On Saturday morning, Arizona Democratic Party leaders officially rebuked Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) for siding with Republicans to vote against changing Senate rules to pass voting rights legislation this week. The party’s executive board said it voted to censure Sinema for her “failure to do whatever it takes to ensure the health of our democracy.”
“I want to be clear, the Arizona Democratic Party is a diverse coalition with plenty of room for policy disagreements,” the Democratic leaders wrote in a statement. “However on the matter of the filibuster and the urgency to protect voting rights, we have been crystal clear.”
Arizona Democratic Party Exec Board censures AZ Sen. Kyrsten Sinema: "While we take no pleasure in this announcement, the ADP Executive Board has decided to formally censure Senator Sinema as a result of her failure to do whatever it takes to ensure the health of our democracy.” pic.twitter.com/3XEzR9S2xs
— Vaughn Hillyard (@VaughnHillyard) January 22, 2022
Sinema and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) were the only two Democrats to vote against changing Senate filibuster rules on Wednesday night. All 50 Republicans voted against the measure. As my colleague Ari Berman writes, the vote effectively killed Democrats’ last, best hope to protect American democracy:
Sinema has said in the past that if Democrats reformed the filibuster, when Republicans retook the Senate they would enact sweeping restrictions on voting, such as a national voter ID law or limits on mail voting. But those restrictions on voting are already happening at the state level, most notably in her home state.
Over the past year, Arizona Republicans stripped power from Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, made it harder for voters to receive and return mail ballots, purged voters from a permanent vote-by-mail list, and spread countless lies through a bogus audit that eventually reaffirmed Biden’s victory. Though Sinema has denounced some of these efforts, by supporting the filibuster she’s making it impossible for Dems to reverse them.
This will allow Republicans to pass new voter suppression laws, election subversion measures, and extreme gerrymandered maps with no consequences, effectively letting the GOP rig the midterms and lay the groundwork to stealing the 2024 election.
Meanwhile, Sinema’s poll numbers have tanked among Arizona voters, and Democratic power brokers like EMILY’s List, a pro-choice organization, and reproductive rights group NARAL recently announced they would no longer support the her. According to publicly available data, EMILY’s list is among Sinema’s top financial supporters.
“Electing Democratic pro-choice women is not possible without free and fair elections,” EMILY’s List president Laphonza Butler wrote in a statement. “Protecting the right to choose is not possible without access to the ballot box.”
Today, we’re changing our endorsement criteria to reflect our commitment to the freedom to vote. Going forward, we won’t endorse any U.S. senator who doesn’t support changing the Senate rules to pass voting rights legislation. Our democracy is on the line. #DeliverForVotingRights
— NARAL (@NARAL) January 18, 2022