What Could Happen as Senator Sinema Leaves the Democratic Party

It’s fun to think of all of the possible ramifications due to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) leaving the Democratic Party. There’s really not much benefit to the GOP, but there are some long shots that could be tantalizing. 

Democrats still control the chamber, but it could get very interesting when Sinema has to run again in 2024. There is huge animosity between the Arizona Senator and her state’s Democratic Party, if fact, Arizona Democrats have already censured Sinema for not wanting to do away with the filibuster. 

She is also at the forefront of this terrible immigration package that she and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) have put together. It will place literally millions of illegal aliens on the track for U.S. citizenship. 

This is amnesty even though they don’t want to call it that, and it will bolster the left’s confidence on the front end and give the party millions of new potential Democratic voters on the back end. It’s a lose-lose for Republicans. 

It will be very interesting to see how Chuck Schumer treats Sinema in the coming days. Instead of immediately punishing her for her defection, Schumer allowed her to keep her committee assignments for the time being. 

But the most interesting scenario of all will be when she runs again for her senate seat in a couple of years. She will undoubtedly face a Democratic challenger, and the split vote could very well open the path for a Republican to take away her seat. 

This is where we might just see Kari Lake reemerge onto the police scene, bypassing the governor’s mansion and going right to Washington. 

Here is some history about the elections in the red state of Arizona. Democrats have won unlikely victories because a critical mass of independents and moderate Republicans did not want MAGA-aligned GOP nominees.

In the future, if Sinema seeks a general election and a moderate and progressive Democrat split the votes, that is where a GOP candidate like Kari Lake could be a winner. 

The White House and the Democratic Senate campaign arm will have to deal with two really important questions. If Sinema runs for re-election, will they endorse her independent candidacy? This could end a serious Democrat from challenging her. 

Or will they stand behind a Democrat like Rep. Ruben Gallego or Rep. Greg Stanton? This is risky and could result in a GOP candidate winning. 

Right now Democratic senators are not saying whether they would support a Democratic challenger against Sinema or comment on whether the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee or allied outside groups, such as Senate Majority PAC, should back her reelection. 

“It’s her personal decision. I just hope she’s with us for some important votes in the future,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). He is the second-ranking member of the Senate Democratic leadership. 

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) is usually not one to keep silent on issues, and is also not saying much when it comes to Sinema’s decision to leave the party. She did emphasize that Sinema’s decision will not affect the Democrats’ outright majority control of the Senate which was narrowly won when Sen. Raphael Warnock defeated Herschel Walker in the Georgia runoff election. 

“She’s part of our 51 Democratic caucus so that’s what’s important,” Hirono said. When she was asked if Sinema’s decision was disappointing, Hirono said, “No, she does what she does.” 

“It’s not going to change the fact that we’re going to have a majority in the committees. That’s very important,” she added. 

Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), the incoming Senate president pro tempore, said she didn’t want to speculate on Sinema’s potential 2024 reelection campaign. 

“I’ll answer that when she decides what she’s going to do,” she said.  

So while the Democrats are licking their wounds from Sinema’s decision and trying to make everyone believe there’s no real consequence to her actions, Kari Lake is licking her chops for the next senate race.