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Former top Trump political adviser Steve Bannon dropped a major midterm election prediction on Friday.
The forecast came on the heels of an event attended by both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the moderate Arizona Democrat who has regularly been criticized by her party for not going along lockstep with key pieces of spending legislation and plans to ditch the filibuster.
During the event, which was held at the University of Kentucky in Louisville earlier this week, McConnell praised Sinema for her frequent displays of bipartisanship during an event at the McConnell Center during which he claimed she had been the “most effective first-term senator” he has seen during his Senate career, The Western Journal reported.
Bannon was assuming that the GOP would regain control of the upper chamber, which is currently at 50-50, though Democrats control the body because Vice President Kamala Harris is the tiebreaker, adding if that happened, Sinema would caucus with Republicans.
“Senator Sinema is looking downrange at the ‘24 cycle when the Republicans will only increase the majority they win in the Senate in ‘22 …the ‘24 cycle is that strong — watch her switch parties or go ‘independent’ and caucus with the Majority,” Bannon noted on GETTR in a post containing a link to a story from The Hill which claimed that McConnell is “cozying up” to Sinema.
At the McConnell Center event, the Kentucky GOP leader said of Sinema: “She is, today, what we have too few of in the Democratic Party: a genuine moderate and a dealmaker.”
Sinema also offered praise for McConnell.
“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, our respect for the Senate as an institution,” she said.
The Arizona Dem also drew some ire from other members of her party when she appeared to predict that Republicans would be in charge after the November elections.
“As you all know, control changes between the House and the Senate every couple of years. It’s likely to change again in just a few weeks” Sinema said.
Rep. Reuben Gallego, another Arizona Democrat, took umbrage with her comment.
I mean you could be out there helping our candidates @SenatorSinema – But my sense is that you would actually prefer the Dems lose control of the Senate and House,” he tweeted.
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) September 26, 2022
Continuing her remarks, Sinema called her position on keeping the 60-vote filibuster rule in place “incredibly unpopular.”
Noting that she has regularly spoken against ditching the rule, she went on to say that if she had her way, she would actually require 60 votes for more legislation and actions.
“It would make it harder for us to confirm judges. And it would make it harder for us to confirm executive appointments in each administration,” she said, though it would also create “more of that middle ground in all parts of our governance.”
Complaining about the filibuster “represents solely the short-term angst of not getting what you want. And those of you who are parents in the room know that the best thing you can do for your child is not [to] give them everything they want,” she added.
In comments to The Hill, Senate Republican Whip John Thune said McConnell appreciates Sinema’s stance on the filibuster because he’s an “institutionalist.”
“He, being an institutionalist, respects the fact that she stood tall for the institution,” the South Dakota Republican said, adding that there are ongoing efforts to get her to jump ship and join the GOP, all of which have been unsuccessful.
“We’ve all made various attempts and runs at getting her to join our caucus. I think she’s comfortable where she is,” he said.
Another Democratic moderate, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, has also upset his caucus by refusing to cave on ditching the filibuster rule.