There are rarely surprises in Congress. You can usually correctly peg a politician just by listening to a few minutes of a stump speech. Yet, compared to what most thought she would be in 2018 during her run against Martha McSally, Kyrsten Sinema has transformed into something very different. She has managed to stake out a unique position as a moderate Democrat, akin to a unicorn these days, who is not willing to bow before the demands of the far-left, whether those demands are coming from the socialist wing or the White House.
In response, many Democrats have suggested primarying her, contending that her opposition to blowing up the filibuster, for example, is harming her credibility and favorability.
That appears to be completely false. In fact, Sinema is taking ground few politicians ever manage to step foot on.
I’ve seen these kinds of numbers for governors, but this is really something for a US Senator pic.twitter.com/bNkk2o2RX3
— Tony (@realtonysm1th) June 29, 2021
The top-line number isn’t that impressive, though, it is fairly high for a Senator to have a +13% approval rating in a swing state. Yet, it’s the breakdown of the favorable numbers that is truly surprising.
Sinema manages to be above 50% with both Democrats and Republicans, showing that she has a strong base of support in both parties. That just doesn’t happen when it comes to members of Congress. Oddly enough, Sinema struggles the most with independents, but given we have no idea what those people’s actual political beliefs are (and they could be all over the map), it’s hard to draw any conclusions from that. Regardless, it’s impressive that any Senator in our modern political moment could garner such wide, bipartisan support.
Now, to be sure, Sinema is a liberal, and no Republican voter should be under the illusion that she isn’t. If given the chance, you should vote against her in favor of a conservative. But where Sinema is truly different compared to her Democrat colleagues is that she has well-defined boundaries and sticks to them, even more so than faux moderate Joe Manchin. Despite an enormous amount of pressure, she has stood against the short-sighted outrage of her party to preserve the filibuster, something every Republican should be thankful for.
What does all this mean going forward? It likely means that Sinema is going to be in office as long as she wants to be. Republicans probably shouldn’t waste too much money trying to oppose her because with majorities approving of her from both parties, there’s little chance a challenger could make any headway. That’s not to say you don’t try with a decent candidate, but the new “maverick” looks to be here to stay.