Politics

Is it time for the queer community to cancel Kyrsten Sinema?

Kyrsten Sinema
Kyrsten SinemaPhoto: Campaign website

Out Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has been taking heat for derailing President Joe Biden’s progressive agenda to rebuild America, but her donors and activists both are quickly growing tired of her grandstanding – and now several constituency groups are quietly asking whether it’s time to “cancel” the bisexual politician.

The out Senator has become one of the biggest obstacles to LGBTQ civil rights, raising the minimum wage, and voting rights. She’s blocking the progressive agenda before Republicans get a chance.

Related: Kyrsten Sinema faces condemnation for “no” vote against increasing the minimum wage

Just Democracy, a coalition of more than 40 “Black and Brown-led” progressive organizations focused on voting reform have launched a campaign targeting Sinema for claiming to support issues that matter to her constituents but abandoning them in favor of a racist procedural move spawned out of Jim Crow.

With the Senate evenly divided, Sinema’s support for landmark progressive priorities like civil rights legislation, increasing the minimum wage, and infrastructure repair and investment is critical. Republicans, however, can filibuster and force the Senate to require 60 votes to proceed to an actual vote. Democrats have the ability to change the rules – allowing them to pass legislation with only 51 votes since Vice President Kamala Harris (D) would break the tie vote.

While serving in the Arizona state legislature and in her earliest runs for federal office, Sinema positioned herself as a progressive proud member of the LGBTQ community. Since being elected to the Senate, she’s consistently tried to craft an image as a “maverick” in the vein of deceased Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

Sinema vocally called for voting reform, LGBTQ equality, and raising the minimum wage. But by refusing to join Democrats in killing the filibuster, she’s stopped all three issues from advancing.

“These words are meaningless unless you back them up,” Pastor Reginald Walton, chair of civic engagement at the African American Christian Clergy Coalition, says in the new ad.

An OH Predictive Insights’  Arizona Public Opinion Pulse poll last March showed support for the senator dropping like a rock. Although the results were within the margin of error, the poll shows that her unfavorable ratings outweighed positive reviews of her performance.

Forty percent of respondents had an unfavorable opinion of Sinema. Thirty-nine percent viewed her favorably. The margin of error is 3.7%.

Only 50 percent of Democrats give Sinema a thumbs up now and 30 percent view her unfavorably after her opposition to raising the federal minimum wage despite campaigning to increase it and her staunch support for the filibuster.

Even worse, liberal democrats – the most energized portion of the Democratic base currently – are losing faith. Less than half have a favorable opinion of her now.

Sinema voted against Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) amendment to the COVID-19 relief stimulus package bill on March 5 that would have stipulated raising the minimum wage to $15.

Sinema has opposed killing the archaic racist remnant of previous Congresses despite knowing that civil rights protections for LGBTQ people hang in the balance. While LGBTQ activists and donors have dutifully supported her campaign previously, many are now wondering if they shouldn’t waste their time.

So far, queer advocacy groups have not directly launched attacks against the Senator, but discussions are happening internally according to sources.

“As the GOP tries to silence our voices, she’s just standing by supporting a Jim Crow relic instead,” the narrator says in the ad. “You’re refusing to stand with us, Sen. Sinema. Why should we stand with you?”

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