your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
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:
Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye endorses Hillary Clinton (10/21)
Twenty-Nine Palms Band disputes 'Trump, You're Fired' story (10/21)
Repatriation review committee announces additional meetings (10/21)
Native Sun News Today: Ping-pong continues in #NoDAPL case (10/21)
Lakota Country Times: 'Reel Jobs' school nurtures Lakota talent (10/21)
James Giago Davies: Drugs and crime overrun our reservations (10/21)
Dana Lone Hill: Becoming a grandmother is life's highest honor (10/21)
Misty Perkins: Indigenous voices are lost in colonial translation (10/21)
John Leguizamo: Who was 'mistreating indigenous people' first? (10/21)
Bureau of Land Management confirms repatriation for ancestor (10/21)
Cowlitz Tribe opposes coal export terminal on aboriginal lands (10/21)
Crow Tribe signs agreement to resolve long-running tax dispute (10/21)
National Indian Gaming Commission refutes online gaming claim (10/21)
Pinoleville Pomo Nation stays quiet on long-delayed casino plan (10/21)
Alaska tribes enter new era with first land-into-trust application (10/20)
Native leaders in Alaska endorse Hillary Clinton in historic move (10/20)
Bureau of Indian Affairs finishes update to model juvenile code (10/20)
Utah group aims to elevate Native issues in an unusual election (10/20)
Chemehuevi Tribe secures approval of HEARTH Act regulations (10/20)
Poarch Band of Creek Indians can't be sued for firing employee (10/20)
Native Sun News Today: Oglala veteran shot and killed by police (10/20)
Lakota Country Times: Founders of annual Spiritual Run honored (10/20)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Education system diminishes our people (10/20)
Brandon Ecoffey: It's business as usual for South Dakota's GOP (10/20)
Morgan Rodman: Federal agencies work to protect treaty rights (10/20)
Mary Annette Pember: First baby born at water protector camp (10/20)
Duane Yazzie: Spirituality prevails as #NoDAPL fight continues (10/20)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe opens reservation to #NoDAPL camp (10/20)
Haskell University confirms president is still under investigation (10/20)
Agua Caliente Band back in federal court to defend water rights (10/20)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe removes members amid per cap woes (10/20)
Ho-Chunk Nation moves forward with $33M expansion at casino (10/20)
Cowlitz Tribe announces more executives for fast-rising casino (10/20)
Wilton Rancheria continues to make progress on casino project (10/20)
Agency shifts course as ancient remains slated for repatriation (10/19)
Navajo Nation opposes bill that reduces share of trust revenues (10/19)
Doug George-Kanentiio: A voice for residential school survivors (10/19)
Native Sun News Today: LNI hosts girls volleyball tournament (10/19)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe voters send message (10/19)
Editorial: Republicans in South Dakota embrace Monster Trump (10/19)
Vi Waln: Water protector camps overflow with spiritual energy (10/19)
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.