Democratic activists are turning up the heat on Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema over her refusal to budge on the filibuster.
Sinema delivered a speech on the Senate floor Thursday reiterating her stance that she does not support getting rid of the filibuster so Senate Democrats can pass federal election reforms. The reforms would take power from states and expand access to voting. Activists are responding by accusing the senator of protecting a Jim Crow relic and erasing the legacies of iconic black leaders.
The day before her speech, Sinema met privately with black leaders, including Rev. Al Sharpton and NAACP President Derrick Johnson, Politico reported. She reportedly listened respectfully but told them she still did not support bypassing the filibuster for electoral reform legislation.
Those in the meeting came away angry, according to Politico. One attendee said Sinema may have just wanted to “tick off the box” of speaking to civil rights leaders before her decision, and Sharpton said she showed “insensitivity, at best, and contempt, at worst, of our efforts and the efforts of the president.”
Democratic South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, called Sinema’s arguments “foolishness” and added “if we do not protect the vote with everything that we’ve got, we will not have a country to protect going forward.” (RELATED: Senate Democrats Reportedly Set To Push Biden’s Spending Bill To 2022 And Instead Try To Pass A Voting Bill)
Sinema’s case for protecting that filibuster has been that it fosters bipartisanship by requiring 60 votes to pass legislation, and that if Democrats carve out certain subjects from the rule or eliminate it entirely, Republicans will simply overturn any accomplishments the Biden administration makes once they regain power in Washington.
Back home, her fellow Democrats in Arizona don’t see it that way. Rep. Reginald Bolding, the top Democrat in the state House, said Sinema was upholding “the antiquated Jim Crow-era filibuster.”
The Arizona Democratic Party said it was disappointed Sinema was choosing to “protect an antiquated rule over her constituents.”
Democratic political consultant Tom Watson said Sinema chose the side of “white supremacy,” and Democratic New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman called her a “traitor” to the legacy of iconic civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis.
To be blunt: @SenatorSinema chose her side – and that side is white supremacy. That’s who she is. That’s what defines her now.
— Tom Watson (@tomwatson) January 13, 2022
Hero: a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
Traitor: a person who betrays a friend, country, principle, etc.
John Lewis is a hero, you are a traitor to his legacy, your constituents and our democracy. https://t.co/bS8PW6QwcB
— Jamaal Bowman (@JamaalBowmanNY) January 14, 2022
Meanwhile, Martin Luther King III blasted Sinema and Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, saying “history will not remember them kindly.”