The 39-year-old co-CEO of the community organization group LUCHA went door to door in the dizzying Arizona heat of 2018 and showed the Democratic voters who helped get Sinema elected to the Senate. The work was difficult and the hours long, but Gomez and others deeply believed in the need to defeat Republican Martha McSally, who had adapted to then-President Donald Trump.
Gomez now has another brand for the woman she helped choose: A wolf in sheep’s clothing.
“What has happened is a complete slap in the face to our members, the work they have done, and the change they are trying to make in our community,” Gomez said. “If she’s not part of the solution, she̵
In an evenly divided senate, every single senator has considerable power. But most of that influence has fallen on the shoulders of Democratic senators like Sinema, who are willing to put their party on key priorities. The positioning has raised the senator’s profile – she is now often talked about nationally, which a President Joe Biden’s administration must build and is at the center of talks on a comprehensive infrastructure bill.
But at home, her refusal to support a number of democratic priorities – from getting rid of the filibuster to raising the minimum wage to $ 15 – an hour – has created deep distrust of her party’s base and even spurred groups like LUCHA to look for alternatives to run against her in the Democratic election when she is up for re-election in 2024.
“We are ready to support a viable candidate who is ready to actually stand for our community,” Gomez said.
Asked whether the challenge of Sinema was worth risking losing the seat to a Republican, Gomez did not go down.
“We already have a Republican in this seat,” she said.
From the Green Party to the Senate centrist
Sinema, whose Senate office declined to comment on this story, is in part a product of a politically changing Arizona.
During this time, Arizona – once a Republican bastion that produced people like Barry Goldwater and John McCain – began to shift to the left, spurred on by a growing Latino population and voters who moved to the desert from more liberal states like California and Illinois. . .
While China’s victory in 2018 in many ways signaled that the political shift was on its way, the incoming senator’s policy began to move toward the center during his time in the House. The Arizona Democrat joined the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of Democrats who identify as centrists, and The Problem Solvers Caucus, a two-party group that shapes itself as dealmakers across party lines.
Sinema won the support of almost every Democratic group prior to her Senate run, hailed as a top-class recruit and someone who could win in a state that had not been too favorable for the Democrats. But she ran a careful campaign and avoided several controversial issues and in the eyes of National Democrats knocked that the national anti-Trump sentiment would be enough to win.
Her election, like many in 2018, brought out people who had never been involved in politics, spurred on by Trump’s White House victory two years earlier, and the feeling that the intervening periods could show that the country rejected his kind of leadership. With that help, however, Sinema won and became the first woman to represent Arizona in the Senate.
The fact that so many new political activists helped Democrats get elected in 2018, claimed Julie Erfle, an Arizona communications consultant and AZMirror columnist, is part of the reason so many of Sino’s one-time supporters feel deflated.
“They’re sorry about Senator Sinema because they think she’s holding back the party, and she really is an obstacle to some of those policies,” Erfle said, adding that she, too, is “a little confused” about the senator’s political positioning. because there are very few signs that Republicans are willing to make the compromise that Sinema says she’s looking for.
Few questions have more focused on liberal anger over Sinema than Senate filibusters, a rule that requires 60 votes to pass most laws. Many Democrats want to change the filibuster rule and let most laws pass by a simple majority. Sinema has opposed these changes and recently stood with Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn to say Democrats are pushing a “false choice” in the debate over the filibuster.
“The reality is that when you have a system that does not work effectively – and I think most people agree that the Senate is not a particularly well-oiled machine, right – the way to fix it is to fix your behavior, not to remove the rules or change the rules, but to change the behavior, ”she told reporters in Texas as she toured the U.S.-Mexico border.
Blowback was quick, with Dan Pfeiffer, who was once one of the biggest aides to President Barack Obama, arguing that China’s statement “tells any Democratic activist and donor on the grassroots plan that helped get her elected to go loose on himself. “
Erfle described himself as “a little frustrated.”
“I really hoped she would not have dug so far into saying no to (changing) the filibuster,” the columnist said. “I think there is room to reform the filibuster. I personally would like to see it gone, but if it is not gone, at least reform it to make it a real filibuster.”
Sino’s problems are not limited to Arizona, where national Democratic agents regularly and publicly call on the legislature for its actions.
This happened most viscerally earlier this year, when Sinema joined seven other Senate Democrats to vote against raising the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour. Although the Arizona Democrat was part of a broader group, it was her vote – which she did with what looked like a happy thumbs down and kneeling on the Senate floor – that upset Liberal Democrats, even though she said she cast her vote because she wanted the measure to be separated from the coronavirus assistance proposal.
Rep. Mark Pocan, a progressive Democrat representing Madison, Wisconsin, went a step further by retweeting a message published by Sinema in 2014 in which she promised to raise the minimum wage.
And at home, along with Gomez and Lucha, she got furious the way she did.
“To see her crooked and dance and walk away so freaking out,” Gomez said, “she sent the message to millions of Americans and to the Arizona people that she does not care.”
In response, Liberals have managed to oust the same senator they helped elect in 2018, hoping to beat her from her Senate perch as a warning to other moderates.
“There was a real excitement in the campaign she was running. She seemed like she was going to be a progressive opponent and a new kind of progressive fighter in the Senate,” said Corbin Trent, who joined other progressives to launch No Excuses PAC. as a venture to remove both Sinema and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, another Democrat who holds the party’s priorities. “That’s what’s particularly disappointing.”
The Super PAC is now running radio ads in Arizona that accuse Sinema of “flip-flopping” and are “more committed to protecting Washington’s passivity and dysfunction.”
“Right now, what she’s fighting to protect is her own political relevance,” Trent told CNN. “She is fundamentally on a political campaign to protect the power of an individual senator.”
But it was a picture the senator sent to Instagram in April that activists at home really think captures the way she feels about them: The cinema is seen wearing a ring that says “F *** Off” while sitting by it, that looks like a restaurant and sip a drink.
“Her message to them,” Gomez said, “was clear from her ring.”