Sinema has a secret.
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Arizona’s agnostic bisexual Senator could have been a poster child for the identity politics wing of her party. Instead, she has become something much more interesting… a Democrat version of John McCain.
A “purple” politician with an instinct for representing her state.
That means clocking right on immigration… without looking like a rootin’ tootin’ Yosemite Sam type.
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So she’s joined a new bipartisan Gang of 8 Senators… with a plan to speed up deportation proceedings for families streaming over the border.
Mixing a humanitarian feel with a tough law enforcement edge.
She and her posse sent the suggestion to the Department of Homeland Security, just at the moment the Border Patrol is grumbling that deportations moved faster and better under Obama than under Trump.
It’s all happening in a political moment where Democrat after Democrat is clowning him or herself trying to blast Trump away with the partisan version of Care Bear power… righteous wrath, righteous love, righteous arrogance, take your pick. They all bounce off Trump, leaving Democrats hysterical and hyperventilating.
She’s freed herself from the tyranny of the partisan news cycle… from the suicide mission of taking on Trump… from the dead weight of the identity politics crazies dominating her party.
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And she’s riding high as a result.
Arizonans on the right can’t figure out how to challenge her, much less beat her. The Trumpists can’t field a strong enough candidate, and the old McCainites are leaderless and confused.
But Sinema has her ambitions in check. She knows what she’s doing… and knows well enough not to move too fast.
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That’s her secret… how to survive and thrive as a Democrat in the Trump era. It’s not by shying away from politics. It’s not by going fully radical. And it’s not by acting like the kind of Republican Trump proved is all washed up.
That’s bad news for the GOP in purple-state Arizona.
But it’s unclear other Democrats are in a position to embrace her secret and profit from her example. All while their party is in full meltdown, with old cronies on one side and wild eyed socialist millennials on the other.
Democrats sure could use a lot more Sinemas. Canny operators who look presentable in public and know how to build a record ordinary people can appreciate. Youthful adults who prove that just because you’re culturally edgy doesn’t mean you want to nuke America and start over.
But the Dems have a dirty secret of their own. They need more Sinemas in their life. But they just ain’t got ’em.