The Arizona Democratic Party has formally censured Kyrsten Sinema, the US senator whose opposition to filibuster reform helped scuttle efforts to protect voting rights.
In statements on Saturday, the president of the Arizona party, Raquel Terán, saying: “While we are not pleased with this announcement, the ADP Executive Board has decided to formally censure Senator Sinema as a result of her failure to do all that is necessary to ensure the health of our democracy.”
The attempt to pass voting rights legislation died in the Senate this week, dealing a severe blow to Joe Biden and his party in a year that ends with midterm elections in which Republicans are expected to prosper.
Sinema and another moderate Democrat, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, opposed a measure to eliminate voting rights issues from filibuster, the Senate rule that most bills require 60 votes to advance.
Saying she opposed the reform because filibuster protected the rights of the Senate minority, Sinema said in a floor speech that she was “committed to doing my part to avoid toxic political rhetoric to build bridges, forge common ground and achieve lasting results for Arizona. and this country.”
Critics pointed out that the Republican senators in the 50-50 chamber not only represent million fewer Americans than Democrats, but the GOP itself was glad recently to change filibuster rules to require only a simple majority to confirm supreme court justices.
With that change made, Donald Trump was able to nominate three hard-line conservatives to a court that had already, when it was more balanced, gutted federal voting rights protections.
Since that Supreme Court decision in 2013, and at an increasing rate since Trump refused to admit defeat in the 2020 election, Republican-led state governments have passed laws critics say make it harder to vote. from communities that lean Democratic, particularly Black voters. .
Other measures, critics say, will make it easier for Republicans to overturn the results.
Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, stoked the buzz this week when, after the failure of the Democratic campaign for voting rights, he said: “The concern is misplaced, because if you look at the statistics, African-American voters are voting to the same extent a percentage as Americans.”
Diana DeGette, Democratic Representative from Colorado, saying: “African American voters ARE AMERICAN and to suggest otherwise is as racist as it gets.”
In his statement on Saturday, Terán said: “The Arizona Democratic Party is a diverse coalition with a lot of room for political disagreement.
“However, on the issue of filibuster and the urgency of protecting voting rights, we have been very clear on the choice between archaic legislation and protecting Arizonans’ voting rights. We chose the latter and always will.”
Terán praised Sinema’s role in passing Covid relief and a bipartisan infrastructure bill, key parts of Biden’s agenda. But he also highlighted Republican attempts to audit and overturn Trump’s loss in Arizona and new election laws being passed across the country.
“The ramifications of not passing federal legislation that protects [the] right to vote are too big and far-reaching,” he said.
Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator and progressive leader, said this week that he could back Manchin and Sinema’s main rivals when they run for re-election in 2024. Sinema also saw Emily’s List, a powerful abortion-rights group with deep ties to the Democrats. retain an endorsement.
On Saturday, Sinema’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The effects of censorship by a state are debatable. In Arizona, Republican John McCain was censored in 2014 for what his state party considered too liberal a voting record. The senator and 2008 presidential candidate took it in stride, as part of his public image as a political maverick.
Sinema won the Arizona Senate seat vacated by Jeff Flake, an anti-Trump conservative and also presents himself as free from traditional political codes.
Last year, Chuck Coughlin, a former Republican agent in the state, called Sinema a “pragmatist” who “understands that if she wants to be successful in Arizona, she has to be successful in this lane.”
However, Saundra Cole, a Democrat who once campaigned for Sinema, saw her opposition to an increase in the federal minimum wage as “a slap in the face.”
“She is not John McCain,” Cole said. “She is not a maverick. I didn’t agree with him on a lot of things, but at least we knew where he stood.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism