through negotiation, purportedly her preferred mode of operation. Without breaking the filibuster to ensure fair and equal voting rights, it doesn't matter what party she's in, because the extremist cheat will be in.
Corrie (Alabama)
“This is what many of her critics miss. They see her as a chameleon, unprincipled and narcissistic, an intellectual lightweight without any steady, guiding tenets. But she does have a guiding principle. She holds fast to an abhorrence of the toxicity and dysfunction of the hyper-polarized political system, brandishing a potent combination of disgust, frustration and moderation that could, come to think of it, put her in sync with a big slice of Americans.” Ms. Cottle, I always enjoy your insights, but I find that I am in disagreement with you here. Sinema’s problem is that she does not understand the gravity of this situation because she is not from a Southern state, where Democrats have zero in common with Republicans, as the Republicans here are MAGAs from a Dixiecrat lineage. While she may be a “moderate” voice in Arizona, reality is that she does not see how the neo-confederate culture of MAGA World desires to restrict the minority vote in states like Georgia, where it is impossible for Democrats and MAGAs to find common ground. There is no such thing as a moderate here — Choosing moderation is choosing to silently enable MAGA World. Either she’s going to grasp that voting rights are at stake because these remnants of the confederacy and Jim Crow remain, or she’s going to have a hand in taking the South even farther back in time. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the South is why we can’t have nice things.
Lady4Real (Philadelphia)
@Corrie Sine a wants 1 billion from BBB2 stricken from the bill that pays for climate remediation. In other words, you give her too much altruistic credit that she DOES’NT deserve.
Jim Benson (New Jersey)
Kyrsten Sinema is a prima donna; She flamboyantly presents herself as an independent person who is practical and who can gain the cooperation of both parties to pass legislation without describing her ideas or what legislation she will promote. Her inane theatricality can result in the loss of the House of Representatives, the Senate, and presidency to the Republican Party. She's becoming the Ralph Nader, who helped George W. Bush win a disputed election, of the 21st Century.
Big Mac (Pittsburgh, PA)
@Jim Benson I don't think she's more of a prima donna than AOC. Does your prima donna understand the old adage about all politics being local? Manchin certainly gets it, even if Sinema is focused more on raising money.
Jim Benson (New Jersey)
@Big Mac The money may be ancillary to her need for attention and the feeling of power that she derives from the focus on her.
Bach (Grand Rapids, MI)
Someone gave Sinema the advice that AZ voters like quirky mavericks like John McCain. What they forgot to tell her is that McCain’s quirkiness was born from a life story of service, sacrifice, and honor. Sinema has none of that pedigree. Quirky from her only comes across as flakey. Clown wigs and all. No sense of the moment, no sense of working for the public good, no sense of what she wrought for her next campaign. Just no sense. Primary her career out of existence.
Ron (AZ)
After all these many, many words about Sinema, the question remains: What does she really stand for?
Lady4Real (Philadelphia)
@Ron Sinema stands for the donors who tell her what she can and, more importantly, cannot do/vote for. They tell stop say as little as possible and do nothing.
Big Mac (Pittsburgh, PA)
@Lady4Real She'll support something far more acceptable than the Republicans will tolerate when they regain control of the Senate next year...
TheraP (Midwest)
How is “abhorrence” a “guiding principle”? It’s an emotion. A negative emotion. Where does it take you? A principle helps you keep your eye on a ball. It serves as a guide. To conclude that scorning anything - even disunity - is a principle sounds like trying to find a virtue in a vice. And to imagine that a politician has a constituency because they are full of abhorrence? Could you found a political party on that? Or even a club?
JL (SD)
This isn't new.. this is just the latest death spiral of US politics at the expense of the American People. Anyone live in a town where the roads aren't falling apart? I promise this didn't start yesterday.
Yankee (New Hampshire)
Independents are not a "New England eccentricity." Polling from 2020 shows that fully 30% of registered voters in the US consider themselves Independents. The constant gnashing of teeth in the press about the number of Republicans who support Trump ignores the data. Slightly less than 30% of registered voters are Republicans. Approximately half of them are Trump voters, which is only about 15% of all registered voters; a distinctly fringe, albeit loud and brainless, minority.
