Does America need more politicians like Kyrsten Sinema?

The sharpest opinions on the debate from around the web

Kyrsten Sinema.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images)

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) sent shockwaves through the Democratic Party last week when she announced that she was changing her registration from Democrat to political independent. Sinema and party leaders said the switch would have no practical impact on Democrats' narrow majority in the chamber, which expanded by one seat to 51-49 in the November midterms. Sinema explained her decision in a column in The Arizona Republic, saying both parties cater too much to their fringes, stoking division and making bipartisan compromise "a rarely acceptable last resort." She wrote that she was joining "the growing numbers of Arizonans who reject party politics by declaring my independence from the broken partisan system in Washington."

Progressives were already angry at Sinema for defecting on key legislation and said she was only trying to avoid getting primaried in 2024. But supporters of the move said Sinema was showing moderates that they don't have to let party leaders steamroll them in an increasingly partisan political world. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), another moderate Democrat who has been a key potential swing vote in the evenly split Senate, said this week that he had "no intention" of following Sinema's lead and leaving the Democratic Party, although he left the door open to doing it someday. Is Sinema just looking out for herself, or is she setting an example more politicians should follow to help find a middle ground?

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Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.