(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.”
Over the past four years, I’ve worked proudly with other Senators in both parties and forged consensus on successful laws helping everyday Arizonans build better lives for themselves and their families. 2/3
— Kyrsten Sinema (@kyrstensinema) December 9, 2022
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.”
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.
I don't think any of that matters that much. She'll likely still caucus with the Dems.
But the move means she's not going to fold on the filibuster. It's a shot across the bow on that front, rebuking Dem leadership. That's the win. The rest is probably status quo. https://t.co/PA82XI6O6h
— Bonchie (@bonchieredstate) December 9, 2022
This explains why it's in Sinema's best interest to leave the party but continue caucusing with Dems; she gets to sidestep a primary challenge and dare the Dems to risk a general election challenger who would likely end up spoiling the race so a Republican could win. https://t.co/gF298YiP0L
— Robby Soave (@robbysoave) December 9, 2022
I will say: this video from Sinema makes the party switch to independent feel like a 2024 campaign launch. https://t.co/dgvkceGoCs
— Josh Kraushaar (@JoshKraushaar) December 9, 2022
Krysten Sinema is smart and is trying to get ahead of her 2024 re-election.
She knows she needs to start creating distance now from the Democrat Party.
This also shows how pessimistic she must be on where the economy is going and how 2024 voter sentiment will be affected.
— Cryptid Politics 🇺🇸 (@CryptidPolitics) December 9, 2022
Think we’ll get more fawning media pieces over Sinema’s history-making as a member of the LGBTQ community today?
— Sunny McSunnyface (@sunnyright) December 9, 2022
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.