The Waves

Kyrsten Sinema Doesn’t Care What You Think of Her

The Arizona Senator has a lot of flashy outfits. Does she have a coherent message?


Episode Notes

On this week’s episode of The Waves, Slate senior writer and host of Outward Christina Cauterucci and Julia Craven, Slate staff writer covering race, politics, and health disparities, talk about one woman: Kyrsten Sinema. From her wardrobe to her position on the filibuster, Sinema has been in the news a lot recently. The hosts talk about the Arizona senator’s political evolution—she moved from the Green Party to run as a progressive Democrat, but when she got to the U.S. Senate, she tacked toward the center—and whether she is currently exhibiting any signs of political coherence. Christina unpacks the high note of Sinema at the Capitol: her wardrobe, noting that the flashy fashions that once brought visual interest to the normally drab walls of Congress have taken a turn for the worse. As Sinema started to stymie Democratic plans, her “fuck off” ring and “dangerous creature” sweater took on a whole new meaning.

After the break, Julia and Christina dive deep into the filibuster. While standing in the way of the Democrats’ ability to pass almost any legislation at all, Sinema has spouted inaccurate narratives of how the filibuster came into being. Julia and Christina talk about her earlier vote for John Lewis as House leader, and try to square that with her current position, which is holding up voting-rights legislation. But Sinema doesn’t seem to be listening to most of the criticism she’s getting for her position, instead dismissing parts of it as merely sexist.

For Slate Plus members, Julia and Christina continue our new segment, Gateway Feminism, where they talk about one thing that helped make them feminists. For Julia, it’s her great-grandmother and her enduring belief that Julia could become anything she set her mind to. Christina started her career as a feminist when she revamped her co-ed soccer team jersey in protest of the team name: The Molar Men.


Christina recommends celebrating Pride Month by educating yourself about queer politics. She suggests watching a conversation between Amy Walter and Sasha Issenberg hosted by Politics and Prose.

Julia finally finished reading her first book in almost a year! She finished The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett, and highly recommends finishing books. But Julia holds zero judgment on wherever you are at in your reading journey.

Podcast production by Cheyna Roth with editorial oversight by Susan Matthews and June Thomas. Additional production assistance by Rosemary Belson.

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About the Show

Each week a pair of writers and guests talk through one news story we can’t stop thinking about, and unpack what gender has to do with it.

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