ELIZABETH WARREN – Pocahontas and DNA Tests – 2020 Election

Over the holidays Elizabeth Warren announced
that she had formed an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential election run. What
that means is that she has not technically announced that she is running for president,
but she’s almost certainly going to do that. So, barring some unforeseen incident, she
will be a contender in the 2020 primary. And in my estimation, she’s a fairly strong
candidate. She has reasonably strong name recognition across the United States, and
has already begun making strong moves, campaigning in Iowa, and bringing onto her campaign the
digital strategist (Joe Rospars) behind President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns. That said, establishment media has already
begun to articulate arguments against Warren’s potential candidacy. The Boston Globe has put out an article pointing
out that a poll they ran with Suffolk University found her support amongst Massachusettians
is equalled by John Kerry, who is obviously not seen as a strong contender. The article did, however, mention a Suffolk
University poll, that showed Warren to be the front-runner in the critical primary state
of New Hampshire. Conservative CNN host SE Cupp made mention
of the Globe’s critical article and poll… But she, of course, omitted the positive,
and probably more significant, New Hampshire poll, before proclaiming that Warren’s
candidacy is doa. SE Cupp also echoed a number of Harry Enton’s
criticisms of Warren, including, pointing to Warren’s ranking in CNN’s most recent 2020
democratic candidates poll. For context, here’s the full list of candidates
cnn included on those polls. Warren has backslid from 8 to 3 percent support. Back in October,
when she was polling at 8 percent, Chris Cillizza and Harry Enten put Warren in first place
amongst the field. Today, they rank Kamala Harris in first place,
despite the fact that she has backslid exactly as many percentage points as Warren in those
same polls. Now, I may not be a genius CNN contributor,
but my read of these polls tells me Joe Biden is in first place and Bernie Sanders is in
second place. And this being early days, I honestly don’t think we should count out anyone
polling over 1%. One thing the Boston Globe, CNN’s Harry Enten
and SE Cupp have all said about Warren is that she is divisive. Why? Generally, the
mainstream media points to two separate issues. One is that her policy positions
are very liberal. The same claim is often made of Bernie Sanders, and I addressed that
in the last video I released, so I won’t re-litigate it here. But essentially, I argued that being
very liberal in Washington tends to mean agreeing with most Americans on most key issues. But with Warren, it’s not just that she’s
progressive that makes her divisive for mainstream media. It’s also the fact that Trump has attacked
her repeatedly with the nickname Pocahontas, and her decision to release
a DNA test. There seems to be a general sense that Warren
made big mistakes throughout that whole saga. Some have even suggested that Warren somehow
advanced her career by propagating a lie that she is Native American. But what’s actually the truth of all this?
Did Elizabeth Warren ever claim to be a member of a tribe? Did she ever advance her career
with such a claim? And when it comes to Native American lineage, Does she have it? According to Elizabeth Warren, she grew up
with an understanding that her family had some Native American ancestry, in particular,
a great-great-great grandmother who was Cherokee. She did not have official documentation of
the claim, but the idea that she had a single Cherokee ancestor living during the mid 19th
Century is indeed consistent with the DNA test results she would eventually come to
release. Regardless, Warren is not a Cherokee citizen.
Tribal citizenship is not determined by dna or ancestry. It is determined by tribes themselves.
