Sinema faces Arizona blowback over becoming the Senate's new unmovable roadblock
June 10, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 21%. 2 min read.
UNITED STATES - JUNE 10: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., is seen during a vote in the Capitol on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Alejandra Gomez worked tirelessly to get Democrats, including Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, elected in 2018. But now she feels betrayed.
The 39-year-old co-executive director of the community organizing group LUCHA went door to door in the sweltering Arizona heat in 2018, turning out the Democratic voters that helped get Sinema elected to the Senate.
But the bulk of that influence has fallen on the shoulders of Democratic senators like Sinema, willing to buck their party on key priorities.
Sinema won the support of nearly all Democratic groups ahead of her Senate run, touted as a top tier recruit and someone who could win in a state that had not been too favorable to Democrats.
With that help, however, Sinema won, becoming the first woman to represent Arizona in the Senate.
The fact that so many new political activists helped Democrats get elected in 2018, argued Julie Erfle, an Arizona communications consultant and AZMirror columnist, is part of the reason so many of Sinema's one-time supporters feel deflated.
"They're upset at Sen. Sinema because they believe that she's holding the party back and she's really a hindrance to some of these policies," Erfle said, adding that she, too, is "a little puzzled" at the senator's political positioning because there are very few signs that Republicans are willing to strike the compromise that Sinema says she is looking for.
This happened most viscerally earlier this year when Sinema joined seven other Senate Democrats to vote against raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Even though the Arizona Democrat was part of a broader group, it was her vote -- which she made with what looked like a gleeful thumbs down and knee bend on the Senate floor -- that incensed liberal Democrats, even if she said she cast the vote because she wanted the measure separated from the coronavirus relief bill.
She seemed like she was going to be a progressive stalwart and a new kind of progressive fighter in the Senate," said Corbin Trent, who joined with other progressives to launch the No Excuses PAC as a venture to oust both Sinema and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, another Democrat holding up the party's priorities.