Kyrsten Sinema’s bathroom protest was a long time coming

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., is unhappy that a group of progressive activists followed her into a bathroom over the weekend. In a statement Monday, she said what the activists did was “wholly inappropriate.”

“Yesterday’s behavior was not legitimate protest,” Sinema wrote. Leaving aside that Sinema doesn’t get to set the terms of how her constituents hold her accountable, you know who would have likely applauded those activists’ tactics? A young Kyrsten Sinema, the one who didn’t mind calling out Democrats who are more interested in obtaining power than in using it to advance their values.

During the last few weeks, a tidal wave of ink has been spilled as we all try to figure out, in brief, what Sinema’s deal is. Why is the first-term senator acting as a roadblock to passing President Joe Biden’s agenda? What’s driving her? Political donors’ priorities? A misreading of the Arizona electorate? Is she lining up a lobbying gig after her term ends? Does she have a raging case of McCain Maverick Syndrome?

But the here’s the biggest question of them all: What sparked Sinema’s transformation from a Green Party activist into a centrist who may derail one of the largest, most progressive bills we’re likely to see during Biden’s presidency?

As you might expect, the attempts to find the answer have ranged in quality and prescriptive usefulness. The best of them so far comes from Mother Jones reporter Tim Murphy, whose recent profile of Sinema charts her rise through the ranks of Arizona politics and explains how few of her former allies recognize her now.

In her youth, Sinema was part of the antiwar movement ahead of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. And at the time, she had no tolerance for Democrats who would support the coming war:

When hawkish and conservative-leaning Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman passed through Tucson during his presidential campaign in 2003, Sinema led a caravan of activists to protest outside his event. “He’s a shame to Democrats,” she told a reporter. “I don’t even know why he’s running. He seems to want to get Republicans voting for him—what kind of strategy is that?”

It’s a valid question, one that has grown only more important 18 years later. It’s also apparently the kind of strategy that would wind up appealing to Sinema just a few years later as she shed her activism for what she’d come to describe as “letting go of the bear and picking up the Buddha.” Translation: Don’t pick fights with people you disagree with; instead, be more chill and open-minded toward your opponents in the interest of enlightened peace.

As a result, it’s hard to imagine Sinema’s 2003 condemnation of Lieberman coming from her mouth today. In the years since then, she has moderated her stances and leaned into a fervid attempt to rebuild the interparty comity that Biden so fondly recalls. When she was in the state Legislature, that meant trying to sway Arizonans against a same-sex marriage ban by highlighting its impact on

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Interior Ministry says 22 protest activities took place in Belarus on Sunday – World

MINSK, September 28. /TASS/. Twenty-two protest activities took place in Belarus on Sunday, the country’s Interior Ministry said in a statement on Telegram.

“Twenty-two protest activities were recorded in Belarus on September 27,” the statement reads. “Over 350 people were taken into custody until administrative hearings are held,” the ministry added.

The ministry also said that police in the country’s capital of Minsk had received hundreds of complaints against participants in unauthorized protests.

“Unfortunately, many protests ignored calls to abide by laws and blocked traffic, endangering not only themselves but other people as well,” the Interior Ministry noted.

Belarus held its presidential election on August 9. According to the Central Election Commission’s data, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko received 80.1% of the vote. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who garnered 10.12%, refused to recognize the election’s results and left Belarus. Protests erupted in the country’s capital of Minsk and several other cities following the presidential vote, leading to clashes between protesters and law enforcement officers. The opposition’s Coordination Council keeps calling on the country’s people to carry on with protests, while the authorities are emphasizing the need to put an end to unauthorized activities.

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Minnesota DFLers postpone fundraiser after backlash over Hugo protest

Minnesota House Democrats indefinitely postponed a fundraiser featuring a dozen DFL candidates after an influential law enforcement group voiced concerns about including a St. Paul Democrat whose actions and statements at a protest in Hugo sparked backlash.

The head of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, in a letter to House Speaker Melissa Hortman, expressed “deep frustration” that John Thompson, an activist running for a St. Paul House seat, was invited to participate in the fundraiser.

Thompson, the endorsed DFL candidate for a St. Paul House seat, has faced intense criticism for a profanity-laced appearance at a Black Lives Matter protest outside the home of Minneapolis Police Federation President Bob Kroll. Video of the event captured Thompson and others beating piñata effigies of Kroll and his wife, a Twin Cities journalist.

“This is violent and outrageous behavior — and not just rhetoric — specifically against a police officer and his family,” MPPOA Executive Director Brian Peters wrote. “Anyone — including candidates for office — that supports Thompson’s candidacy to the [Minnesota House of Representatives] cannot be considered a supporter of law enforcement.”

Hortman’s initial response to MPPOA Monday evening suggested she planned to continue with the fundraiser. In a letter, the Brooklyn Park Democrat noted that Thompson apologized and has faced death threats in the wake of the incident.

“I have accepted his apology and will be working alongside him in future legislative sessions to improve the state,” she wrote.

But later Monday, the DFL Caucus reversed course and canceled the event via an e-mail to supporters.

In a statement about the decision released Tuesday, Hortman urged all Minnesotans to “come together to heal our state.”

“We understand that proceeding with the fundraiser would have conveyed to some that we condoned the conduct in Hugo. We do not,” she said. “This is a time to move forward from conflict and division.”

 

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