Washington Native voters at the Seattle Westin in 2008 celebrating Barack Obama's election as President.

Elections 2012: Let’s Bring Indian Country Together as Election Results are Posted

Mark Trahant
11/5/12

I have an ambitious goal for Tuesday night: Let’s watch the election together. Let’s bring Indian country together, reflecting on the election, what it means, and thoughts about what’s going to occur next.

Native voters in Washington state four years ago came together to do just that. “We rushed to Seattle to catch the Native election night parties at the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center and the Presidential Suite of the Westin,” according to the website, Native Vote Washington. “We are totally exhausted, somewhat reflective, and absolutely amazed at all the hard work our Board and volunteers accomplished over the past year.”

This year Washington Native voters are again gathering at the Westin. Let’s use that gathering as a model and expand it, virtually, to bring all of Indian country together.

I’ll be on Twitter from Indian Country Today Media Network, hashtag, #ICTMNVote, (or follow @IndianCountry) and on Skype at Mark N Trahant. If you have a group, give me a shout. I’ll update often on the ICTMN pages and we’ll be looking for lots of interaction on Facebook and any other social media space.

You can be a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, or a sovereign non-voter who avoids the American system. The goal is a free wheeling discourse about the next four years from as many people as we can interest.

Are you having an election night party like the one in Seattle? Tell us about it. Drop me an email or a tweet (@trahantreports) or a message on Facebook.

Election Central

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One of the first pieces I blogged for this project was about how the payroll tax would be increasing no matter who wins the election. Turns out there may be some movement. Democratic leaders in the House are now calling for payroll tax relief. “If we’re going to be talking about these kinds of tax relief measures, we should focus on the one that helps 160 million Americans and would provide an economic boost,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told POLITICO. Hollen said this is a clear contrast with Republicans and the right policy.

Unless the law is changed, payroll taxes will go up by 2 percentage points on January 2, 2013.

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It’s starting to look like the Affordable Care Act – including the permanent authorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act – might be a big winner in this campaign.

Republican nominee Mitt Romney has promised to repeal ObamaCare on his first day in office. The problem with that: A president doesn’t have that power. Certainly Romney will be able to take steps, in terms of funding and other administrative action, to make the law less useful. But he cannot repeal it.

To get a repeal, conservatives would need to win the House again and capture the Senate. That’s looking more and more unlikely. (And even if Republicans control the Senate, only the financial aspects of the law could be repealed by a 50 percent vote. Most of the law would require a super majority of 60 votes to stop a filibuster.)

So all that means the Indian Health Care Improvement Act will most likely remain the law of the land.

Mark Trahant is a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and lives in Fort Hall, Idaho. He has been writing about Indian Country for more than three decades. His e-mail is: marktrahant@thecedarsgroup.org.

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