Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is regularly mentioned as one of the early favorites to take on President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
Should she get that honor, President Trump very well may use the “Fauxcahontas” tagline against Warren over and over, as he attacks her. For that reason, Sen. Warren has sought to turn the attack around, leaning into her claimed Native American heritage despite the fact that few people seem to believe she is what she says she is.
But in deciding to own the attack, and spotlight her purported support for Native Americans, Warren is just begging for the media and voters to scrutinize her record on issues of importance to Native Americans, and the stance of her fellow Democrats who she has boosted and supported.
The fact is, while Warren will talk about the need for Native Americans to control their own future as the 2020 contest gets underway, her record, and that of her party, is actually one of keeping Native Americans stuck in the same bad situation many tribes have lived through for generations now.
The ways in which Democrats, including Warren herself, have fought to keep us down through well-intentioned regulation are various and many and should be spotlighted just as much as Warren is as we approach the next presidential election.
Recently, Sen. Warren completely ignored a critical issue related to economic opportunity and development “on the res” when questioning Kathy Kraninger during her confirmation hearing to become the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Instead of focusing on the absolutely dismal record the CFPB — Warren’s brainchild, and the agency she was originally supposed to run until it became clear she was too politically toxic — where tribal sovereignty, economic opportunity for tribes, and tribal lending specifically, are concerned, Warren spent her time trying to score political points against President Trump.
Warren must be aware of the many, many lawsuits that the CFPB filed against small lenders owned by tribes. Sen. Warren should be aware that experts have said that the actions of the CFPB could have great, negative effects on tribal lending and result in restricted availability for some forms of consumer credit.
If she were a true advocate for Native Americans connected to actual members of tribes (I am one), she would know that the CFPB is viewed as just another US Government agency trying to keep us down.
But she isn’t any of these things. She’s just a political hack interested in using her clout as a senator to boost her celebrity and campaign contributions from the #resist crowd.
The same problem evidences itself in the realm of energy exploration, where Sen. Warren continually ignored the actions of the Obama administration against the interests of the tribes. When the Obama administration blocked efforts to allow Native Americans to explore for energy on their own lands, Sen. Warren did nothing to stop it. When the Obama administration blocked a tribe from pursuing a renewable energy project, she did nothing to stop it.
Back on the financial services front, when Operation Choke Point was alleged to be targeting tribal lenders, she did nothing to stop it. Sen. Warren even voted against the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act.
Suffice to say, she is going to have to go a long way towards changing her record on the issues important to Native Americans if she truly wants to defang the “Fauxcahontas” attacks.
If she wants to take on President Trump, who supports tribes’ rights to explore for energy on their own lands and appointed the Director of the CFPB that ended the lawsuits against tribal lenders, then she can’t simply talk about the tribes, she needs to start acting in their interest.
It was reported that Sen. Warren spoke to one tribal leader about how to handle the attacks being made against her. That leader told her, “If you respect Indian Country, we respect you. Go out and do the job, and it’ll be better for all of us.”
In this instance, Sen. Warren missed yet another opportunity to go out and do the job. To paraphrase a popular saying, with supporters like her, who needs detractors.
Dr. Gavin Clarkson is the Republican nominee for New Mexico Secretary State, a member of the Choctaw Nation, a graduate of Harvard Law, a member of the Federalist Society, and a former president of the Native American Law Students Association.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.