Bisexual Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) is having a particularly bad week. Her advisors are quitting and even other queer lawmakers are breaking the unspoken code they all follow.
While some other Democrats have spoken out about Sinema’s flippant attempts to undercut President Joe Biden’s priorities, the other out legislators have refrained. Now, that’s starting to change.
The LGBTQ community is seething that Sinema’s callous and attention-seeking moves have delayed – or even doomed – history nondiscrimination protections for the queer community. She says she supports it – along with voter’s rights, women’s healthcare, and economic investment – but her “concerns” that the über-wealthy and corporations would pay their fair share of taxes apparently is more important to her.
Sinema’s approval rating fell from 48 percent to 42 percent among registered voters in Arizona between the first and third quarters of 2021, At the same time, her disapproval numbers rose from 35 percent to 42 percent during that time.
It’s not just Sinema’s betrayal of her party’s priorities that are irritating Arizona Democrats. Sinema has rightly earned a reputation as someone who doesn’t even talk to her constituents. She doesn’t host town halls or hold press conferences. She goes to such lengths to avoid talking to voters that she locked herself in a bathroom when activists tried to confront her.
“There is a sense in which we no longer live in a democracy; we live under the tyranny of Kyrsten Sinema,” Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) said on CNN. “I welcome the ideological diversity of the party. I can live with dissent. My colleagues and I have trouble living with what we perceive to be erraticism. The perception of erraticism is brought on by a lack of communication and clarity for where she stands.”
Five military veterans who advise Sinema on policy issues sent the senator a scathing letter earlier this week to say they were quitting. They accused her of using them as “window dressing” while ignoring their recommendations. Sinema has reneged on her campaign promises, they said.
“Are you choosing to answer to big donors and lobbyists rather than Arizonans?” they asked in the letter. “These are not the actions of a maverick.”
It’s impossible to know what political game Sinema is playing. Maybe she’s setting herself to become Independent. Maybe she thinks that mimicking the late Sen. John McCain (R), a fellow Arizonan, will earn her the goodwill of voters. Or maybe she’s just so enamored of the spotlight that she will do everything possible to hog it.
Whatever game Sinema is playing, it sure looks like a losing one.
If Sinema thinks that Democrats will forget her antics, she’s sorely mistaken. If she thinks that Republicans will suddenly embrace a former Green Party activist who is an out bisexual, she’s in for a rude surprise. The only outcome she can count on is losing support from all sides.
“Nobody knows what she is thinking because she doesn’t tell anybody anything,” Sylvia González Andersh, one of the veterans who served on Sinema‘s board, told the Times. “It’s very sad to think that someone who you worked for that hard to get elected is not even willing to listen.”