Elizabeth Warren’s Native American Heritage

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In the early days of the 1972 election, President Richard Nixon, seeking re-election, faced a number of potentially tough challengers, and the strongest one may have been Senator Edmund Muskie. Among all the possible Democratic candidates emerging at the time, Nixon wanted to run against the one he saw as the weakest, George McGovern.

So he arranged that.

The Nixon dirty tricks team (which included at least one person active in recent years on the Trump dirty tricks team) fabricated a letter supposedly written by Muskie that served to discredit him as a candidate. That was one of several different fraudulent moves made against Muskie and other candidates.

The Democrats dutifully tossed Muskie and all the other candidates under the bus and ran George McGovern against Richard Nixon.

1972 election results:

47,168,710 votes, 520 Electoral votes: NIXON
29,173,222 votes, 17 Electoral votes: McGOVERN

The following presidential election was won by outsider Democrat Jimmy Carter. It is generally recognized that Carter’s win was in large part due to the country being tired of cheating Republicans, following the Watergate affair. The hit job on Muskie and other candidates was not forgotten, but had been absorbed into the larger array of illegal and unethical activities by the Republicans.

Owing largely to the Iran Hostage crisis, the country lost faith in Carter, and elected Ronald Reagan in 1980. Another significant factor was a third party candidate, Anderson, who took away mainly Carter votes.

Reagan was re-elected in 1984.

The 1988 election required that the Democrats get a strong candidate to run against Reagan’s vice president, George Bush. They did. The up and coming, popular, and highly qualified Gary Hart was the obvious candidate, and from early on was assumed to be the nominated one, and a likely next president.

But then something bad happened. Gary Hart was taken out of the running. The National Enquirer ran a story placing Hart in the company of a loose woman on a suspicious boat called “Monkey Business” in the Caribbean. There was even a photo of the woman, Donna Rice, siting on Hart’s lap.

The Democrats quickly tossed Hart under the bus, and put forward Mike Dukakis as their candidate. Let me note that Dukakis was a very good governor of Massachusetts, and would have made a good president.

This may or may not be a side story: When Dukakis was running, there was a famous photograph taken of him in a tank wearing a too-large helmet, looking goofy. This appeared to disqualify him as president to a lot of voters.

Also during the primary, came the “Willie Horton” affair, a racist ploy to make Dukakis look like he was weak on crime.

This led to further weakening of Dukakis’s campaign.

We now know that the Hart Monkey Business monkey business business was a setup by Lee Atwater, a Republican dirty tricks guy. We also now know that the racist and inaccurate Horton attack ads were Atwater work as well. (See Was Gary Hart Set Up?)

48,886,597 votes, 426 Electoral votes: BUSH
41,809,074 votes, 111 Electoral votes: DUKAKIS

Then a few other elections happened.

The 2016 election was probably won by Republican Trump in part because of the discrediting of the Democratic candidate, Clinton, using lies and misdirection. There are also some who would argue that Sanders should have been the candidate, but efforts to keep him out of the race caused Clinton to win the primaries. I’m pretty sure that is not true, but if you happen to think it is true, do check on the possibility that Sanders’ campaign was damaged at least in part by outside nefarious forces of Republican or Puto-Russian origin. Just in case.

Anyway, you can imagine how different the world would be today if Muskie had been elected president. Or Hart. Or Dukakis.

Today, we are seeing this happening again, I think.

Elizabeth Warren, the most viable current candidate to represent the Democratic Party in 2020, according to many, had made a reference in the past to her own heritage. Her heritage, her right.

The Racist Republican Don the Con Trump used that opportunity to attack “Pocahontas” Warren. Democrats thought this was despicable.

Much more recently, just now, Warren happens to have done a DNA test of her heritage, and found out the interesting, quaint, and largely unimportant fact that what her family had been telling her all along, that many generations back she had a Native American ancestor, is likely true given the genetic markers in her DNA. As is her right, she made this public.

What Senator Warren did is this: She challenged a made up, racist, insulting accusation made by Don the Con Trump, with a fact.

The result? Repeated outcries BY DEMOCRATS that this was not a good communications move, and therefore ELIZABETH WARREN IS NO LONGER QUALIFIED TO BE PRESIDENT.

Excuse me, fellow Democrats, but I have something for you:


To the people who are jumping on this Never Warren She Did DNA OMG!!!!! bandwagon, many of whom are friends or colleagues whom I truly respect: Please think about the damage you are doing, and fucking stop doing it.

