Democrats are right to be worried that Elizabeth Warren’s Native American controversy is eating away at her viability as a national general election candidate. The analogy to Hillary’s emails is on point, an oozing campaign wound that saps the candidate’s strength.

The recent revelation that Warren signed her Texas State Bar registration card in 1986 as an “American Indian” comes on the heels of the disastrous DNA test rollout in October 2018.

We covered the latest in these posts:

There are at least two other aspects of the Texas State Bar card that deserve attention.

First, Warren is playing word games in her apology for not being sensitive to what tribal membership means. The issue is not just that she was not a member of any federally recognized Cherokee tribe. More fundamentally, she’s not Native American under any recognized standard, regardless of specific tribal membership. Warren cannot point to a single specific Native American ancestor or that she ever lived as or affiliated with Native Americans.

Warren is portraying herself as an undocumented American Indian, someone who just didn’t get the paperwork done to become a tribal member. But she’s not an American Indian, at all.

By focusing on tribal membership and sovereignty, Warren is creating a distinction that, while important in a general sense, is irrelevant to the falsehood Warren perpetrated. She signed her Texas State Bar registration as an “American Indian,” not as a member of a Cherokee tribe. She’s not and never has been an American Indian (or Native American, a synonymous term).

Second, there likely are documents Warren signed falsely representing herself to be an American Indian or Native American that have not yet surfaced. Warren admitted to this possibility when questioned about the Texas State Bar fiasco:

“Q: Could there be other documents out there with you self-identifying as American Indian?

Warren: So, all I know is, during this time period, this is consistent with what I did because it was based on my understanding from my family’s stories ….”

This second point, that there are more documents to drop, is more damaging to Warren in the Democratic primaries. Democrats may be willing to overlook a candidate who culturally misappropriated an ethnic identity. But will Democrats nominate someone as to whom there are more documents to drop on the most damaging aspect of the candidacy?

What might drop? How about Warren’s Harvard Law School hiring file, which never has been released. That file could somehow leak, or there might be a clamoring for Warren to authorize its release. If it turns out, despite all the campaign and sympathetic media claims to the contrary, that someone in the hiring process HLS knew about her Native American status prior to granting her tenure, Warren’s campaign would collapse in a heartbeat.

Even it not as dramatic as her HLS hiring file, more documents similar to the Texas State Bar registration card would paralyze Warren’s messaging.

Is that a risk Democrats are willing to take, when what’s at stake it preventing Donald Trump from becoming a two-term president?


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