A group of organizers for the Arizona Democratic Party are publicly challenging Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (D-AZ) continued support of the filibuster, amid growing calls from progressive members of her caucus to reform or abolish it.
“Now that our first opportunity to deliver real change for Arizonans has finally arrived, Senator Sinema has signaled that she may sacrifice much needed progress in order to keep the filibuster in place,” wrote 2018 field organizers Graham Rigby and Misha Linnehan, in an op-ed published Wednesday by the Arizona Republic.
“Senator Sinema must support filibuster reform,” they declared in the op-ed, which was signed by more than 30 members of the state’s Democratic Party organizing staff at the time.
Sinema is one of two Democrats who have publicly supported the filibuster — without her support, Senate Democrats will not be able to engage in reforming it.
During an interview with the conservative podcast, “Ruthless,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnnell (R-KY) named Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) as the “brave” Democrats who have opposed changes to the filibuster.
McConnell warned during the interview, which was released Tuesday, that if Democrats succeed in reforming the filibuster they will only trigger “a sort of nuclear winter” as he promises to use every tool in his power to stall Senate business.
The Arizona Democratic Party staffers pointedly criticized attempts during the Obama administration by McConnell, then the majority leader, to “bury nearly every major initiative” of the nation’s first Black president.
“Now, despite Americans voting for Democrats to control the presidency, the House and the Senate, McConnell is preparing to attempt the same gambit to stop Joe Biden’s legislative agenda,” they wrote.
“The next two years could be filled with truly historic progress,” the group said, mentioning potential for strides in voting rights and for the LGBT community as well as for immigration, among other areas that had been priorities for many of Sinema’s voters.
Those voters helped Sinema secure a narrow win in 2018 that made her the first Democrat elected by the state to the Senate in three decades, the party organizers said.
“All of this progress would bring us closer to the world that Arizonans envisioned when they elected Kyrsten Sinema to the Senate in 2018,” they added.”We strongly urge her not to squander this moment to protect a rule as antiquated and arcane as the filibuster.”