Claytronica (MA)
Good grief. This is a spectacularly fluffy puff piece. I'm not sure what is driving Ms. Cottle to work so hard to describe Sinema as poorly understood and simply an emerging "Maverick" - as if that had some intrinsic value. But the top doozie here has got to be this bit: "But she does have a guiding principle. She holds fast to an abhorrence of the toxicity and dysfunction of the hyper-polarized political system, brandishing a potent combination of disgust, frustration and moderation that could, come to think of it, put her in sync with a big slice of Americans." Ok: so her guiding principle is composed of: 1) She doesn't like that our political system is "polarized". What is polarization? Dramatically differing viewpoints. Maybe she should have grappled with this aversion of hers before entering politics. But I'm sorry - howling about polarization is a wee bit empty. 2) Aside from being gosh darn really upset that people are arguing, she has got some GREAT disgust and frustration and, um, "moderation" -- about, um, things. And THAT noble stance puts her squarely in line with most Americans? Thank you, Michelle, for underscoring the total lack of courage or conviction in Senator Sinema's possession.
Nina RT (Palm Harbor, FL)
There is much I would like about Krysten Sinema: she is a bisexual woman who is not afraid to say so; she's fashion-forward and is always herself. However, Sinema is a narcissist who cares only for what benefits her. Her guiding principles are non-existent. Her motivation is simply, "Who can give me the most cash?" She doesn't come off as independent; she comes off as a spoiled child who stamps her feet and says "no," even when complying would greatly benefit issues she claims to care for. She's set herself to go against the will of both her party and the citizens of the U.S. who overwhelmingly favor Biden's Build Back Better plan. That's not independence; it's obstructionism.
Judgeboyajian10 (Fishkill)
First let’s get our nomenclature in order. The Trump people are not conservatives, they are right wing extremists. They know nothing of conservative political theory and have never heard of William F Buckley, Russell Kirk, Peggy Noonan, Richard Brookhiser or George Will and you will draw blank looks if you mention National Review. And as an aside Buckley would have thrown the whole Trump clown show out of the Republican Party long ago. As for Manchin and Sinema they are not moderate nor are they conservative Democrats. They are opportunists holding out for the highest bidder and Sinema has accepted a bid and it’s not from the Democrats as seen by her speedy departure from the USA to parts unknown faster than the President of Kabul flying out of Afghanistan as he told everyone by cell phone to fight on.
XYZ (Central USA)
Please don’t encourage her to be a “power-broker.”We’ve had enough of Trump’s pathologic narcissism, and his three sheets to the wind, rudderless leadership. We need someone with a clearheaded focus on our country’s and the world’s problems - not someone who stares at their reflection in a pond all day.
Abby (Tucson)
She’s not inscrutable. She’s just unavailable to anyone but the money guns. Fill her with whatever candy worth having at and enjoy the exercise. She has lied to us about what she had planned for us and now she does what she is told. Hardly a bold move.
Lb (New York)
This is a highly credulous evaluation of Sinema's motivations. She's not out of bounds for a Democrat? She voted with Trump 50% of the time, more than literally any other Democratic senator. Manchin only voted with Trump like 30% of the time. She's a disgrace to the party and she has no chance of winning re-election. She must be one of the least popular senators in the country by now.
Kalidan (NY)
Her experience working with Ralph Nader says it all. He being the worst spoiler in human history who cost Gore an election. Imagine if Gore had won. No Iraq war, no ISIS, no Syrian crisis, no American deaths in Iraq, relatively less profiteering, no refugee invasion of Europe, likely no Brexit, no Trump. What we may have instead is early investment in children, early investments away from fossil fuel (instead of fracking, pumping, oil spills, Aramco, global terrorism). She is playing spoiler, because she can. Shame on her. Just like shame on Nader. All it takes to destroy everything is republicans and the likes of Sinema.
RB (TX)
Might she simply be a McConnell mole? Considering the immense damage she does.
CJohn (San Francisco)
Seems to me that Sinema’s true passion is that of a fitness instructor. Iron Man, Boston Marathon, and teaching spin classes in Congress’ gym. I think she’s gonna get that wish fulfilled come 2024.
hm1342 (NC)
"Ms. Sinema is, at heart, a Democrat of convenience and expediency; she has a chance now to show that independents aren’t just a New England eccentricity." As far as Senator Sinema and the Democratic Party is concerned, she's still a Democrat. And sone of the hallmarks (allegedly) of the party is diversity and inclusivity. That's obviously a lie. What the party stands for is being a liberal first, and whatever you identify is a distant second. But if you dare deviate from the party line, you're no longer welcome.