Thank you very much, that is all.

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38 thoughts on “Elizabeth Warren’s Native American Heritage

  1. Sorry, but this anti-DNA test sounds so silly as to be gross st00pidity!!! Getting your DNA looked at is a thing today! So she is .0001% Amerindian, Who care?!?!?! whether she is or isn’t! The demoncrats are looking more and more like rePUKEians!! The demoncrats looked good in the past, but now??? Hope she still runs!

  2. I’ve watched a lot of football games in which the side that could have, maybe should have, won just kept shooting themselves in the foot by stupid penalty after stupid penalty at critical times. That’s not unexpected in a game in which aggression and quick reactions are valued and even selected for, but what is the Democrats’ excuse?

    Is there some rational reason why even 100% Native American genetic inheritance should automatically disqualify someone to hold any office including the presidency? I can’t think of one.

  3. Re: “When Dukakis was running, there was a famous photograph taken of him in a tank wearing a too-large helmet, looking goofy. This appeared to disqualify him as president to a lot of voters.”

    Now we have a president who says or does something cringeworthy and who looks more like Mussolini than a president with his pouts and scowls and body language, but apparently appeals to bigotry, violence, greed, and regaining our imaginary lost greatness make him acceptable to many people now.

  4. “Please think about the damage you are doing, and fucking stop doing it.”

    No. Shit Greg. You can’t be saying that. What you are suggesting is that
    donkey party people need to shut up and not think and not have a viewpoint because it might be damaging.
    That’s an insanely weak position to hold. Is the donkey bunch of fuckwit politicians really that fragile?
    A strong argument, candidate, political grouping , hypothesis or whatever can handle opposing ideas easily.
    And here you are saying Shhhhhhhh! Don’t talk. Don’t have a mind of your own. It will hurt the party or candidate.

    1.  “…can handle opposing ideas easily.”
      Just thinking about my own words on a rereading, and it struck me that that’s what fuckwit Trump excels at. Albeit in a different paradigm where science and ethics and commonsense don’t exist.
      Trump can handle anything put to him , very well, because he operates outside the normal way people consider things. Sort of.
      Climate deniers have something of the same about them too.
      There’s sorta different rules for evidence and consilience for some people and it allows them to brush off reality.

  5. Yeah, I’m with Greg on this one…

    LiD, There’s no reasonable ‘marketplace of ideas’ in this country’s political arena anymore.

    I’ve looked at the DNA histrionics and so far have found no ‘there’ there. What I did find was people on the left hopping on a cultural cliche without thinking it through and howling like a bunch of banshees. It’s a real example, not a Republican made-up example, of political correctness gone crazy.

    What I’ve noted about EW is that she’s good in front of a crowd giving a canned talk. But she tends to falter before curve balls. I hope everybody keeps in mind that Trump et al. will trash any and every thing relentlessly. You need to keep that in mind, think several steps ahead (at least), spin the bastards around hard and kick their asses and keep kicking their asses until there’s no more asses worth kicking… or until forever, whichever comes first.

    1. I had to look that up because I had never heard the term before and it sounds odd.


      I’m standing by my view.
      Let’s say the people who Greg wants to shut up are ill informed fucking idiots. What’s the problem? Would you rather not know they were ill informed fucking idiots? If they are now some sort of enemy, or baddies, well ill informed fucking idiots are just who one wants to oppose cuz they are easy to beat.
      They will usually hoist themselves without one having to even state ones own case.
      If the donkey party has a bunch of people who ” howl like banshees “, then that’s what it has. It’s reality. Surely this party has mechanisms to work through dissent and difference.
      How long they been going for this party? It’s not a big deal if there is difference. It’s actually healthy.
      What isn’t healthy in a group is being silenced or attempting to.
      Which is what Greg is saying. He’s saying shut up. He’s saying that because I spose he thinks it looks weak to have difference of opinion within party. No. It’s weak to say shut up.
      If the people, either donkeys or elephants, who don’t like this lady, cannot put forward good reasons for not liking her, they are hardly a threat.
      Or dosnt yankland, and the donkeys, work with reason anymore?

    2. Um, the simplest thing I can say is reread what I said and what wikipedia said, what you said about deniers, what it means to live in a post-fact world, how propaganda works, what happens in a militaristic house of mirrors, and maybe ponder who is telling who to shut up.

