“If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.”
— H. L. Mencken
A few weeks ago, Phoenix Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema invited The Arizona Republic to tag along with her and her aides in Tempe as they spread gravel to spruce up the home of a Vietnam veteran. The paper rewarded Ms. Sinema’s Thanksgiving invitation by printing a puff piece on her electability and new-found political centrism, replete with pictures of her in work gloves and tennis shoes, thus proving her every-woman bona fides.
Back in October, The Pima Liberator published a critique of Ms. Sinema’s political, personal, and philosophical failings after she announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate. In a nutshell, Ms. Sinema is a venal and wholly self-interested professional politician, who would not hesitate one nanosecond to throw a three-legged kitten under a speeding Greyhound bus if it would advance her career by one-half millimeter. The recent Republic article did nothing to disprove this, and indeed strengthened the case against her with this quote:
Trump is “not a thing,” Sinema said when The Arizona Republic asked about her pitch to voters. Sinema added that the controversial president is “not a part of what I think my constituents are worried about or think about.”
This deserves repeating. According to current Congresswoman and U.S. Senatorial hopeful Kyrsten Sinema, neither she nor her constituents – which, if she has her way, will include every Arizonan – worry about the words, actions, or policies of the current President of the United States.
On behalf of the please-God-any-Democrat-but-Sinema campaign, allow me to identify a small sampling of the people whom Ms. Sinema does not consider her constituents:
- Middle class people, retired people, and poor people
- College students
- The disabled
- Mexicans and Mexican-Americans
- Transgender workers and Transgender members of the military
- The LGBTQ community
- 800,000 Dreamers who qualify for DACA
- People concerned about climate change
- People who shy away from the prospect of World War III
Alleged pedophiles and rapists will take heart that they can still count themselves as potential Sinema constituents, since they are most certainly not worried about drawing the President’s ire.
Politics, n. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
– Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary
The Republic piece also calls into question Ms. Sinema’s epistemology. By claiming that President Trump is “not a part of what I think my constituents are worried about or think about,” Ms. Sinema implies that she regularly speaks to her constituents and has a working knowledge of their concerns. One wonders how this could be, considering Ms. Sinema’s campaign strategy thus far has been to rigorously avoid community meetings, Democratic legislative district meetings, and any other unscripted and open public appearances in which she might actually face some of the 7 million Arizonans who may become her constituents next November. Neither Ms. Sinema’s Facebook page nor her website tell Arizonans where she is campaigning, what groups she is speaking to, or where and when she will listen to constituents tell her what they are actually worried about. Indeed, the only links on Ms. Sinema’s one page website are donate buttons.*
Juxtapose this “invisible woman” style of campaigning with that of Ms. Sinema’s Democratic primary opponent, Deedra Abboud. Ms. Abboud’s website and Facebook page prominently feature comprehensive lists of her next public appearances, including times, directions, and links to RSVP if one wants to attend. She rarely goes 48 hours without campaigning in public.
Despite Ms. Sinema’s execrable politics, blasé attitude toward Trumpism, and refusal to even pretend to run a public campaign that might expose her to a modicum of criticism and discomfort, many Arizona Democratic leaders have endorsed her candidacy for U.S. Senate. This invites some questions for those leaders; if middle class folks, women, refugees, and Dreamers are not Ms. Sinema’s constituents, are they yours? Because the fact of the matter is these people are very worried about President Trump, and our country’s devolution into a racist, authoritarian state. Are you worrying with them, or are you lining up behind Ms. Sinema and dismissing not only their fears, but their very political existence as constituents worthy of attention?
Endorsing Ms. Sinema means endorsing her casual disregard of the existential crisis we face. It means endorsing the impoverishment, marginalization, and mistreatment of our most vulnerable citizens. It’s a promise to mimic Ms. Sinema’s silence when the jackboots approach.
I’d rather endorse the woman in the green gloves.
– Joel Feinman
*Editors note: this statement was accurate when this piece was first published in December 2017. Beginning in March 2018, the website featured additional pages, including a “priorities” page.