Monday Musings: All eyes on how Sinema handles impeachment

U.S. Sen Kyrsten Sinema speaks at the 2019 Update from Capitol Hill hosted by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry./ Photo by Gage Skidmore
/ Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Commentary by Chris Herstam | Arizona Mirror

(Editor’s note: Opinion pieces are published for discussion purposes only.)

Welcome to 2020 – potentially the craziest political year of our lifetimes. I’m excited to join AZ Mirror as a weekly political columnist, and I hope to draw on my experience of more than four decades in and around state government to help pull back the veil on what is happening behind the scenes and why it’s important. There’s never a shortage of material in Arizona, so let’s get started!

Sinema impeachment watch continues

With the historic Trump impeachment trial looming in the U.S. Senate, eyes are focused on Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the first Democrat to hold one of Arizona’s two Senate seats since Dennis DeConcini retired in the mid-1990s. 

We know that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Republican senators, including Arizona Sen. Martha McSally, will vote to acquit Trump. We know Trump will remain in office and stand for re-election in November. No suspense there.

But what about Sinema? She relishes her “independent” brand. She previously voted to confirm Trump’s Attorney General Bill Barr, who has made clear his allegiance is to Trump and not the Constitution, and Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, a former lobbyist for extractive industries who seems intent on allowing corporate interests to profit off of our public land, as well as many very conservative federal court nominees.

However, Sinema’s impeachment trial votes are a far different matter. Will she join the GOP and vote to acquit the president, thus further distancing herself from the Democratic Party?

Just 10 days ago, The Hill discussed the possibility of Sinema joining two fellow centrist Democrats from red states, Doug Jones of Alabama and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, in voting to acquit Trump. The article noted that, according to FiveThirtyEight, Sinema has voted with Trump 52.9 percent of the time, second among sitting Democratic senators.

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