      There are days, I have to admit, when personally I just want everybody to shut up.

      “The center will not hold.” This is what happens when a system starts to break down. I’m not sure what you don’t see about this; maybe think of what has happened in Russia… You have a way with magic words? Tell you what, go let Putin know that you want him to be nice. See how well that goes. That’s where we’re heading, IMO.

    3. Or let me put it another way. This is a fight. No guaranteed win, but people who can’t control their heads *will* lose (barring some fluke). That’s where we are now… Shut up the *noise* in your head and focus.

  6. Republicans have been getting better and better at mobbing behavior, a behavior that is common in a number of lower vertebrates. The attacks on Elizabeth Warren the last couple of days were amazingly harsh . But that is politics. As to Democrats who have joined the Republicons to burn her at the stake…. they are disgusting. As to those Native Americans ( Republicans I think) who turned on her for her paltry amount of NA blood, they missed a big opportunity to give her support just for being a human being who wanted to be in their tribe, even if she didn’t meet the requirements. I can see their point of view,and I can see her point of view. Her mother was scorned for being part Indian, so she had learned how those sort of cuts felt. The Chief of the Cherokee nation said he wished that more members of Congress felt such empathy for Native Americans. So I am sorry for those Native Americans who rejected her, and happy for those who accepted her and embaraced by those Democrats who were befuddled by statistics. The one metric that was being measured was this; Does she or does she not have a Native American ancestor? And the answer is that she does. This fight has just begun. Don’t count her out yet.

    1. “Republicans have been getting better and better at mobbing behavior, a behavior that is common in a number of lower vertebrates.”
      Just call em fucking idiots. With good reasoning as to why.
      Dehumanization is an awful slippery slope and I suggest you don’t go anywhere near it.
      Christ, the alarm bells were just going off for me reading that passage you wrote.
      Just call em fucking idiots.

  7. I don’t know whether she wanted to be a tribal member or not.

    But I can say that your ancestors help shape who you are culturally, and that down the generations some can have more influence than others on how descendants see the world. That’s for her to say, barring some definitive biography, and I for one am not going to support gaslighting her like a bunch of Trump Trolls.

  8. I don’t think Democrats are attacking Warren for what she said, but for when she said it.

    As for the DNA test backs up her story, she claimed that her parents had to elope because her mother was Cherokee and Delaware, and her in-laws were racists who objected.

    Now she is discovered to have a small fraction of Indian descent in her blood, smaller than the amount descended from US soldiers on the Trail of Tears.

    1. As for the DNA test backs up her story, she claimed that her parents had to elope because her mother was Cherokee and Delaware, and her in-laws were racists who objected.

      Now she is discovered to have a small fraction of Indian descent in her blood, smaller than the amount descended from US soldiers on the Trail of Tears.

      What she actually said was this:

      As a kid, I never asked my mom for documentation when she talked about our Native American heritage. What kid would? But I knew my father’s family didn’t like that she was part Cherokee and part Delaware, so my parents had to elope.

      Not “half” Cherokee and “half” Delaware, but part. Which is consistent with the genetic evidence. Something Trump deliberately elides and you karaoke.

    1. Yea, her in laws objected to their potential daughter in law having an Indian relative 5-9 generations up?
      And if it was Cherokee and Delaware, then she should have two relatives, an even higher fraction, unless they are claiming that single person was both.

  9. The distortion of Warren’s position and their subsequent mobbing of her is definitely cruel but no longer unusual punishment by the Republicans. Nikki Haley jumped right in with her own barbed comment yesterday. Wow. Just wow. There is no justification for this. In the current Republican value system, people deserve cruel treatment based on their lack of loyalty to the current Republicans in power, based on their vulnerability, and based on their threat to the patriarchal fossil fuel oligarchy. Lying is acceptable, and projection of Republican sins ( mobbing) on to people who protest injustice ( who are called a mob) is just unreal. Republicans on some levels have completely disconnected from observed reality. They seem to be drunk with power, and are wielding their power like drunks. Trump is not good. Cruelty is not good. Callousness is not good. Insensitivity is not good. Name calling is not good. Shaming is not good. Mobs are not good. The proud boys are not good. Tax fraud is not good. Being pals with thug dictators is not good. This is a not good time, largely controlled by no-good-niks. Lead by Don the Con.

