The latest cause du jour to demonstrate how far the progressives have invaded the Democrats’ old guard territory is a call this week to censure their own newly elected US senator, Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), for being a tad rogue. It seems Sinema is a bit more independent than progressive – more interested in getting the job done than sticking to relentless ideology – and as we all know, that’s not in the 2019 leftist playbook. No, Democrats have become the party of “our way or the highway,” and some of the minions might need a public flogging to encourage a continuance of towing that line.
What on God’s half-acre did Sinema do to rouse the ire of her own people? Several eye-popping moves including going against the all-white dress code for the State of the Union in favor of hot pink and voting to confirm Attorney General Bill Barr, as well as David Bernhardt to serve as secretary of the interior. Oh, the horror.
Sinema has voted against Republicans and Trump 81% of the time during her short stay in the US Senate. Compare this to her stint in the US House of Representatives, where her record was a 62% favorable rate for Trump’s policies. Apparently, no one was paying attention until the AG’s office was up for grabs.
Dan O’Neal is the Arizona state coordinator for Progressive Democrats of America, and it was he who set the censure call in motion, evidently hoping to rein in the runaway senator. He said:
“Here’s the thing: We really support Kyrsten Sinema, we want her to succeed, we want her to be the best senator in the country. But the way she is voting is really disappointing. We want Democrats to vote like Democrats and not Republicans.”
The Censure Slap on the Wrist
In the real world, where folks other than progressives live, a state political party censure is no more than an attempt to publicly humiliate an elected official. There are no ramifications whatsoever – not legal, not career-ending, nada. A parent grounding a child for missing curfew would be a more punitive measure. It must be a euphoric sensation though, at least for Arizonans, as they have done it before – in 2014 when the late Sen. John McCain was in the hot seat for not being “enough” of a right-wing Republican. The action of the Arizona State Republican Party passed, yet as the nation witnessed time and again, it did not deter the man from voting how he damn well pleased. Is Sinema all that different? She certainly isn’t attending to the wails and threats of the progressive wing of her party. In the past, she has pooh-poohed the insults and chides from radicals who say she is too bipartisan. Last July, as the nastiness rolled off her back, she held fast to her campaign promises, saying:
“As everyone knows, I am 100% focused on the needs of everyday Arizonans, and I refuse to be distracted by the pettiness and the partisanship that has invaded Washington. I promised Arizonans that I would never be a part of that typical Washington chaos and drama and I’m going to continue to stay focused, just like a laser, on the stuff that actually matters to the people in their everyday lives.”
The Democrats will meet on Saturday to decide if a public flogging is worth the wasted time and effort. As Arizona Democratic Party Chairwoman Felecia Rotellini told a local news outlet, she doesn’t believe it will pass. She added, “We are a very diverse group and that means diversity of thought, as well. I don’t think it reflects poorly on the party at all, I don’t think it’s an indication of a fracture.”
But that is precisely what a censure indicates. And the Democrats nationwide are in the same chaotic, fragmented predicament.