The reform, presented as the heir to the great fights for civil rights of the 1960s, is a promise from Joe Biden who wishes to protect access to the ballot boxes for minorities.
The moderate Arizona senator is not against the legislation itself. But she said she would oppose the parliamentary procedure devised by the Democratic staff and the White House to break the barrier of the Republican opposition. Without his voice, in a Senate where the Democratic camp has 51 votes, and Republicans 50, the project is doomed.
Kyrsten Sinema does not want a passage in force which would only fuel the “infernal spiral of the division”, she estimated in a very solemn address to the rostrum of the Senate.
Enough to creak the left wing of his party, which accuses this centrist of obstructing some of their greatest ambitions in a Congress with very fragile Democratic majorities.
First elected openly bisexual of Congress and the only one not to claim any religion, it is in fact by her discretion that the senator from Arizona surprises.
Not a word, or rarely, to the press when other parliamentarians stop every day in front of journalists in the corridors of the Capitol.
Reaching out to the other party, it is on crutches, because of a broken foot during a marathon, that this follower of the demanding discipline of triathlon “Ironman” had done for the gigantic project infrastructure wanted by Joe Biden and adopted in November.
She thus crisscrossed the hemicycle between Republicans and Democrats when this text, born of intense months of negotiations, encountered obstacles.
Kyrsten Sinema then claimed to have chosen to “follow the example of the late Senator John McCain”, a Republican who, like her, represented Arizona and refused “to demonize the opposition”.
If another conservative Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin, is also widely criticized by progressives, Kyrsten Sinema attracts particular gall, a frustration all the greater as the senator began her career much more on the left.
Born in 1976 in Arizona, she had a “difficult childhood” and her family even found itself homeless for a time. “But they got through it thanks to the family, the parishioners, and by working hard”, says its official website, affirming that its course reflects the “American dream”.
Against the backdrop of protests against the war in Iraq, the young woman began her political career on the left, close to the Greens, before joining the Democratic Party in the mid-2000s.
She entered the Arizona parliament in 2005.
In 2012, she was elected to the House of Representatives and became the first openly bisexual parliamentarian in Congress.
In a very religious country, she also becomes the only parliamentarian not to claim any religion. This former Mormon, in her childhood, does not want to be classified as “atheist”.
In 2019, Kyrsten Sinema returns to the Senate. During these elections marked by historical diversity, she remains discreet about her personal life without hiding it.
Stingy in words, the senator on the other hand delivers many striking images.
Like when she goes to the Senate in 2020 wearing a purple wig. One way to show the importance of avoiding hairdressing salons in the midst of a pandemic, confides those around him.
Or that she presides over the meeting in the venerable hemicycle wearing a pink sweater crossed out with the words “dangerous creature”.
Another image that this time enraged the left wing: his thumb down to signal his opposition to the inclusion of the minimum wage hike in an economic recovery plan.
The senator is not the only Democrat to block the measure, but she is doing it more openly.
A month later, as critics on the left continue to rain, she posted on Instagram a photo of herself wearing a ring marked with an insult calling on her critics very crudely to go and be seen.
Progressives take it for themselves.
“A punch to those” who gave everything to get her elected, indignantly an official of the Democratic Party of Arizona, Brianna Westbrook.
Kyrsten Sinema does not answer.