Featured Image
 Wikimedia Commons

(LifeSiteNews) – Pro-abortion U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona stunned the political world Friday by announcing she was changing her party affiliation from Democrat to Independent, prompting speculation as to the implications for the future.

“Everyday Americans are increasingly left behind by national parties’ rigid partisanship, which has hardened in recent years,” Sinema explained in an AZ Central op-ed. “Pressures in both parties pull leaders to the edges, allowing the loudest, most extreme voices to determine their respective parties’ priorities and expecting the rest of us to fall in line.”

An open bisexual, Sinema is a conventional Democrat on abortion and LGBT issues, but has dissented from her party on others, most significantly their desire to abolish the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster threshold for most legislation – a prerequisite for enacting Democrats’ most transformative agenda items, such as codifying a national “right” to unlimited abortion or eliminating states’ ability to secure their elections.

Sinema stressed that she would continue in her “unwavering view that a woman’s health care decision should be between her, her doctor, and her family,” and that “LGBTQ Americans should not be denied any opportunity because of who they are or who they love,” among other positions. 

“Some partisans believe they own this Senate seat,” she wrote. “They don’t.  This Senate seat doesn’t belong to Democratic or Republican bosses in Washington. It doesn’t belong to one party or the other, and it doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to Arizona, which is far too special a place to be defined by extreme partisans and ideologues.”

Sinema has also said she will not caucus with Republicans; one of her colleagues, Democrat Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, downplayed the significance of the change by noting that Sinema “tends not to go to the caucus meeting […] except for rare moments where she’s advocating for something she cares about.”

READ: Radical pro-abortion Democrat Raphael Warnock keeps Senate seat in Georgia runoff

Many have speculated as to Sinema’s motives for the switch, and how it will impact both her political future and legislation in the incoming Congressional session.

Last month’s midterm elections gave Democrats a 51-seat Senate majority while giving Republicans narrow control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Sinema’s defection reduces Democrats’ official total back to the same 50 it was before, though Republican seats remain reduced to 49, and as a practical matter the results will vary depending on individual votes.

READ: Elon Musk confirms Twitter ‘shadow banned’ conservative political candidates