Sen. Kyrsten Sinema may no longer be a Democrat, but she is NOT independent

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Everything Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said about leaving the Democratic Party and registering as an independent was heartfelt and honest and true, except …

One thing.

OK, maybe two things.

I believe the senator, for example, when she said that she “never fit perfectly in either national party.” Although I’d imagine there are many individuals, Republicans and Democrats, who feel the same way but remain in their respective parties, recognizing that it is virtually impossible to fit “perfectly” into any large, diverse political organization. Or any other kind of organization. Or religious faith. Or club, or team, or profession. Even a family.

The senator is also 100% correct when she wrote in her op-ed for The Arizona Republic that her Senate seat “doesn’t belong to Democratic or Republican bosses in Washington.”And she is dead on again when she said her position in the Senate “doesn’t belong to me.”

No politician in D.C. is 'independent'

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema
Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema

Where Sinema drifts over the center line of the road separating truth from falsity is when she said her Senate seat “belongs to Arizona.”

Well … not really.

And where she completely swerves off the pavement and plunges into a ditch is when Sinema labels herself as “independent.”

In the election:How Republican voters helped Democrats win

The senator knows very well that no one operating in the political big leagues is “independent,” not given the amount of money needed to get and keep the jobs they have.

Stepping away from the Democratic Party wasn’t philosophical for Sinema. It was tactical.

Sinema knows how to cultivate wealthy friends

She has a plan. She always has a plan. She also has about $8 million in her campaign war chest and has a proven record of having raised tens of millions more.A politician can’t accumulate that kind of cash by being independent. She needs friends. Sinema has some very wealthy ones, and she knows how to cultivate them.

She irritated Democrats with her unwillingness to alter the filibuster rule in order to protect voting rights, and by going against a minimum wage increase as part of a pandemic relief bill.

She also spoiled Democrats’ efforts to raise taxes on the biggest corporations and the wealthiest Americans.

She answers to 'corporations and billionaires'

And Sinema protected a tax loophole that saved private equity and investment firms what is estimated to be $35 billion.Kim Clausing, a former Treasury Department official, said of that, “Those special interests get special tax treatment because they find susceptible politicians who accept their arguments. In this case Sinema.”

It has been pointed out that since the start of the 2018 election cycle, Sinema has drawn contributions of least $2 million from the securities and investment industry.That is why, after Sinema’s announcement, the Arizona Democratic Party said Sinema answers to “corporations and billionaires.”

It’s true that Sinema has collected a lot of cash from the superrich, including superrich GOP donors. It’s why others have called her a “hypocrite” who, in the words of possible Senate candidate Rep. Ruben Gallego, puts “her own interests ahead of getting things done for Arizonans.”

And why Rep. Raúl Grijalva said Sinema’s “alignment with wealthy and corporate interests has crippled her ability to support the Democratic agenda.”

Sinema's critics aren't exactly clean, either

Her critics have a point.

On the other hand, Democrats and Republicans have agendas as well. And agendas cost money. And the people who pay for a political party’s agenda have their own agendas. Which means agendas come with strings.

Nobody is clean.

The thing that makes the financially compromised, fat-cat dependent Republicans and Democrats a tad more credible than Sinema, however, is that they make no claim of being independent.

Reach Montini at

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Kyrsten Sinema left Democrats, but she is NOT independent