The Democratic Party’s Indian Problem (And Guess Who’s Next?)
Montana Democrats were cheerier on the night before their ill-fated meeting with Wandering Medicine. Ladies in party dresses and gents in trim suits showed up for their annual dinner, at Helena’s Lewis & Clark Fairgrounds. Senator Tester was one of the first luminaries to arrive, swaggering into the cavernous hall. The biggest, brawniest guy in any room, he also plays the trumpet and blasted out the Star Spangled Banner for a thousand cheering Democrats.
Hollywood-handsome Governor Bullock and soldier-turned-Senator John Walsh were next. GOP kingmaker Karl Rove is directing attack ads against Walsh, a former National Guard adjutant general who led combat troops in Iraq. In a speech that evening, Walsh brushed off the smears, saying they twisted the record on his campaign for better armor for soldiers, and anyway he was tough enough to take it.
Big-tent Democratic ideals abounded, with a Blackfeet victory song, a recollection of defending Jews against a Klan attack and a rousing keynote address by Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards. Politicians posed for photographs with Indians and discussed Native issues.
Walsh has been visiting tribes. He told ICTMN he’d also spoken to tribal members about the controversial satellite offices. “It’s the right thing to do,” Walsh said. “I want to improve the situation on reservations, and communicating and working together means everyone’s lot will improve. Voting rights are very important and a big part of that.”
“The Democratic party is undercutting its candidates,” said Wandering Medicine. “It’s a stumbling block to progress—but only that.”
Wandering Medicine has a plan: “The Democrats had their opportunity. Now, I’ll ask the Republicans for a commitment. Will they support us Native plaintiffs and reject those fighting the satellite offices?”
This article was written with support from the George Polk Center for Investigative Reporting.
You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page