The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


Indian vote crucial to Heitkamp and Tester wins

While the major news media has focused on the importance of the votes of female, black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters to President Barack Obama’s re-election, American Indian voters “outperformed” for the Democrats in the Senate elections in North Dakota and Montana, according to a prominent Indian writer and analyst.

“Indian country is the smallest demographic slice of what is America. Yet when the history of the 2012 election is written, it must be said, that Indian country outperformed. By any metric,” Mark Trahant, wrote in Indian Country Today, a newspaper and website.

Trahant, a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes in Fort Hall, Idaho, who has been writing about Indian Country for more than three decades, wrote that New York Times number-cruncher Nate Silver was “flawless” on the presidential races but mistakenly predicted that Republicans would win the North Dakota and Montana Senate races.

“He missed because, I would bet, his wonderful models don’t include the Indian vote,” Trahant wrote.

Both Montana’s Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, and North Dakota Democratic Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp understood the importance of the Indian vote and campaigned on the reservations, and both won, Trahant noted.

He also pointed out that Obama acknowledged Native Americans in his Chicago victory speech as part of his winning coalition.

Trahant also wrote that the National Congress of American Indians, an advocacy group, has said that in Montana and New Mexico, Native Americans are registered to vote at a higher rate than any racial or ethnic group. In the election, the National Congress said, young Indians registered to vote and those too young to vote participated on tribal committees, knocked on doors, and talked to other students.