  10. Which is consistent with the genetic evidence. Something Trump deliberately elides and you karaoke.

    Yes, trump, republicans in general, and locally mikeN, are lying mightily over the results of the test. (I’m not setting foot into the discussion of what the results do or don’t mean, just the continued dishonesty over, well, everything, that the right tosses around.)


    Warren’s DNA was sequenced and analyzed by a group led by Carlos Bustamante, a well-regarded Stanford University geneticist. Researchers studied a fraction — far less than 1/1000th — of Warren’s DNA, and then compared it to the DNA of 148 people from Finland, Italy, Spain, China, Nigeria and North and South America. Additional comparison was done with 185 individuals from Utah and Great Britain.

    As one might expect, the vast majority of Warren’s DNA — 95 percent — indicated European ancestors. But five genetic segments were identified, with 99 percent confidence, as being associated with Native American ancestry. The largest segment identified was on Chromosome 10.

    So bogus test — nope, not at all. But the knuckle-draggers on Trump’s side ate that comment up, I’m sure.

    “While the vast majority of the individual’s ancestry is European, the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor in the individual’s pedigree, likely in the range of 6-10 generations ago,” the report said.

    Ok, but this next part wasn’t pushed in the news.

    The report said that Warren had 10 times more Native American ancestry than the reference set from Utah, and 12 times more than the set from Britain. The report also said that the long segment on Chromosome 10 indicated that the DNA came from a relatively recent ancestor.

    The longer report says more (the comparison many on the right, and a few on the left, made to results of data from organizations like 23 and me (ugh!) completely ignored the disjoint groups used for their study bases. The comment that she “has less Native American DNA than the average (fill in the bigots’ favorite group, as MikeN did)” is not supported by the test.

    Won’t matter though. as we’ve seen with mikeN, rickA, and others, lying does them in such good stead with the modern right that it’s now their stock in trade (and easier, because it means they don’t have to do the hard work of thinking about or understanding anything).

    1. “has less Native American DNA than the average (fill in the bigots’ favorite group, as MikeN did)”

      Not what I said, but I can see how it could be misinterpreted.
      What I am saying is Warren’s Native American fraction < fraction of Warren's ancestry that consists of soldiers who were on the Trail of Tears.

    2. What I am saying is Warren’s Native American fraction < fraction of Warren's ancestry that consists of soldiers who were on the Trail of Tears.

      Quantification and academic citation required.

      IMO you are still misrepresenting the findings… see Dean’s post…

  11. Re: “Or dosnt yankland, and the donkeys, work with reason anymore?”

    People in general have a lot of emotional input into their choices. I don’t think that is very different anywhere. When the people in power in some particular place have chosen to ignore reason for whatever reason. In the U. S. it seems to be because reason alone would point to decisions counter to the aims of much of the voter base and the money base (overlapping but not completely overlapping groups).

    From what I understood of Greg’s position, it was not to stifle dissent but to ask people to try to keep things in perspective and avoid falling for the same old “dirty-tricks” ploys that derailed several other Democratic Party candidates in the past. Don’t let some tangential or unimportant issue override what should be the priority for a political party: getting — at each level, from primaries to final party candidate — someone selected and then elected who represents your consensus views as closely as possible.

  12. What I am saying is Warren’s Native American fraction < fraction of Warren's ancestry that consists of soldiers who were on the Trail of Tears.

    Given the comments made by people who understand the analysis and how this works: highly unlikely for your comment to be true — unless you have a valid reference for it.

    1. Yeah, I heard this trail of tears soldiers meme on wing-nut radio. I listened for a couple of minutes and had to turn it off. Made me wonder what MikeN’s voice sounds like when he says those words out loud.

      It was way over the top: vicious and disgusting; all the hissing (Pocahontissss, Pocahontissss, Pocahontissss) smirking and sneering with dark portent and oozing with sarcasm and hate; twisting every idea and adding in an undertone of intimate conspiratorial fellowship. Immature.

      Really, even if it is true, so what? It’s not about race, it’s about how your family’s story has shaped you. The DNA only serves to verify her family background.

      I get it, I have family who were on both sides of the civil war. This has shaped my upbringing and is a part of who I am, and among other things, it has helped me to recognize Trumpian asshats for what they are.


  13. Re: “Yea, her in laws objected to their potential daughter in law having an Indian relative 5-9 generations up?”

    Aren’t you assuming that those in-laws actually had real information about their potential daughter-in-law? Until the recent increase in the ability to search quickly on the internet for relatives and have your genome evaluated, a lot of family legends of variable degrees of accuracy were the main source for many people. A lot used to be made of last or even first names in terms of ethnicity or religion. Maybe one or both families’ ideas of ancestry were off.

