The groups who helped Kyrsten Sinema win her Arizona Senate race in 2018 can’t get an audience with her or a phone call returned. Latino activists, women’s groups, LGBTQ advocates, veterans, Native Americans, environmental agencies, and others who canvassed for and donated to Sinema regularly complain that she won’t meet with them. Hell, even Joe Biden says she won’t return his calls, but she will talk to McConnell.
During the run-up to the Build Back Better vote these groups ran numerous ads on TV and in social media asking their Senator to support Biden’s agenda and overturn the filibuster, an outdated racist tool that still serves white supremacists (she didn’t). A group of veterans even quit her advisory committee, calling her one of the “principal obstacles to progress,” especially on voter rights and her convenient absence on the Jan. 6 Committee vote. Those TV ads and the vets’ public resignations were their only recourse, since she wouldn’t grant an audience. It got so bad an immigrant rights group followed her into a bathroom at ASU, while others confronted her at the airport, but what are constituents to do?
Sinema has “denied our requests, ignored our phone calls, and closed her office to her constituents. She hasn’t had a public event or town hall in years,” the email from [Living United for Change in Arizona] said, “No one wants to meet with their senator in the restroom.”
I’ve given up making phone calls or sending emails; some staffer hits a computer key and I receive the same meaningless gibberish no matter the topic. The replies always say she’s building “bipartisanship,” but has her dismantling of Biden’s programs ever gotten even one GOP vote? Her replies have a predictable pattern: she’ll thank you, then spend a page explaining how government works, as if you’ve never seen Schoolhouse Rock, but the reply rarely explains her position or the arguments that led her to hold it. I have never seen her on a television interview show defending her votes or engaged in a debate.
Most Arizonans, for instance, support a $15 minimum wage; she pats Mitch McConnell on the back, does a cute curtsy, and turns thumbs down on a barely livable wage. Over 90 percent of Arizonans want the federal government to negotiate Medicare drug prices; during her Senate campaign Sinema spoke favorably of that sensible approach, then she got $750,000 from the pharmaceutical industry and, poof, her support evaporated.
On Tuesday Sen. Sinema spoke to one group she’ll still grant an audience, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce. There was a time here when enlightened business leaders believed it was in their best economic interests, and the community’s, to support education, protect our majestic environment, champion arts and culture, help the underserved, promote diversity, and pay their fair share. Those days are gone; now it’s like an off-shoot of Koch Industries.
Along with Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly (WTF?) Sen. Sinema recently helped torpedo Biden’s nominee to head the Labor Department, David Weil, probably because he put workers before corporations when he was in the Obama administration. Most importantly, she and Manchin scuttled BBB because, for one thing, it raised taxes on the rich and corporations, which Americans support by a lot, but Tuesday Sen. Sinema told the Chamber of Commerce she still has their back if a new BBB is introduced:
“What I can't tell you is if negotiations will start again or what they’ll look like,” Sinema, D-Ariz., said at an Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry luncheon at the Arizona Biltmore resort in Phoenix. “But what I can promise you is that I'll be the same person in negotiations if they start again that I was in negotiations last year.”
She says a lot more garbage in that story, but in the interest of fair use and to save readers from throwing shit at their screens, I’ll stop. You probably know it boils down to not hurting her corporate donors by not helping the people who elected her. About 90% of those huge corporate donations are from out of state, but 100% of her voters are Arizonans. Many won’t be her voters in ‘24.
I see stories at Politico and other places where Beltway pundits say Sinema is playing some long-term, fourth dimension genius game that might even land her in the White House. I rarely if ever hear an Arizona Democrat say that. They’re mostly just pissed—over her D.C. obstruction and her silence over the state’s new abortion restrictions, LGBTQ attacks, and voter rights rollbacks.