Yeah, we’re still talking about Elizabeth Warren’s DNA, apparently. #ButHerDNA is the new #ButHerEmails. Back when Senator Warren first ran for her first term, her opponent (Scott Brown) made it a “campaign issue” that Warren had told some anecdotal stories about how she likely had Native American ancestry. That really is how it started – as a Republican smear on a popular Democrat and academic. Then Professor Warren had never applied to be part of any tribe, she wasn’t going around, claiming to know the Native American experience first-hand. She merely talked about some of her family stories. And for that, the Republicans waged a racist campaign in which they made “Tomahawk” chants and gestures outside her rallies. Years later, Donald Trump would embrace the racist campaign Scott Brown began – Trump dubbed her “Pocahontas” and he used the name as a pejorative.
Well, back in October, Senator Warren began to really step up and get her house in order in preparation for a presidential run. She wanted to address the Native American ancestry stories head on, so she… took a DNA test. The test proved that she had Native American ancestry six to ten generations back, which would indicate that some of her family lore is true – there was a Native American great-great grandmother somewhere. Warren addressed the DNA test and her “family stories” with an excellently produced video. The video featured her relatives, and information about her DNA testing. At no point did Senator Warren claim that she was a full-blooded Native American, or a member of a tribe, or looking into membership in a tribe. She was merely trying to take the air out of racist attacks against her, much like Barack Obama finally giving in and releasing his long-form birth certificate.
The reaction to Warren’s video and DNA test was… puzzling. Native American groups were up in arms that she would claim to be Native American, liberals were like “I’m not so sure about this?” and Donald Trump said he didn’t even believe the DNA test and he wanted to “test her personally.” There still seemed to be a lot of shenanigans and racism, and I really didn’t understand why. I still don’t understand why. But apparently, it’s not been established by the political intelligentsia that Warren-taking-the-DNA-test was a Bad Idea. The New York Times did a story about it this week (Nate Silver makes a good point):
There’s something very (Hillary) Clinton-esque about the Warren DNA test story and the way the press is handling it.
—Yeah she showed poor judgement.
—But it’s a minor story treated like a major crisis.
—Probably a proxy for other concerns (and/or biases).https://t.co/9uRhvnWgET
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) December 6, 2018
The New York Times’ story is about how Senator Warren is questioning whether she should have even taken the DNA test:
Two months after Elizabeth Warren released the results of a DNA test to show …read more