My favorite detail in this is that she won’t commit to caucusing with the Democrats, but she expects to keep all her committee assignments!
Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is leaving the Democratic Party and registering as a political independent, she told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an exclusive TV interview.
“I’ve registered as an Arizona independent. I know some people might be a little bit surprised by this, but actually, I think it makes a lot of sense,” Sinema said in a Thursday interview with Tapper in her Senate office.
“I’ve never fit neatly into any party box. I’ve never really tried. I don’t want to,” she added. “Removing myself from the partisan structure – not only is it true to who I am and how I operate, I also think it’ll provide a place of belonging for many folks across the state and the country, who also are tired of the partisanship.”
Sinema’s move away from the Democratic Party is unlikely to change the power balance in the next Senate. Democrats will have a narrow 51-49 majority that includes two independents who caucus with them: Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine.
While Sanders and King formally caucus with Democrats, Sinema declined to explicitly say that she would do the same. She did note, however, that she expects to keep her committee assignments – a signal that she doesn’t plan to upend the Senate composition, since Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer controls committee rosters for Democrats.
“When I come to work each day, it’ll be the same,” Sinema said. “I’m going to still come to work and hopefully serve on the same committees I’ve been serving on and continue to work well with my colleagues at both political parties.”
If you’re in the mood to read her own apologia it’s here. TL;DR: Partisanship bad; independence good.
I assume this little stunt will make no actual difference to her voting behavior. I do wonder what this means for the 2024 election: Is Arizona going to have an “independent” on the ballot, along with Democratic and Republican candidates — a circumstance that would surely hand the seat to the GOP? Do Democrats in Vermont and Maine just not run Senate candidates in the general?
Or maybe she’s delusional enough to run as the No Labels/Forward reactionary centrist grift candidate for president two years from now, although she would probably have to wrestle Andrew Yang for that particular prize.
Maybe the most likely outcome of all this is that she’s just going to bail from electoral politics altogether and take an eight-figure bribe from some VC outfit to thank her for her service.