Democrats fighting to raise the minimum wage in America as part of a sweeping COVID-19 relief bill had a tough day on Friday, as several members of their party voted against measures on the Senate floor to include a $15 wage in the massive relief bill.
But it was one vote from an Arizona senator that drew particular ire online as the day progressed. Arizona senator Kyrsten Sinema is a Democrat who was rumored to be against the wage hike, and that turned out to be true on Friday as she was one of several Democrats who voted against the measure. Though Democrats have 50 seats in the Senate — and the tie-breaking vote of vice president Kamala Harris — they needed 60 votes to pass the measure. So it was particularly disheartening that even Democrats didn’t feel moved to help millions of Americans living in poverty due to wages that have not matched the cost of living and increasing wealth disparity.
All of that aside, it was the way Sinema voted no on the measure, which was done by roll call on Friday afternoon, that had many people utterly flabbergasted on social media. In a GIF that quickly went viral, Sinema basically struck a pose as she emphatically pointed her thumb down to vote no on a $15 minimum wage.
Senator Sinema a little too happy for poverty wages to remain pic.twitter.com/ze2T2CGtML
— RootsAction (@Roots_Action) March 5, 2021
In case you need a video to make sure things weren’t altered, here it is from a more zoomed-out feed.
Did Sinema really have vote against a $15 minimum wage for 24 million people like this? pic.twitter.com/Jv0UXLKLHI
— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) March 5, 2021
The reaction to the clip was immediate. People were furious about her demeanor, especially when the no-vote is a direct call to keep people from making a living wage.
Girl, you’re a US Senator not an 11th grader declining an extra shot of turmeric in her razzmatazz smoothie at Jamba Juice. https://t.co/kSZl2cFiKv
— sam greisman (@SAMGREIS) March 5, 2021
— Andrea Chalupa 🇺🇲 (@AndreaChalupa) March 5, 2021
Love to showboat a little as I vote against improving poor people’s lives. https://t.co/vwZ3XcjyfG
— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) March 5, 2021
At some point you get used to the sadism, which is bipartisan and old. The obvious and outwardly incongruous delighting in it, that weird giddy smugness in the "no," is a little harder to process. https://t.co/pWkwBdySq1
— David Roth (@david_j_roth) March 5, 2021
— Bill Corbett (@BillCorbett) March 5, 2021
Sinema also quite literally brought cake to the Senate floor, bringing some serious Marie-Antoinette vibes to a day when she later quite gleefully voted to keep millions of Americans in poverty.
Arizona senator brought the cake for the Senate floor staff, per spox. https://t.co/aTwAk9rdm0
— Brahm Resnik (@brahmresnik) March 5, 2021
Between this, carrying a chocolate cake into the Senate today, and posting on Facebook about going to Bora Bora, my senator is having herself a day https://t.co/xeJ3Yxvdzv
— Patrick Wyman (@Patrick_Wyman) March 5, 2021
The senator actually retweeted that clarification on Friday, though who the cake was intended for doesn’t really seem to matter much to the larger metaphor. In any event, here’s a reminder of how much money each of the Democratic senators who voted against a more reasonable minimum wage are worth.
Net worth of the 8 Democrats who just voted down $15 minimum wage:
Chris Coons: $10.13 million
Angus King: $9.49 million
Joe Manchin: $7.62 million
Tom Carper: $5.73 million
Jeanne Shaheen: $3.82 million
Jon Tester: $3.67 million
Maggie Hassan: $3.47 million
Krysten Sinema: N/A
— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) March 5, 2021