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Kyrsten Sinema Sends Shockwaves Through Washington by Leaving the Democratic Party

    Kyrsten Sinema, Senator from Arizona, sent shockwaves throughout Washington on Friday by announcing that she is now registering as an Independent.

    She revealed why she decided to become an Independent in a video she posted on Twitter.

    “In a natural extension of my service since I was first elected to Congress, I have joined the growing numbers of Arizonans who reject party politics by declaring my independence from the broken partisan system in Washington and formally registering as an Arizona Independent,” she wrote on Twitter Friday.

    “In catering to the fringes, neither party has demonstrated much tolerance for diversity of thought,” she wrote in an Arizona Republic op-ed Friday further elaborating on her decision. “Bipartisan compromise is seen as a rarely acceptable last resort, rather than the best way to achieve lasting progress. Payback against the opposition party has replaced thoughtful legislating.”

    The Arizona senator did not say whether she will caucus with the Democrats, like fellow independents Angus King of Maine or Bernie Sanders of Vermont. However, Sinema has generally voted with the Democrats. She is up for reelection in 2024.

    In her opinion-editorial, she talked about party politics forcing senators to make a “false choice” about what is right for the country.

    “Most Arizonans believe this is a false choice, and when I ran for the U.S. House and the Senate, I promised Arizonans something different,” she wrote. “I pledged to be independent and work with anyone to achieve lasting results. I committed I would not demonize people I disagreed with, engage in name-calling, or get distracted by political drama.”

    Sinema first announced the decision in an interview with CNN late Thursday.

    “I’ve registered as an Arizona independent. I know some people might be a little bit surprised by this, but actually, I think it makes a lot of sense,” Sinema said.

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    OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.