People can have Cherokee heritage without having Cherokee citizenship. While the exacst
number of native american ancestors or what tribal affiliations they may have had cannot
be determined by a dna test, we do know from her dn a test that Warren’s lineage is predominantly
white. Despite this, back when Warren was an academic,
she once listed herself in the American Association of Law Schools directory as a minority. I
believe it’s pretty clear Warren should not have done so. It’s irritating, but there’s
also no way in which I could imagine that that would have gained her any kind of advantage
in her career. In other words, this move was wrong, but insignificant. Harvard Law School had one touted her as a
Native American, when the department faced scrutiny over faculty diversity. According
to Warren, this was done so without her prior knowledge. Similarly, the University of Pennsylvania
‘s 2005 Minority Equity Report had identified her as a minority, when it listed her as the
recipient of a 1994 faculty reward. In both of these cases, a university is touting
a mostly white lady as an example of their diversity. Two forces could have potentially
contributed to this problem: the universities’ interest in representing themselves as inclusive,
and Warren’s own messaging about her ancestry. But, just how much she mentioned her ancestry
claim remains unclear. It’s hard to blame her for the issue if, as she claims, she just
mentioned her ancestor over lunch now and then, and the Universities pounced at the
opportunity to claim a diversity faculty member. So, it’s unclear whether Warren did anything
wrong to cause this problem. And while it certainly is problematic, like with the directory
listing, it’s hard to see how either of this unfortunate incidents would have helped Warren,
as it seems the Universities were the real beneficiaries. We only really run into a consequential
problem with Warren’s proclaimed minority status is if she used that status to gain
some kind of an advantage in her career. In her 2012 run for senate, her opponent accused
her of doing just that. Senator Scott Brown ran ads questioning her background, and criticized
her about the issue during a debate: This is essentially what gave rise to wide
spread criticism about Elizabeth Warren’s lineage. It’s also doubly a lie. Scott Brown’s claim that she clearly isn’t
Native American is at best, an oversimplification. While there existed at the time no solid evidence
that she had Native ancestry, there was also no evidence that she didn’t. Since then, we’ve
learned that she does have some Native American DNA. So, to claim that she is clearly not
Native American is clearly an overstatement. Her lineage was not clear at all at the time,
and the fact is that despite being predominately white, she is actually a little bit Native
American. More importantly, his claim that she checked
a box is totally untrue. Warren claims that she didn’t apply at all for many of her teaching
positions; she was recruited. And, the universities have not contradicted her account. In fact,
Charles Fried, who headed up the committee that recommended Warren for her position at
Harvard in 1995, has indicated that her ancestry was not a factor in hiring her. “I can state categorically that the subject
of her Native American ancestry never once was mentioned.” Warren, of course, did apply for admissions
at Rutgers, where she earned her doctor of jurisprudence degree. Part of her application
was obtained by the press. It asks if the applicant wants to apply for admission under
the school’s program for minority group students. She answered no. Also, regarding her work at the University
of Texas, Warren indicated that she was white on her employment documents. So, the evidence seems to indicate that Warren
never used her Native American heritage to gain any kind of advantage in her career. But despite the baselessness of Scott Browns
attacks, it provided a strong foundation to be built upon by the the undisputed childish
nickname champion of American Politics: Donald Trump. Trump and Pocahontas Somehow, he managed to chastise a white lady
for claiming a heritage that allegedly didn’t belong to her, thus virtue signalling about
cultural appropriation, all while using a single individual—known most widely as a
Disney Princess—to represent an entire race of people. This was a masterstroke of doublethink:
mocking racial insensitivity with racial insensitivity to the very same group. In a word, Trump did
the impossible, and that word was “Pocahontas”. When Elizabeth Warren finally released a DNA test to show
that her ancestral connection was more than family legend, many, including the Cherokee
nation criticized the move. The Cherokee Nation’s Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. Said, “Sovereign tribal nations set their own
legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage,
such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation…Using
a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation,
even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong.” This criticism likely caused political damage
to Warren, despite the fact that she does not seem to have ever blurred that line. Beyond
that, she has clearly stated the distinction between tribal citizenship and things like
dna and family history. So, what prompted her to do it in the first
place? Well, it came as a direct response to a challenge issued by Donald Trump. It
was widely reported throughout the mainstream media that Trump offered a million dollars
to Warren if she could prove that she has Native DNA, all while Trump argued that he
didn’t make such an offer. The media would generally claim that he was lying with clips
like this… In point of fact, while he did bring up the
idea of the dna test, which prompted her to do so, but he didn’t actually make the million
dollar offer. He was telling his fans that he planned on making that offer as a campaign
strategy. It was a theoretical offer, not a real one. He kind of yammered throughout
this, but here’s the essence of it… So, the claim by some on the left, including,
say, TYT, that Trump owes her a million dollars because of the DNA test, is false. On the
other hand, the claim by, for example, some Cherokee Nation leaders that Warren did the
DNA test to blur the distinction between tribal affiliation and lineage is also false. She
was directly responding to a challenge Trump claimed he planned on issuing. Trump acted like a bully, and Warren fell
into a political trap, but while both have been called liars over these events, they’re
the only two who don’t seem to have lied here. Trump’s insinuation with the Pocahontas nickname
may have been based on an implied false premise, and Warren’s claims to ancestry may be fairly
weak, but as far as I can tell, neither party every knowingly made an explicitly false claim.
It’s pretty much everyone else surrounding the beef who actually misrepresented facts. I think it’s also worth noting how this story
played out compared to another Trump beef—that being the Obama birth certificate issue. In
both cases Trump attacked a democrat in a way that had racial undertones. He called
for the democrat to release a specific piece of evidence to verify a claim about their
identity. The democrat then released that same piece of evidence that Trump called for,
and the evidence supported what the democrat had claimed all along to be true about themselves.
