indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
The University of Tulsa College of Law - Master's in Indian Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Mark Trahant: Shape of Senate still up in the air for 2014 elections

Filed Under: Opinion | Politics
More on: 2014, democrats, elections, mark trahant, republicans, senate
     


Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts re-election bid was considered a “safe” seat last week. Today it’s competitive. It’s a great metaphor for the 2014 election season. This was supposed to be the Republican Party’s big year. And now? Who knows. Roberts is seen here with Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R). Photo from Facebook

A couple of weeks ago the political narrative for 2014 was all but final. The story went like this: President Barack Obama is so unpopular that Republicans will win the six seats they need to control the Senate. The big question was not “if” but whether there would be a Republican wave, much like the one in 2010.

But events of this past week reshaped the political landscape. The outcome of the Senate is uncertain. It could still end up being run by Mitch McConnell and Republicans, but there is a fair chance that Harry Reid’s management will continue.

That’s why I wanted to blog this election. It’s as Heidi Klum says on Project Runway: “One day you’re in and the next day you’re out.” Of course politics is not nearly as mean as Project Runway. (Or do I have that backwards?) This week a lot of designers, I mean politicians, had to clean up their things and leave the workroom.

Both Democrats and Republicans have to deal with how a third-party candidate can change the election process. An unpopular Senator, Pat Roberts in Kansas, for example, can easily cruise to victory when the votes are divided by three. Support of just four-in-ten voters is practically a mandate. But if only two people run, then a candidate needs to get fifty-percent of the vote plus one. (Or awfully close to that because some people will write in or spoil ballots). What makes Kansas so important is that the seat is considered “safe.” It should not be competitive — and now it is. So Roberts might be out.

Democrats in Kansas and Alaska that did the math and thought, hmmm, “what’s the best, possible outcome?” Not the best outcome. But the one that works with the math, the best, possible outcome.

Third-party math already worked against Republicans during the last election. In Montana some 31,000 people voted for Dan Cox, the Libertarian candidate for the Senate. That was more votes than the Republican lost by — and had there been only two in the race the outcome most likely would be different.

I actually like a different mechanism that would end this game: The top-two or a “blanket” primary. This process creates an open primary and then winnows it down to two people. So in November voters only get a choice between two candidates, rather than nominees from smaller parties. It’s not perfect (in some districts you get two Democrats or two Republicans that win a primary) but at least it requires a real majority for a candidate to win. (I also don’t like any party determining the rules of a primary, especially when it’s funded by tax dollars. In Idaho, for example, my vote is limited because I won’t declare party affiliation.)

The mechanics of elections might be boring to some. But the execution of how the process works, and who decides what the rules should be, is awfully important to Indian Country.

I also think it’s fascinating and exciting because American Indian and Alaska Natives have a shot at having a say in the outcome. Especially in 2014. Why is that? Because fewer people vote when a president is not on the ballot. So a determined, organized community can amplify their vote. That could be American Indian and Alaska Native voters. Then, Indian Country could decide which candidates are in — and which ones are out.

Mark Trahant holds the Atwood Chair at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He is an independent journalist and a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. For up-to-the-minute posts, download the free Trahant Reports app for your smart phone or tablet.

Related Stories:
Mark Trahant: Rethinking the young millennial Native voters of 2014 (9/3)


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Training sessions planned for final Indian Child Welfare Act rule (7/22)
Interior Department consults tribes about new trust reform law (7/22)
Yurok Tribe shares sad news about salmon festival -- no salmon (7/22)
Mark Charles: An entire nation's big problem with Donald Trump (7/22)
Mark Trahant: Donald Trump promises a world with no treaties (7/22)
Native Sun News: Appeal delays release of Keepseagle checks (7/22)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe hosts walk for cancer (7/22)
James Giago Davies: Police officers get away with 'kill option' (7/22)
Andre Cramblit: Police officer shootings seem far too common (7/22)
Donald Trump closes convention that left out Indian Country (7/22)
New law in Oklahoma goes against Indian Arts and Crafts Act (7/22)
NMAI seeks input from tribes about veterans memorial in DC (7/22)
Blackfeet Nation swears in leaders and looks to a new future (7/22)
Coeur d'Alene Tribe kicks off popular powwow after absence (7/22)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe declares emergency over opioids (7/22)
Review: Hard look at drugs in Indian Country in 'Seventh Fire' (7/22)
State takes blame for sharing Tohono O'odham Nation minutes (7/22)
Pokagon Band debuts expansion of gaming facility in Michigan (7/22)
Karuk Tribe ready for groundbreaking on long-awaited casino (7/22)
California remains a battleground for Indian Child Welfare Act (7/21)
Yurok Tribe launches operation to rid reservation of marijuana (7/21)
Laguna Pueblo loses case linked to military contract kickbacks (7/21)
Cherokee player Koda Glover wins praise in major league debut (7/21)
Education Department hosts Native youth for roundtable in DC (7/21)
Navajo Nation lawmakers approve bill for travel plaza at casino (7/21)
Mark Trahant: Trump's Republican convention is one big failure (7/21)
Native Sun News: Five Rosebud tribal members killed in crash (7/21)
Lakota Country Times: Fire deals setback to Rosebud program (7/21)
Brandon Ecoffey: Carrying the voices of our people to masses (7/21)
Delphine Red Shirt: Our children need to be kept close to home (7/21)
Peter d'Errico: Celebrating the dark side of White 'civilization' (7/21)
Oglala Sioux Tribe confirms shooting death of 13-year-old girl (7/21)
Tribes in Connecticut sponsor cruise for Republican delegates (7/21)
Tribal lobbyist not buying Donald Trump's message of change (7/21)
Mechoopda Tribe aims to work with county on delayed casino (7/21)
Seminole Tribe helps with probe into robbery of casino patron (7/21)
John Schneider: New Little Traverse casino is underwhelming (7/21)
National Indian Gaming Commission reports growth in industry (7/20)
Interior Department sends more money for Cobell scholarships (7/20)
Former chairman of Winnebago Tribe indicted on theft charges (7/20)
Bill John Baker: An endorsement for Hillary Clinton as president (7/20)
Lakota Country Times: Skate competition moves to Pine Ridge (7/20)
Vi Waln: Lateral oppression is far too real for our tribal citizens (7/20)
Clara Caufield: Indian people too often vote with our stomachs (7/20)
Native Sun News Editorial: Improve our relationship with police (7/20)
Steven Newcomb: Focusing on the independence of our nations (7/20)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.