Why Arizona Democrats Are Learning To Despise Kyrsten Sinema
Reprinted with permission from DailyKos
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona has committed two political sins this year that have decimated her standing with Arizona's Democratic voters. One—a vote against including a $15 minimum-wage hike in Democrats' pandemic relief package—left the indelible image of Sinema flashing her thumbs down on the Senate floor, punctuated by a sickly ironic curtsy as she denied several million Americans the chance to lift themselves out of poverty. Sinema was one of eight senators who caucus with Democrats to vote against inclusion of the minimum wage increase the pandemic bill.
In the Civiqs tracking poll, Sinema started out the minimum wage battle earlier this year with a 60-plus favorability among Arizona Democrats until around mid-February, when she began making known her intention to vote against its inclusion in the American Rescue Plan. By the time the Arizona senator came out the other side of that vote, her favorables among the state's Democratic voters had been cut nearly in half to about 33 percent.
But the less infamous point of ignominy that tanked Sinema's approvals among her state's Democratic voters was a function of her absence rather than her presence. After calling a vote for a bipartisan commission to investigate January 6 "critical," Sinema decided to just skip it anyway. The May 28 vote on the bipartisan commission, which had already cleared the House, failed in the Senate 54 - 35. The Senate vote required 60 "yeas" to beat a GOP filibuster and would have failed even if Sinema had decided to show up.
But to add insult to injury, a Sinema spokesperson offered that the Senator "would've voted yes" if she had been there.
Not surprisingly, that response failed to quell the controversy. The following week, Sinema gave it another unconvincing try while standing side-by-side with Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas after touring migrant facilities in Tucson.
"I had a personal family matter," Sinema offered curtly, without elaborating further.
In the same press conference, Sinema re-upped her defense of the Senate filibuster rule, saying it "protects the democracy of our nation," despite the fact that the 60-vote threshold had just doomed a commission she declared "critical" and would have otherwise cleared the upper chamber with a simple majority.
In Civiqs tracking, Sinema emerged from the January 6 commission flap with a disastrous 18% favorability rating among Democrats. Her favorables with Republicans, however, ticked up nearly 10 points while also gaining a handful of points with independents, virtually offsetting her drop among Democratic voters.
The long and the short of it is, Democratic voters appear to have concluded that Sinema doesn't share their values, presently leaving her with a catastrophic 17 percent favorable to 65 percent unfavorable rating among them, according to Civiqs tracking.
Sinema may ultimately earn some good will among Arizona Democrats if both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the Democrats-only jobs bill manage to reach President Joe Biden's desk. But depending on how those bills land with the public, Sinema's clear objections to several of the bill's most popular provisions might also chafe Democratic voters. Not only has Sinema opposed the popular prescription drug pricing provision, she is also reportedly lobbying against certain corporate and individual tax rate increases Democrats hope to use to fund their $3.5 trillion budget bill.
The New York Times writes Sinema "has privately told Senate Democratic colleagues that she is averse to the corporate and individual tax rate increases that both the House and Senate tax-writing committees had planned to use to help pay for the measure." At the same time, Sinema is holding high-dollar fundraisers with business groups that oppose having to pay those taxes, according to the Times. It's worth noting here that, for months, poll after poll has shown the idea of raising taxes on the nation's wealthiest corporations and individuals to fund Biden's jobs bills to be extremely popular. Simply put, it's what the American people want and it makes the investments even more popular than they already are.
At this point, Sinema's polling deficits with Democrats may be too dismal to overcome in a 2024 Democratic primary, no matter what she does. But so far, that doesn't appear to be keeping her up at night, either.
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