Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema may no longer be a Democrat, but she has no plans at all of becoming a Republican, either.
Sinema, who was long considered a moderate Democrat – and a thorn in the side of many people in the party – switched her affiliation from liberal to Independent a few months ago. That sparked discussion about whether she might join the Republican Party at some point, especially because she has cast many controversial votes against the rest of the Democrats over the last two years.
But, while appearing on the “Face the Nation” program on CBS over the weekend, Sinema said that she believes America’s two-party political system is simply broken. Instead of working together, she outlined how she believed Republicans and Democrats have now simply moved to extreme rhetoric.
She told the program’s host, Margaret Brennan:
“In today’s political climate, Margaret, as you see every day, there is less tolerance for difference. There was less willingness for individuals to have their own opinions to make their own decisions.
“And I think that’s something that we have a duty to do, which is to remind everyone you should think for yourself. It’s OK not to agree 100% with another. It is, in fact, important to our democracy that you’re not doing that.”
Brennan then asked whether Sinema was done with political parties entirely, and Sinema quickly replied, “absolutely.”
The follow-up question was whether Sinema had considered registering as a Republican ever, but she just laughed off that question entirely.
In late 2022, Sinema decided to leave the Democratic Party and officially become an Independent. At the time, she gave an interview to CNN, saying it just made sense for her because she doesn’t fit into “any party box.”
She said at the time:
“I’ve never fit neatly into any party box. I’ve never really tried. I don’t want to. 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.”
That’s very apparent based on her recent voting record. She and fellow moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia scuttled a number of Democrat-led initiatives in the upper chamber that would’ve seen the country spend trillions of dollars more than it already is.
The senator has continued to say that the important thing for her to do – and for the country – is to work together on a bipartisan basis to pass legislation such as the Electoral Reform Count Act, the Respect for Marriage Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Sinema is facing re-election in her home state of Arizona in 2024, and it might be an uphill climb for her now that she’s an Independent. It means she’ll likely face a staunch challenge from both a Republican and a Democrat in the general election that year.