Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) blames the media and “both political parties” for voters’ lack of trust in elections.
Sinema, who recently left the Democratic Party and is now an independent, said Sunday that all Americans need to “do the work” to make sure they have accurate information about the world around them.
“Because unfortunately, what’s happening in our public discourse is members of both political parties are twisting stories to create their own narratives,” Sinema said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”
Former President Donald Trump, in fact, has made false claims about the supposedly “rigged” 2020 election the centerpiece of his campaign for the Republican nomination in 2024.
If Sinema decides to run for reelection ― she hasn’t formally announced her plans yet ― she would need Republican votes in order to prevail in a likely three-way race for her Senate seat. So her false assessment of the public discourse around elections may reflect an effort on her part not to alienate her coalition.
Arizona has seen some of the country’s most extreme election denialist politics. Former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, for instance, still maintains that she actually won in November.
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), who is challenging Sinema as a Democrat, called the senator’s answer pathetic.
“We have election officials in Arizona that have been stalked and suffering from PTSD and this is her answer,” Gallego said on Twitter. “When in doubt Sinema always resorts to a noun, a verb and both sides as an answer.”
Asked by CBS News’ Margaret Brennan why election denialism has so taken hold in Arizona, Sinema again blamed both sides.
“One of the unfortunate things that’s happening in Arizona, and we see this in other parts of the country as well, is that the two political parties have gotten more and more extreme,” she said. “They’re going towards the fringes because that’s where the money is, and that’s where the attention is, and that’s where the likes on Twitter are, and that’s where you get the clicks and the accolades.”
Sinema spoke only in generalities, offering no examples of Republican or Democratic extremism. Instead, she described herself as someone who can work with both parties, noting she has been a key member of bipartisan negotiations on gun control, infrastructure, and reforming the Electoral Count Act.
“I hope that that demonstrates to Arizona and to America that our system works better when we put down the partisanship, when we seek to find the common ground,” Sinema said.