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Editorial: Independent streak welcome

In our polarized political climate, saying you’re independent takes courage.

That’s exactly what Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona just announced. Democrats and progressives are losing their minds over it, but constituents won’t. Gov.-Elect Maura Healey should also take note.

In Massachusetts, 60.44% identify with no party. Those unenrolled independents will be watching every move Healey makes.

Bay States Democrats, now below 30% for the first time to 29.46%, might be a bit more forgiving. Republicans, at 8.95% of the state electorate, won’t have much patience.

Independents are clearly a force and they decide elections. Politico reported soon after Sinema made her move that the progressive digital firm Authentic dropped her. But isn’t Sinema being as authentic as it comes? Or genuine, as the dictionary definition offers?

We’re heading into a New Year with Republicans holding a slim margin in the U.S. House and Democrats in the U.S. Senate.

Yet, the extremes will try to dictate and that’s what is troubling.

All signs are pointing to a shaky economy in the New Year and it will take teamwork and actual brainstorming in Congress to keep a full-blown recession at bay.

The economy will be worse in 2023 than it was this year, one respected economist told the Wall Street Journal this past week. It’s a mix of inflation — especially at the grocery store — along with higher interest rates and energy woes that’s driving the worry on Wall Street.

The U.S. and Europe, the Journal adds, are holding up; China not so much.

“You also have a significant fiscal tightening, a slowing economy and the unemployment rate going up,” the Journal’s wonk says.

That’s exactly why Congress can’t fall into swamp-think. Both the House and Senate will need to prioritize the economy and party politics second. But with the 2024 presidential race in the starting blocks, that’s wishful thinking.

Sinema said in her announcement that she’s “declaring my independence from the broken partisan system in Washington.” We’d agree with that.

Sinema, not unlike former Republican Sen. John McCain also of Arizona who died in 2018, is a maverick. She will join other independent senators — Sen. Angus King of Maine and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont — who usually fall into place with Democrats.

But the 51-49 party split in the Senate is no longer a sure thing for the left.

Sinema, we think, is basically saying she won’t always buy what The Squad and President Biden are selling. That will be a win for Americans. We’ll see real debate and it will take more than knowing Vice President Kamala Harris can break ties.

The Republicans suffered a setback in Georgia, but a win in Arizona in the same week. That’s good for our Democracy — now if only a few more senators would have the courage to go independent we might just dodge a recession.

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