We must admit, back when Kyrsten Sinema was running for U.S. Senate in Arizona, we were pretty unimpressed. She seemed to have a knack for saying stuff she shouldn’t have.

But since she was sworn in, the Democrat has pleasantly surprised us by her refusal to worship at the altar of progressivism.

Mother Jones, on the other hand, is less pleasantly surprised:


Tim Murphy writes:

To Sinema’s progressive critics, her vote was a funhouse mirror image of John McCain’s thumbs-down vote to save the Affordable Care Act four years earlier—only now an Arizona Democrat was rejecting one of her party’s biggest legislative priorities. More alarming was her opposition to reforming the filibuster, the Senate rule that allows a minority of senators to block a piece of legislation from coming to a vote. Weeks earlier, Sinema, who rarely speaks to reporters from news outlets that are not based in her home state, had drawn a sharp line during an interview with Politico: “I want to restore the 60-vote threshold for all elements of the Senate’s work,” she said. In the face of united Republican opposition, many Democrats feared such a standard would doom almost every piece of their agenda—from immigration reform to voting rights to LGBTQ equality.

Democrats expected such intransigence from West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, a conservative from a state Donald Trump carried by 39 points, who once shot climate legislation with a gun and whose wife cuts his hair with a Flowbee. But to those who have supported Sinema from the beginning of her career, her heel-turn is more painful. Long before she became one of the Democratic caucus’s most centrist members, Sinema was so liberal she refused to even join the party. From her family’s struggle with poverty during her childhood to her Green Party roots, her rise is the story of striving and adaptation, and of the transformation not just of an idealist, but of a state—from a Republican stronghold she once dubbed the “meth lab of democracy” to a bona fide battleground.

But in the process, Sinema has left some back home wondering whether she’s misread the lessons of her own ascent. As a progressive in one of the nation’s most conservative state legislatures, Sinema abandoned her early radicalism for a new theory of change. She learned to play nice, seeking incremental progress through careful messaging and across-the-aisle relationships, and reinventing herself as a post-partisan deal-maker. But her success was also powered by an army of activists—outsiders like she had once been—operating on a far different theory of change. Now, for the first time in her career, she holds real power. The future of the party and the Senate just might hinge on what Kyrsten Sinema wants to do with it.

Apparently Mother Jones hasn’t considered that the reason Sinema holds so much power is that the Democratic Party’s hard swing to the Left has alienated a lot of moderates. If Democrats want to hold onto their majority, they need to reject the radical progressivism that Mother Jones advocates so hard for.