SNL Showcases Frustrations with Democrat Holdout Krysten Sinema

Saturday Night Live is back, and they have more than enough material from the past several months to craft new jokes. The first episode of Season 47 kicked off on Oct. 2 with an opening skit that was a not-so-subtle jab at Senators Krysten Sinema and Joe Manchin, two Democrats that often hold-out from the rest of the party. 

In the skit, President Biden, played by James Austin Johnson, discusses the need to bring the Democrats in Congress together in order to pass the major bills on his agenda, like the social policy and climate spending bill. With key members from both factions standing next to him, Biden references the divide between the moderate Democrats and progressives that has so far prevented progress. He first gestures to Arizona Senator Krysten Sinema, played by Cecily Strong, who says, “What do I want from this bill? I’ll never tell… cause I didn’t come to Congress to make friends, and so far, mission accomplished!” 

Senator Sinema has been at the center of political infighting within the Democratic party, particularly since Biden took office, and is consistently one of the major voices acting as a roadblock to the passage of historic legislation regarding the minimum wage, prescription drug prices, taxes, voting rights, the filibuster, as well as climate and social spending plans.  Sinema’s objections to these initiatives are often accompanied by Senator Manchin’s, but many give Manchin a pass on certain issues, given that his constituency includes the heavily Republican populations of West Virginia. 

Senator Sinema, however, seems to have a growing Democratic base in Arizona that supports Biden’s agenda, and voters are getting increasingly frustrated with her “obstructionist” tendencies, as former vice chair of the Arizona Democratic Party Garrick McFadden described. 

In recent weeks, she has been confronted regularly by activists. For example, protestors came into a classroom where she was teaching at Arizona State University and later followed her into the bathroom, expressing that their methods were a last resort after being unable to coordinate a meeting with her to discuss the Build Back Better Act. 

The group that organized the protest, Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), released a statement the following day, saying, “With all eyes on Arizona and Senator Sinema right now, many Arizonans are asking, is Sinema doing her job? The millions of Arizonians that include Black, brown, and indigenous communities who elected her do not think she is. Sinema has shown zero interest to engage with her constituents, or meet her colleagues halfway on critical legislation.”  

In my opinion, Sinema’s resistance to almost every Democratic priority issue from voting rights to climate change to immigration reform has proven that it’s time to replace her. And I’m not the only one who has come to that conclusion. 

Sinema is not up for re-election until 2024, but there are already several progressive groups preparing to primary her. The Primary Sinema PAC announced their efforts a couple weeks ago to raise money that will fund grassroots groups in Arizona who can provide a strong base to boost a potential challenger. Additionally, another group recently launched a campaign called, “Either Sinema Votes to End the Filibuster OR We Fund a Primary Challenger,” with a similar goal of preparing for a primary if Sinema continues to obstruct Biden’s agenda. 

There is even a group called Run Ruben Run who already is making plans to support Democratic Representative Ruben Gallego in a potential primary against Sinema. While there is still time for Sinema to adjust her positions on some of these issues, she has upset so many Democrats at this point – moderates and progressives alike – that she should expect strong backlash in 2024.