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Wake Up, Progressives: You're Lucky To Have Kyrsten Sinema

Salena Zito on

Brian Murray knows just how fierce an opponent Arizona's Sen. Kyrsten Sinema can be. The Republican strategist saw his candidate lose to Democrat Sinema in their 2012 race for the House.

Calling the experience "unpleasant," Murray admits his candidate, Vernon Parker, was flawed, but "flawed candidates win all of the time. Kyrsten, however, was an absolute machine."

Sinema, along with fellow centrist Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, has recently become the epicenter of American politics largely because she insists on siding with the interests of her constituents instead of the demands of her party. Over the past few weeks, she has refused to support the Democrats' Build Back Better bill -- a social spending package with an initial $3.5 trillion price tag (now $2 trillion) to fight climate change, fund child care and universal pre-K, and extend the expanded child tax credit.

Progressives saw her stance as a betrayal, and she has been hounded by activists. At Arizona State University, where she is a lecturer, angry protesters followed her as she left a classroom and headed into a nearby restroom, chanting: "We need a Build Back Better plan right now!" Others demonstrated outside a private wedding she officiated in Bisbee, Arizona.

But Sinema has never been the "Prada Socialist" she once jokingly called herself in a 2006 interview with the now-shuttered fashion magazine 944.

Ever since January, the ruling class has expressed shock that she opposes the elimination of the Senate's 60-vote threshold. But she has held this view for the entire six years she served in the House and the three years she has spent in the Senate.

 

The left despises her obstructionist views that do not allow the Biden administration, and the Democrats, to get everything they want. But anyone who has ever listened to her speeches knows that Sinema has always been "Independent, like Arizona."

Born in Tucson, Sinema's parents divorced when she was a child, and she moved to a small town in Florida with her two siblings after her mother remarried. When her stepfather lost his job, the family became homeless and spent more than two years living in an abandoned gas station.

Eventually the family's economic fortunes improved, and they moved into a small home. Despite her circumstances, Sinema was a star student, graduating from Brigham Young University with a bachelor's degree, then going on to earn a Master's in social work, a law degree and a doctorate in justice studies.

Of her childhood with no electricity or running water, she told the Washington Post in 2013: "There are lots of people like that in this country. We don't talk about it, but it's true."

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