Ken (Miami)
Who wants to reinstate Mitch McConnell as the Senate majority leader?
Rae (NJ)
Sure but I don't think she can goose step.
Sailani (San Diego, CA)
I would find Ms. Sinema more credible and "independent" if she had a position on the various issues that was also shared by a group of other "moderate" Democrats and Republicans. So my challenge to Ms. Sinema is to get a coalition of 10 centrist senators from both parties to agree with her positions. That would demonstrate that she is an independent thinker and not just a maverick dong this for show. Without a moderate center, it is foolish and self-defeating to buck your party to ensure that nothing gets done.
M (Arizona)
I have been thinking about her defecting just to spite the progressive activists who have been inappropriately harassing her.
Bob (Hinterland)
Oh my. This apologia is totally unconvincing. Did we not learn from the Trumps that the last thing we need right now is all hair and flair? I predict she’ll be the future Fox News “view from the left” a la Alan Coombs. She’s chosen celebrity over leadership.
Frank O (Texas)
Moderation? Bipartisanship? Finding common ground? With Republicans? Yeah, and (to quote Dorothy Parker), "I am Marie of Romania." Why do Democrats have to "find common ground", with a Republican party of "Our way, or we'll shut down the entire government"? And why is it "identity politics" whenever Democrats work to extend the rights in the Constitution to everyone, not just White, conservative, straight Christian fundamentalists?
laurenlee3 (Denver, CO)
Democrats regard every disagreement as "treason?" Kyrsten Sinema is not disagreeing, she's happily blowing up the Democratic agenda for the attention she thinks she deserves. Unhappily, she is a histrionic person who has determined she has the answers. This overly long article is not illuminating nor overly helpful in moving Sinema along. We're dealing with a young teenager in rebellion, and it's time for Dad to take over now.
Abby (Tucson)
@laurenlee3 You seem not to see what is at stake and ignore the fact Dems can argue without burning down the house. Business complains about labor but won’t help labor afford child care. Maybe they don’t care until we leave them only immigrants to exploit? How they going to sell that to the new xenos?
Mark (Palm Springs, CA)
Vote her out and take Manchin with her.
Somewhere in the Southwest (AZ)
She's not representing her constituents...
CJohn (San Francisco)
Seems to me that Sinema’s real passion is that of a fitness instructor. Iron Man, Boston Marathon, and spin class instructor to Congress. I think she’s going to fulfill that wish come 2024.
JR (CA)
Not long ago, the smug Larry Kudlow informed us that elections have consequences. Not any more. The Republicans love Ms. Sinema only to the extent that she fouls up plans to get anything done. They admire that she's a maverck, an independent thinker who, as a bonus, makes sure that what the voters voted for, doesn't happen. But the moment she agrees to any increase in social spending, no matter how small, she's finished with the GOP. Assuming they make huge gains in the midterms, they will have no further use for her.
Chris Littel (Naples GL)
Silly column; did you ever ask if John McCain should become a Democrat because of his renegage positions? For many his No vote on Obama Care was traitorous and the last straw. He remained unapologetic and even though I disagreed with him I respected his position. Democrats are becoming more puntivite than collaborative and it will cost them next year.
Cameron (Rosenthal Eftekhari)
Sinema is a corrupt nihilist. Her engagement in this whole process has been putrescent with bad faith and dishonesty. While she has gotten rich off of her short time in office, it looks—if things continue on this trajectory—that her obstruction will result in the continued impoverishment of millions of her fellow Americans and the degradation of the environment.
TheraP (Midwest)
@Cameron Good description. Thank you!
acj (california)
How does the author back up her claim that Sinema can appeal to Independents? In the past 6 months, Sinema fell from a positive approval rating to a net negative approval rating among independents. https://mobile.twitter.com/AJentleson/status/1445131173181763592
CDP (CA)
This puff piece tries to put lipstick on pure corruption but we are not buying. Picking off individual Senators is the best veto point corporate interests have exploited for ages. Standing against things that poll at supermajority favorability (Medicare drug price negotiation) is not "coalition building". The popular coalition is already there. Sinema is using her power to weaken popular proposals that have majority support even among republican voters. Trying to paint "progressives" as the scapegoats in this instance is just pathetic.
