Until yesterday afternoon, I knew virtually nothing about Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona’s senior Senator. I don’t follow the minutiae of Washington politics, so I was only aware that Sinema hailed from Arizona and that she was Senator Joe Manchin’s partner in crime derailing Joe Biden and Democratic party initiatives. It struck me as odd that Sinema held so much sway in Congress, but I wasn’t motivated to read up on her background and views.
Odd is a word that charitably best describes Krysten Sinema. Once dismissed as a “pagan hippie” by a political opponent because of her previously strident Green Party environmental and anti-war positions, Sinema in 2002 sent a letter to the Arizona Republic warning about the evils of capitalism.
“Until the average American realizes that capitalism damages her livelihood while augmenting the livelihoods of the wealthy, the Almighty Dollar will continue to rule,” she wrote.
This was the same Krysten Sinema who at this writing appears to have singlehandedly derailed the so-called carried interest tax loophole allowing private equity and money managers to pay considerably lower taxes on their investment returns. The loophole, enabling Wall Street titans to pocket an additional $14 billion in profits, is so obscene that even Donald Trump called for its removal. Senator Charles Schumer is on record as saying eliminating the loophole was part of the original draft of the Inflation Reduction Act, but Sinema insisted she wouldn’t sign the bill if the loophole was closed.
Follow the money
In politics one follows the money and in Sinema’s case the stash was easy to find. Over the past five years Sinema has received contributions from more than 50 billionaire supporters, only one of whom lives in Arizona. Sinema also has received $2.2 million from investment firms, with KKR and Goldman Sachs among her top contributors.
Sinema’s contributors include billionaires who have done a great job greenwashing themselves or promoting liberal causes like Bill Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, Laurene Powell-Jobs, and Steven Spielberg. The usual suspects also are contributors, including George Soros and Blackstone president Jonathan Gray.
Knowing the critical source of Sinema’s campaign contributions, I immediately imagined the narrative of her life story: Wealthy parents, private schools, an Ivy League education, and influential family connections rivaling those of California Governor Gavin Newsom.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
A self-made woman
Sinema is an entirely self-made woman from a broken home who grew up poor. That said, there’s evidence that Sinema has exaggerated the extent of the poverty she endured growing up. The Washington Post questioned Sinema’s claim that an abandoned gas station where the family lived had no running water, and the New York Times challenged her assertion that it had no electricity. Despite her possible embellishments, the Times conceded that, “What is not in doubt is that Ms. Sinema and her family were living in deeply trying circumstances, relying on assistance from the local Mormon Church to which they belonged.”
Indications are Sinema is wicked smart; she graduated from high school at 16 and was named co-valedictorian. According to this profile in the Arizona Republic, Sinema’s extracurricular pursuits gravitated “toward the athletic and the nerdy: track, softball and the color guard plus a community service group, math team and the French Club.”
Sinema attended Brigham Young University on what the New York Times described as a prestigious scholarship and completed a four-year program in two years. Sinema went on to earn a master’s degree in social work, a law degree, a doctorate degree in justice studies, and an MBA – all from Arizona State University, where as a state resident she qualified for reduced tuition.
While she was attending law school, Sinema reportedly organized 15 anti-war protests. In a 2003 editorial in the Arizona Republic, Sinema called Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush “the real Saddam and Osama lovers,” criticizing their administrations for arming former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussien with chemical and biological weapons.
According to Sinema’s Wikipedia profile, on November 17, 2013, she completed an Ironman Triathlon in a little over 15 hours. She was the second active member of Congress, after Senator Jeff Merkley, to finish a long-distance triathlon, and the first to complete an Ironman-branded race. On December 25, 2013, Sinema climbed to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Sinema was one of only 32 lawmakers President Obama tapped to help shape the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010.
Sinema, who first declared herself a lesbian and then later a bisexual, was the first person elected to Congress to declare “none” with regards to religion; she took her oath of office on the Constitution.
A magnet for billionaires
What’s baffling is how Sinema went from being a leftist, anti-capitalist to becoming the overwhelming candidate of choice for America’s billionaire class. California’s Newsom for all his money and connections only garnered the support of 23 billionaires for his recent campaign to prevent a recall. Sinema garnered more than double Newsom’s billionaire support.
The legacy media does a poor job tracking political campaign contributions, which ultimately is what drives politics and determines public policy. Attracting donations from the Who’s Who of American billionaires didn’t happen by chance. It seems obvious that the word was out among the 1 percent that Sinema could be counted on to protect their interests.
Helping the rich get even richer is hardly a winning message, particularly when the economy is in the toilet, and you belong to the party with an unpopular leader many blame for the decline. If there’s a reasonable explanation for Sinema’s decision to protect Wall Street, she has yet to publicly share it. Sinema doesn’t appear to be granting interviews.
It’s all very curious, but rest assured we will be hearing a lot more about Sinema in the coming weeks. It’s clear the legacy media knives are out to get her, with articles like this from the Atlantic, headlined, “The Deepening Mystery of Krysten Sinema” sprouting like dandelions.
The Atlantic conveniently neglected to mention that Laurene Powell-Jobs, one of the investors who saved the publication, contributed to Sinema’s campaign.