(Joshua Paladino, Headline USA) Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., may be sweet-talking Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., into joining the GOP after he called her “the most effective first-term senator I’ve seen in my time in the Senate,” Politico reported.
“Despite our apparent differences, Sen. McConnell and I have forged a friendship, one that is rooted in our commonalities, including our pragmatic approach to legislating, [and] our respect for the Senate as an institution,” Sinema said.
McConnell repricopated that feeling, stating that Sinema “protects the institution of the Senate.”
They share the desire to preserve and perhaps expand the Senate filibuster, which prevents major legislation from passing without a 60-vote majority.
Sinema gave a well-informed speech about the differences between the House and the Senate that aligns that with the perspective of the Founding Fathers.
.@SenatorSinema on Senate filibuster: “Not only am I committed to the 60 vote threshold, I have an incredibly unpopular view, I actually think we should restore the 60-vote threshold for the areas in which it has been eliminated already.” pic.twitter.com/dJuH6vRvmM
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 26, 2022
She said the House, with frequent elections and smaller districts, represents the “passions of the moment,” while “the job of the Senate is to cool that passion.”
The Senate eliminated the filibuster for judicial and executive branch nominees, but Sinema would like to restore them.
She said she thinks the Senate would “see more of that middle ground in all parts of our governance, which is what I believe our forefathers intended.”
Despite her institutional agreement with McConnell, Sinema holds radical views about sex and the family and, like Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., she would likely have little appeal to Republicans if she switched parties.
Ironically, given the attacks she has faced from her own party, Sinema’s full-throated defense of the filibuster may be her current party’s saving grace should Republicans reclaim Congress and succeed in electing a conservative in 2024.
Such was the case in the first two years of the Trump administration with a Congress also under Republican control.
In 2017, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., cosponsored legislation to preserve the filibuster alongside Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. The pair penned a letter to grandstand about their symbolic gesture, even though the legislative filibuster was in no danger of being dissolved under GOP control.
“This letter demonstrates that a majority of the Senate, both Republicans and Democrats, can come together to protect an important tradition of the Senate that recognizes the rights of the minority and makes bipartisan legislation more likely,” they wrote.
RealClearPolitics, a leading nonpartisan election prognosticator, indicated that Republicans were likely to gain two Senate seats—Nevada and Georgia—in the upcoming midterm while retaining all their existing seats.
Republicans also face a more favorable political landscape in 2024, in which it likely will need to play defense on fewer tossups while also riding the coattails of a presidential candidate who will make the race a mandate on the Biden presidency.