Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Surprise! Kyrsten Sinema has moved to the left as an independent

I reacted to Kyrsten Sinema becoming an independent by writing "From now on, Voteview will plot Double-Doctor Sinema's ideological position with a black dot, just as it does for Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont." What I expected was that Sinema would move to the right and possibly down (more anti-establishment) on Voteview's two ideological dimensions once she untethered herself from the Democratic Party. That would be consistent with her previous behavior and On The Issue's characterization of her as "a Libertarian-Leaning Progressive", which she shares with her former colleague Tulsi Gabbard. Instead, she's moved left and up, as the images both above and below show.

Since becoming an independent, Kyrsten Sinema has moved from being the second most conservative Democrat to being left of the median Democrat in the Senate. She's also become more "establishment" than every other Senate Democrat. Surprise!

None of this has made a dent in perceptions of her, which seem rooted in her voting and other behavior while a Democrat, which placed her as the second most conservative Democrat in the U.S. Senate next to Joe Manchin, as shown below.

Both her critics on the left and within the Democratic Party and her supporters in groups like No Labels still think of her as a centrist who supports business interests, as More Perfect Union portrays in The Third Party Bid That Could Sabotage Trump and Biden.

A group calling themselves "No Labels" has suddenly emerged as a huge financial backer of Kyrsten Sinema.

They're also floating the idea of running Joe Manchin for President.

We dug into them, and found a whole lot of billionaires with a history of opposing democracy.
Moving left appears inconsistent with both her critics' and supporters' opinions of her. However, becoming more "establishment" (up along Voteview's second dimension) is another way to become more conservative and No Labels may be more interested in her being more supportive of "establishment" positions than in her staying in the center along the left-right axis. Also, Sinema may be trying to position herself to the left as a defensive move against the Democratic challenger. It remains to be seen how that works out.

On a related note, I should examine No Labels' effort to gain ballot access in next year's elections. Stay tuned.

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