Monday, October 15, 2018


This is big news for 2020:
Senator Elizabeth Warren has released a DNA test that provides “strong evidence" she had a Native American in her family tree dating back 6 to 10 generations....

The analysis of Warren’s DNA was done by Carlos D. Bustamante, a Stanford University professor and expert in the field who won a 2010 MacArthur fellowship, also known as a genius grant, for his work on tracking population migration via DNA analysis....

Bustamante calculated that Warren’s pure Native American ancestor appears in her family tree “in the range of 6-10 generations ago.” That timing fits Warren’s family lore, passed down during her Oklahoma upbringing, that her great-great-great-grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, was at least partially Native American.
This follows a September Boston Globe report that found no evidence of "affirmative action" hiring based on assertions of Native American ancestry in Warren's academic career.

I understand this response:

Yes, it is humiliating -- but Obama went on to win reelection in 2012 after releasing his long-form birth certificate. It was worth doing.

Trump wasn't the first to attack Warren on this question -- Scott Brown did it when Warren ran against him in 2012, and Brown campaign operatives did "Indian war whoops" and "tomahawk chops" at a Brown rally that year.

Right-wing commentators called Warren “Fauxcahontas,” “Lieawatha,” and “Sacaja-whiner” during that race. A Mumbai-born right-wing troll named Shiva Ayyardurai is running against Warren in this year's Senate race using the slogan "Only a real Indian can beat a fake Indian." You might believe that Donald Trump will be forced to leave office before 2020, or will choose not to run for reelection; if that's the case, I guarantee that Mike Pence, or whoever takes Trump's place on the ballot, will used the "fake Indian" line of attack if Warren is the Democratic nominee. Now it will be harder.

I assume Trump will be the candidate. So I hope Warren pivots now. Here's what she can say:
"There were questions about my background and my career, and I addressed them head on. I was questioned about my ancestry, so I took a DNA test and I made the results public. I was questioned about how my ancestry affected my career, and I cooperated with investigations that cleared my name -- I never received any preferential treatment because I had a Native ancestor.

"I went public with the truth about myself -- and now I call on President Trump to do the same. There are a lot of unanswered questions about his background -- about how he made his money, about who helped him along the way, and about who's still helping him.

I released the results of my DNA test. Now I call on President Trump to release his tax returns. I have no secrets. President Trump has far too many."

UPDATE: There it is...


I'm also impressed by the video Warren has just released.

I like Elizabeth Warren a lot. When she works herself up to a righteous anger, I want to pump my fist in response. But I worry about the sexists in America. I know there are dudebros who liked Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders but rejected Hillary Clinton; they claimed it was about issues, but I'm not sure I believe that. (Obama in 2008 and 2012 was not more liberal than Clinton in 2016.) I worry about women like my late mother, who had problems with strong women. I'd like the Democrats to put a woman in the White House, but I fear that what I find inspiring about Warren seems like hectoring to a some potential Democratic voters. (There's no question that a man who talks like Warren would have no problems along these lines.)

I like the video above because it softens Warren without in any way turning her into a cookie-baking housewife. It makes her seem like a down-to-earth Oklahoman who also just happens to be an "elitist" Ivy League professor. If, in the 2020 campaign, she intends to show that side as well as the side of her we're familiar with, she'll be a very strong candidate.

In 1992, Bill Clinton needed to tell voters that he wasn't just a slick-talking technocrat, he was "the Man from Hope." Warren goes in the same direction here. It's very smart.

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