But the reactions to these very similar stories seem to have been very different. Warren faced
backlash. For Obama, the release of his birth certificate was celebrated as a victory. There are probably multiple factors that contribute
to the contrast. But, at least partially responsible is the initial claim to begin with. In the
case of the birth certificate, it was black and white. Trump questioned whether Obama
was born in America. He showed the birth certificate, which proved he was. In Warren’s case, her
claim was that she has some Native American ancestry. The DNA tests support what she said
all along, but it’s hard to gloat “I told you I was up to 1 64th American!” Especially
not when the straw man argument that Trump set up, by calling her Pocahontas, makes it
seem as though she was claiming to be fully Native American, which of course, she never
claimed. Add to that the fact that DNA results have a lot of ambiguities, and provide no
substantive information regarding an individual’s connection to a culture, or their status with
regards to a sovereign people…. What you’re left with is a less-than-triumphant response
to an absurd side-show that may have been better left without the validation of a response. At any rate, I remain hopeful that this issue
won’t affect Warren’s viability as a candidate. There’s reasonable evidence to suggest that
any concerns native american communities feel regarding her dna test will be out weighed
by her more substantial pro-native policy positions. Warren has frequently advocated
on behalf of native communities, speaking out on issues like missing and murdered Native
women, disenfranchisement, and housing issues. But she’s done more than advocate. She introduced
a bill to address the housing shorting in Indian Country, co sponsored the Native American
Voting Rights Act, and introduced a bipartisan bill to combat high youth suicide rates in
some native communities. The idea that native people would reject these
substantial moves over a bit of perceived insensitivity is particularly hard to believe
in the face of polls, like the Washington Post poll that found that 90% of American
Indians aren’t offended by the team name of the Washington Redskins. If Natives don’t care about the name of a
football team, I don’t see why they would be offended by a dna test. It seems likely
that they would be far concerned with the numerous issues of consequence facing their
communities. Still, According to US Census Bureau figures from 2017, Native Indian and
Alaska Native communities make up just over .8% of the overall population, meaning Warren’s
viability as a candidate won’t really be determined by Native American support. The people who could actually derail her campaign
over this issue is a much larger group, progressive voters who intend on participating in the
primary process. I do have some sense that non-native progressives are likely to be more
offended on behalf of natives in regards to trivial issues than natives themselves. It’s
possible. But, I would be both surprised and disappointed to see superficial nonsense trump
substance for these folks. In my estimation, progressive voters have
a bigger concern with Elizabeth Warren: her failure to support Bernie Sanders in his 2016
run for president. Most of the media seems to ignore this problem, but to his credit,
Cenk Uygur asked her the question on TYT Interviews. In her answer she began by side-stepping the
issue… That’s not a good start. In fact, saying that
it made her proud to be a democrat could be seen as a subtle dig at Sanders, who outside
of the presidential run, is an independent. When pressed on her answer with this follow
up question…. Here’s what she had
to say… Here, again, it feels like the Senator is
side-stepping the issue, and subtly pushes another Clintonite talking point, that the
Democrats need to be united. I personally think Warren would be a stronger candidate
if she pointed out why progressives like herself are what the Democrats need to beat Trump.
But, so far, in 2019, she seems to be continuing to push the stronger together narrative. Since Elizabeth Warren is widely regarded
to be the second most progressive senator in the united states, her clearest path to
victory in the democratic primary involves winning over progressive voters. The very
people who supported Sanders in 2016, and as polling continues to indicate, continue
to support him today. In order to do that, she needs to be clear
that she is the strongest progressive in the race. And make no mistake about it, the progressive
message is a strong one to campaign on. Obama, moderate as he was in the white house, campaigned
on Hope and Change. Even Clinton shrewdly claimed to be a progressive in 2016. In 2020, there will likely be non-progressive
attempting to claim the progressive mantle. And here, Warren has a distinct advantage.
Like Sanders, but unlike Clinton, she is a progressive who likes to get progressive things
done. Things like the consumer financial protection
bureau, which, as of November of 2017, returned nearly 12 billion dollars to consumers who
had been cheated by wall street. She also has a solidly progressive voting record, and
articulates the progressive message effectively. Whether she will be able to overpower the
strangely united voices of Donald Trump and the mainstream media remains unclear. I don’t
think her campaign is DOA, but when it comes to all the various pieces that must come together
to form what we might call ‘what it takes’, what do you think, Does she have it?


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