We Need More People Like McCain, Sinema

When Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema was running for office, she made a campaign promise to work together. She said she’d work with anyone who was willing to work with her. And it’s a fact. While in the Arizona State Legislature she got more of her bills passed than anyone, which is quite a feat considering that the State House, State Senate and Arizona’s Governor’s office were and still are all controlled by Republicans. Something Congresswoman Sinema is not.

She took her plan to play well with others to Washington D.C. There, she’s worked with Republicans, and Democrats, and has voted with both parties on more than one occasion.

There’s a fine line of partisan politics that Congresswoman Sinema is walking. And understandably so. She represents Arizona’s newest Congressional district. District nine is made up of more Independents than Democrats or Republicans. It’s considered a swing district, and if Sinema decided to be the extreme liberal she is not, she’d probably lose her chance of serving another term. By voting with Republicans on a variety of issues, the Congresswoman has annoyed some of her Democrat base. So much so that that there’s a group of liberals looking for a Democrat to run against her in a primary. 

In Arizona, our state leans more often than not “red” — but that isn’t to say that Democrats cannot win here. Obviously, Sinema proved that. What she also proved is that she wants to represent the people of her diverse district to the best of her ability. The Congresswoman is, as the Arizona Republic said when endorsing, “sophisticated enough” to know that if she wants to win she needs to make sure her votes are what her districts wants. She cannot be the liberal Democrat that her base wants her to be, because frankly she won’t win again if she were to do that. Nor would she be keeping her campaign promise.

But Congresswoman Sinema isn’t alone in this more middle ground-way of voting.

Just last week, longtime Republican Senator John McCain was censored by the Arizona Republican party for voting too many times with Democrats. That means that the state Republican party isn’t going to assist him in his bid for re-election, and he is, more or less, on his own. Now, Senator McCain has always been a maverick. He touted this during his bid for President in both 2000 and 2008. Senator McCain is a man I respect because he isn’t a run-of-the-mill Republican. And that works, because Arizona isn’t a run-of-the-mill red state.  

Senator McCain, like Congresswoman Sinema, understands that in order to win, he has to represent the voters. Not just Republican ones. Not just Democrat ones. But rather all voters in his district (which in his case is the whole damn state of Arizona).

With the Democrat base mad at Congresswoman Sinema, and the Republican base mad at Senator McCain, you have to wonder if partisan politicians works in Arizona.

I don’t think they do.

I  say this not only because Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema and Senator McCain are having issues with their base because of their independent votes, but also because neither the Republican party or the Democrat one are really growing. Instead, the fastest growing population of new voter registrations here in Arizona is Independents.

Now, I am a proud Democrat. And I’m also a huge Sinema supporter. And I like and respect Senator McCain. I like them because they are both smart enough to know that they have to do what their districts want them to do.

Sinema voted with Republicans on a few key issues, because she is representing her very diverse new district. Senator McCain has voted with Democrats, because he is representing the very diverse voters of Arizona.

Like many Americans, I am sick of the partisan, do-nothing politics that keeps Congress in a stalemate. But, scolding Sinema and McCain by their respective parties isn’t going to solve anything. Rather, I think it might hinder any progress this — or future — sessions of Congress might hope to achieve. I mean, here we have two people, both with their own ideals and opinions on how things should be done, both elected to serve in the best interest of the people of Arizona, both who put aside their own thoughts and feelings to make sure their votes represent Arizona’s growing independent base, and both being screamed at by their respective party base.

Perhaps the answer is not to scold Democrats or Republicans when they make smart choices and vote the way of the people. Perhaps, instead we should encourage our future political leaders, and even those already in office, to be more like Senator McCain and Congresswoman Sinema.

I think Arizona and the United States is ready for it.

2 comments

  1. I applaud Sinema and McCain's display of courage in serving AZ, and AZ09, despite the demand by some that they be partisan and divisive.

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