WLS (NYC)
She is my favorite Senator :)
Abby (Tucson)
I hope she’s having fun with this because otherwise she might just be a pawn in someone else’s plan. Remember, Nigel Farage’s aide was busted after the RNC’s Cleveland Convention for laundering people’s money in bitcoins, then blackmailing the greedy bums. I wonder how many fell for it. Remember, AZ repeated the Abscam scandal proving it is hard to turn away foreign money even after you are shown how the FBI roll tape.
Richard (Austin, Texas)
Why is the Times devoting so much space to 'understanding' Kyrsten Sinema? Why should we care about the mind games this woman is playing, while all around her, the GOP is mounting an assault on democracy, truth, and simple decency, and she (obviously) doesn't care enough to oppose them. Why care about her, why try to get inside her head, when she obviously doesn't care about the country or its people?
Yankee49 (Rochester NY)
A barely subtle PR piece on Sinema. She has the perfect last name. She's always starring in her own movie. A fine example that narcissism and arrogance are gender-neutral.
Belzoni (Los Angeles)
She was IN the Democratic Party?! News to me...
Josh (Tampa)
That "unglamorous yet important" bill on war vets that she brags about is the easiest of easy paths to law in the nation. We get continual vets, cops, and widows bills in the far right Florida legislature, with nothing ever done to the good for the great mass of Floridians. Bragging about that point is clear proof she has no desire to get anything of substance done in Congress.
Reformist (Reno)
Good in depth article. However, maybe it just boils down to the old saw "Follow the money." A trusty guide to most politics.
KD Lawrence (Nevada)
Ms. Sinema is doing exactly what she was elected to do… represent the philosophies of Arizona people who elected her. Obviously, many were independents who tend to be more conservative than the liberal fringes of the Democratic Party enamored with Bernie for years. Thus, the moderate and liberal clash. This year Bernie’s crew took over the House and pushed what they call “Biden’s Agenda” or the Build Back Better bill. They then played obstructionists to get their way. Sinema and Manchin are both following the lead of the people who elected them… not necessarily the plan of big city Democratic's and a weak President. Under their current course, Kamala Harris won’t have to worry about casting the deciding vote come 2022.
Claytronica (MA)
@KD Lawrence Ah yes, those big city dems that are driving the policies - not, say, Biden - who is a moderate, and anything but weak. I'm not sure that Manchin and Sinema are doing what they were elected to do - but they're certainly doing what they're being PAID to do.
A.B. Moses (Westwood, NJ)
@KD Lawrence It is simply not true (a "lie" perhaps?) to infer that Sinema CURRENTLY represents the will of the Arizonians who elected her. You'll find this out when, after a few more years in her term destroying everything, she either gets primaried in AZ or she opts not to run again as a Democrat. Which BTW is my educated guess here. But you'll still blame all the ills of the world on Bernie, AOC, blah blah, because that's what you people do and the chattering class encourages it.
AC (Newman, GA)
Parliamentary systems require party loyalty. That doesn’t mean parlamentarians in countries around the world have undergone lobotomies, are betraying principles, etc, etc, etc. It means that they understand that the point of serving in a legislature is to legislate. Insisting on the purity of your own, individual principles and not continuing to work to reach a compromise with others through thick and thin (and it’s exhaustingly hard work) serves only to block the entirety of the President’s agenda and thereby pave the way for the return of a man who is a very real threat to democracy. What good have you and your principles done then? Such an easy question to answer.
B Sharp (Cincinnati)
Sinema is for the moment only, even with her Crayola colored wigs and edgy outfits some Democrat out there would beat her in the upcoming election.
Abby (Tucson)
@B Sharp The state’s party has already lined up a good option if she insists on weakening our democracy. We will not be funding her mendacity.
Dan Levin (Vallejo, CA)
** Sinema is a Trumpian Democrat ** Not because of policies, because, well, her views are inscrutable. Sinema is Trumpian because she's managed to make the political process all about her. She only thinks it's about the people. In fact, she has the same narcissistic, self-serving tendencies as our former president and should booted out of office as soon as possible.
Brett B (Phoenix, AZ)
Arizona voter here. Kyrsten Sinema let all of us down mightily- the Manchurian Senator. She’s not a maverick, she’s just a mean spirited opportunist looking to get in the millionaires gravy train as a lobbyist. She’s done as a Democrat- we know her number now and it’s shameful.