    1. Her mom’s last name was Reed, and her mom’s last name was Crawford.
      And they were as white as Warren.

  14. Do you remember the previous proof of Elizabeth Warren’s Indian heritage, a great great great grandmother was listed as Cherokee on a marriage application?

    This woman’s husband was in the Tennessee militia that rounded up Cherokees to Chattanooga to be sent on the Trail of Tears, and later fought in the Second Seminole War.

    That put’s Warren’s Indian fighter fraction as at least 1/32.

  15. I’d just like to remind MikeN that nobody has forgotten WHY Trump is going after Warren like this.

    He’s reprising his standard tactic of trying to delegitimise a political opponent in the most unpleasant, distracting way possible.

    The net result, at least for me, is to be amazed anew at what a completely vile bag of shit Trump really is.

    1. also note his complete inability to back up his earlier assertion, and his continued lack of understanding of the test results.

      For the right understanding isn’t important, as long as you can deny and misdirect with enough strength.

    2. Yes, doesn’t he owe her a million dollars? Oh, wait, he denies having made that bet…

      Did I say vile bag of shite already?

  16. I have recently been reading about Warren’s wealth tax idea.

    I see a major problem with this idea. It is not constitutional to tax wealth.

    The 16th amendment allows only for taxing income.

    Wealth is NOT income.

    Wealth is what is left over from previously taxed income.

    I hope we see some discussion of this major problem.

    Sure – it could be fixed by amending the constitution – but that is very very hard to do.

    1. A rare moment of agreement. The super rich need to pay more tax – they avoid way, way too much. Clamping down on offshore is the way to go rather than starting a hard-to-win fight over the 16th Amendment.

  17. Lionel A:

    Yes, wealth is accumulated income from prior years which was previously taxed.

    An example. The IRS cannot make you pay taxes AGAIN on your income from 2017 in tax year 2018. You already paid your 2017 taxes, and you have zero 2017 income in 2018. To try to retroactively make you pay taxes on income from before the current tax year is an ex post facto law, which is prohibited by Article I, Section 9 of the US Constitution.

    So wealth is accumulated income left over after you have paid your taxes in the current tax year on the income you received in that tax year, and is added to your savings from prior tax years. Wealth is not income in the next tax year (because you didn’t receive it in the next tax year, you received it in prior tax years) and therefore it cannot be taxed by the Federal Government because it is not income.

    Hope that helps.

    Elizabeth Warren’s idea is doomed to failure, absent a change to the constitution.

  18. The United States Constitution prohibits any federal direct tax on asset holdings unless the revenue collected is apportioned among the states on the basis of their population.

    So no change absolutely required, but it won’t happen. Look at the shrinkage of the inheritance tax, which primarily targets money that was never taxed in the first place.

    So both Warren’s and Trump’s idea for a wealth tax are probably dead in the water.

    1. I agree Warren’s idea for a wealth tax is dead in the water.

      I was not aware Trump had a wealth tax idea.

      The direct tax you are speaking of is for real estate – it is a property tax.

      An income tax or wealth tax would be an indirect tax, not a direct tax. That is why they needed the 16th amendment, which is limited to income and doesn’t extend to wealth.

      Also, I disagree about the estate tax, at least as to cash. Lets say you have 10,000,000 in cash in your savings account and die and give it to your two children. That 10,000,000 was wealth which you were taxed on when it was income during your life, and which is the left over is accumulated savings after taxes. So cash has been taxed during the life of the person who died. Any estate over 5.8 million has to pay an estate tax, so a little less than 1/2 of my 10,000,000 example is taxed again when your kids inherit (leaving spouse out of it for simplicity). The state will get its pound of flesh also.

      You probably have a point about real estate and stock, because I think those assets get a stepped up basis upon death (not an expert in wills and estates).

      Only the super wealthy pay an estate tax, and most of them can avoid it. For example, Gates and Buffet gave billions and billions to charity (not taxed). I think there are other tax dodges in place for the super wealth also.

      By the way – the only reason the estate tax even works is that the wealth of the dying person becomes income to the beneficiaries – so it falls under the 16th amendment. But taxing the wealth during the life of the earner doesn’t work, because the after taxed accumulation isn’t income, it is what is left over after the income was taxed in prior years.

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