US Senator Kyrsten Sinema announced today that she was changing her party affiliation from Democrat to unaffiliated. POLITICO had the scoop:
Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is changing her party affiliation to independent, delivering a jolt to Democrats’ narrow majority and Washington along with it.
In a 45-minute interview, the first-term senator told POLITICO that she will not caucus with Republicans and suggested that she intends to vote the same way she has for four years in the Senate. “Nothing will change about my values or my behavior,” she said.
Provided that Sinema sticks to that vow, Democrats will still have a workable Senate majority in the next Congress, though it will not exactly be the neat and tidy 51 seats they assumed. They’re expected to also have the votes to control Senate committees. And Sinema’s move means Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — a pivotal swing vote in the 50-50 chamber the past two years — will hold onto some but not all of his outsized influence in the Democratic caucus.
Meanwhile, Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri says his GOP needs to “listen to working people” and create “something new.” Hawley wrote in the Washington Post:
For decades, Republican politicians have sung a familiar tune. On economics, they have cut taxes on the big corporations and talked about changing Social Security and Medicare — George W. Bush even tried to partially privatize Social Security back in 2005. In the name of “growth,” these same Republicans have supported ruinous trade policies — such as admitting China to the World Trade Organization — that have collapsed American industry and driven down American wages.
This tax-and-trade agenda has hollowed out too many American towns by shipping jobs overseas. It has made it almost impossible to raise a family on one income and to find a good-paying job that doesn’t require a college degree. Our trade deficit with China has cost this country 3.7 million good jobs, while a crisis of drug overdose deaths — particularly among working Americans — has ravaged many of the same communities that have suffered most from deindustrialization. It has all made it harder to stay rooted in your hometown or region. That’s not a record of success.
Republican politicians have frequently advocated higher immigration levels and four years ago went all in for soft-on-crime “sentencing reform.” They have done nothing on Big Tech. This record doesn’t appeal to working people. Just the opposite: It repels them. If Republicans want to be a majority party, now is the time to change course.
Republicans will secure the generational victories they crave only when they come to terms with this reality: They must convince a critical mass of working-class voters that the GOP truly represents their interests and protects their culture. The red wave didn’t land in part because voters who cast a ballot for Barack Obama and later supported Donald Trump — voters who likely disapprove of Joe Biden and the Democrats’ agenda — chose to stay home.