JeffT (Tucson)
Long time Arizona resident and former republican. (I will never vote for those corrupt idiots again). Sinema ran as a main stream democrat with a big commitment on environmental issues. The bait and switch is not appreciated here, same with the lack of constituent engagement or any public explanation of her positions, but she does somehow have time to teach two classes at ASU and make it to high roller buy a politician events.
mds (oregon)
I predict she will be roadkill in the 2024 primary.
Abby (Tucson)
@mds She may just jump to lobbying as she cannot withstand their gravity. Looks like they plumped this one and plan to roast her, too.
A.B. Moses (Westwood, NJ)
@mds She's obviously aware of that (although I'm reading here that she's spending a fortune on TV spots in AZ, urging viewers to "thank her" for her work in Washington! P.R. trumping reality yet again!). I've said this before: hold on for the speech just before re-election time, where she flips to the Republican Party and tells us all that "the Democrat Party left ME!"
Okiegopher (OK)
Let's boil this down.... it is simply time for Kyrsten Sinema to leave. Period. Full stop. End of sentence.
Roger L (San Jose, CA)
@Okiegopher Would that allow the republican governor of Arizona to name her replacement in the senate? What happens to her seat if she were to leave?
J.Santini (Berkeley, California)
It is time to exile her in Afghanistan!
Moby (Detroit, MI)
Ms Sinema it's simple, what parts of build back better do you support so we can move on?.
Dan Singer (Minnesota)
Portrait of a narcissist.
Abby (Tucson)
@Dan Singer She is imaged obsessed, but not too concerned about content. Could she be our Kardashian Candidate?
BVB (Canada)
A self-centered flake. This is what your senate has devolved to; dark comedy.
Jack Robinson (Colorado)
Let's face it, both Manchin and Sinema are motivated by two things - money and narcissism. Two wannabes who finally have a national spotlight and simply enjoy being the center of attention, constituents be dammed.
Robert (Gruber)
Sinema think she’s John McCain when in reality she’s Joe Lieberman.
TheraP (Midwest)
@Robert My dear departed spouse had one term for Joe Lieberman: Judas. Sounds like you might agree.
PNW Lady (Pacific Northwest)
This is a worthless editorial. It glosses over all the money Sinema takes from the fossil fuels industry and pharma industry. Also, after all the extensive reporting on climate change this paper has done, this piece is a joke as it mentions nothing of climate change and how what Sinema supports will ultimately hurt the planet. In a UK Channel 4 piece, Sinema was mentioned as one of the senators who received money from Exxon’s lobbying entities. Why is the author of this writing a fluff piece on Sinema? What’s her motivation? NYT, do better.
Michael (Washington, DC)
Can we just delete the last three words of the title?
Trevor Diaz (NYC)
What will she do? Go back to Frier Island in Europe from where her ancestors crossed Atlantic.
Voter Frog (Oklahoma City, OK)
Normally, diversity is a good thing. However, during wartime, unity is what's needed. The Republican Party has declared war on democracy. This is WWIII. Legislators like Sinema and Manchin are grandstanders giving aid and comfort to the enemy at a time when there's a very real possibility of the U.S. descending into chaos and kleptocracy.
czb (Northern Virginia)
"Her" inscrutability? How about the opaqueness of the $3.5T package we are being asked to support, or not support, by various representations? Try to find the details of the $332B housing part of the bill, with enough specificity to be able to know whether it's made of puppy dog and butterfly wishes, or if it's well ground. Try to find the details of the child care credits. Or which parts are means tested and which aren't. I'm not defending the Arizona senator, but the burden is on Democrats to make their proposal transparent, and as a Democrat who has tried hard to find out what's really in this thing, I can tell you it's anything but. If I was a senator I would be saying "no" too, until I found the bill both transparent and possibly defendable.
Charles Ross (Portland, Oregon)
@czb https://www.cbsnews.com/news/budget-reconciliation-bill-build-back-better-act/ There you go. I spent all of 8 seconds finding this.
czb (Northern Virginia)
@Charles Ross Actually lok closely. It says very little
s a (philadelphia)
Great piece. She broke her teeth on the 2000 Nader campaign that played an invaluable role in helping Bush 2 get elected. I wonder whether the pain she's seen inflicted on progressive causes by well intended "high-roaders" has left her struggling within a myopic centrist straight-jacket.
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