Elizabeth Warren has become something of a darling of the left, in fact, she had been widely rumored to be a potential candidate for president in 2020.
She was on Meet the Press with Chuck “Sleepy SOB” Todd and she was asked straight up if she was planning on running in 2020:
“If you win reelection this year are you going to pledge to serve a full six-year term?” he asked.
Unsurprisingly, whether or not Warren has any 2020 interest, she had no plans of declaring such on Todd’s show Sunday, still more than two years out from the next presidential election.
“I am not running for president of the United States,” she said, using her previously used present-tense denial. “I am running for the United States Senate. 2018. Massachusetts. Woohoo.”
Warren added that Democrats couldn’t be a party that only pays attention to politics every four years and rattled off of a number of more pressing issues: the aforementioned banking bill, immigration, healthcare, and gun control.
Todd repeatedly tried to get Warren to commit to serving her full six-year term if she wins reelection this November, but the senator would only respond to that question by restating that she had no intention of running for president.
“So no pledge, though, on the six years?” Todd asked one last time.
“I am not running for president,” Warren said.
I suspect, though, her cagey response is more due to trying to maintain influence than it is to planning a 2020 run. Warren is not facing a primary or, for that matter, a general election challenge. She could have told Todd that she was going to use a sex tape of her and, well, whatever, as a campaign ad and she’d still win. But I suspect that she knows her path to the White House is nonexistent. Because of Todd’s next question.
Last week a Massachusetts newspaper, the Berkshire Eagle, ran an editorial titled Warren must resolve debate on heritage.
There are now so many commercial DNA heritage-tracking labs in business that they advertise on television. The going rate for one of the most popular tests is $99. All the senator needs to do is spit into a tube, wait a few weeks and get her answer. No matter if the test came up negative or positive, it would constitute a plus for Warren and her political hopes.
Were she to test positive for Native American DNA, it would permanently resolve the issue — while possibly shutting down President Trump.
Should the test come up negative, it would be an opportunity for the senator to perform an act rarely seen among politicians: an admission of her error and a full-throated apology to Native American tribes and anyone else offended by her spurious claim. By facing the truth and taking responsibility for it, she would disarm her enemies and show potential voters that she was human and capable of mistakes, just like them. Handled properly, it could become a testimonial to her integrity and truthfulness at a time when that quality is in short supply among the nation’s leadership.
So we call upon our senior senator to screw up her courage and take the spit test. If she already has but is keeping the results under wraps, we urge her to be forthcoming with them. She has nothing to lose but her Achilles’ heel.
This isn’t the first time this has been suggested, but this is probably the first time it has been suggested in print and in Massachusetts.
This is Todd and Warren.
WATCH: @SenWarren talks on her Native American heritage and says, "I know who I am. And never used it for anything. Never got any benefits from it anywhere." #MTP pic.twitter.com/d9ZOGZOBgg
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) March 11, 2018
“It’s a part of me, and nobody’s going to take that part of me away,” she said, declining to answer the question directly.
Todd shared that his own family had similar stories of being related to Confederate Civil War commander Robert E. Lee, which were eventually debunked, and pressed Warren on what would be wrong with knowing for sure about her own ancestry.
“I know who I am,” Warren said, adding that she never used her heritage to gain any sort of advantage or special benefit. Her former colleagues have backed her up on that point.
Except that the fiction that she never got any advantage or special benefit won’t hold up to any examination of fact.
At a time when law schools faced public pressure to show greater ethnic diversity within their faculty, the university’s Crimson newspaper quoted a law school spokesman in 1996 saying Warren was Native American.
The Boston Globe followed the Herald with a report that the Association of American Law Schools listed Warren as a minority law teacher each year from 1986 to 1994. In that time, Warren went from being a law professor at the University of Texas, to the University of Pennsylvania, and finally in 1995 to Harvard University.
That association received faculty lists from law schools and sent personal profile forms to new faculty members. The group first asked about minority status in 1986.
The directories don’t indicate which minority group the person belonged to, so it would not be obvious to schools or other readers that Warren was thinking of her Native American roots.
It’s not certain that the directory form gave Warren the option to identify as Native American. All we know for sure is that the directory listed law school faculty who self-identified as minority.
Given the association’s process of sending the form to new faculty, it is possible that Warren filled out that form three times: once in 1986 when she was at the University of Texas, in 1987 when she moved to the University of Pennsylvania, and a third time when she spent a year as visiting faculty at Harvard in 1992. In 1995, when she moved to Harvard, she no longer appears in the minority teacher list.
It is a safe bet that Warren’s self-identification as American Indian was a significant factor in her getting a tenured law faculty position and that will be a campaign issue once she’s outside of Massachusetts. What makes the timeline so damning is that she abruptly jettisoned her Indian heritage at exactly the same time at which she declared herself a Democrat and started raising her political profile.
Keep in mind this is the woman who plagiarized a recipe and passed it off to an Indian cookbook as a home tradition called “Pow Wow Chow.”
Why this attempted inoculation now?
Because this particular gibe has now become part of the political landscape. It is known to a lot more people. It is not going away. Going into a national primary with a dubious claim of Indian ancestry is not going to play well in a Democrat primary with racial identity politics and the derision of “white privilege” and “cultural appropriation” are the coin of the realm. Neither will backing down from the claim after making it for about a decade. The claim will play even worse should she make it to the general election.