Steve Russell: Stakes are too high for a presidential protest vote in Indian Country

Warm Springs Native Vote. Photo by Alyssa Macy

Who will be Indian Country's choice on November 8? Steve Russell, a member of the Cherokee Nation, is voting for Democrat Hillary Clinton, in spite of her flaws, arguing that Republican Donald Trump will be disastrous for tribes, women and other groups:
Trump’s biases against Muslims and African-Americans and Mexican-Americans are well known. His treatment of women as a separate species defined by his sexual interests tells me a vote for Trump is a vote against the world I would want my two daughters living in and my four granddaughters growing up in. Nip and tuck with sexism for Trump’s biggest liability is that he's a self-professed Indian fighter, seeking to put an end to our separate political existence.

I am biased against Trump but not because I’m Indian and he’s not. Pols do things that hurt Indian interests all the time but it's seldom on purpose. We are too few to attract the big guns, but Trump has a record of hostility to tribal sovereignty going back before he got into politics. It does offer a certain clarity when a candidate is promising to attack your fundamental interests on purpose.

So there are two reasons why I can hold my nose hard enough to vote for Clinton. One is that she's not Donald Trump and the other is that while I find the Clinton corruption level disquieting, there is no denying that the Clinton years were times of relative peace and prosperity.

When she leaves the White House, she may sell pardons like her husband did but at least she will leave the walls standing. With Trump, every potential disaster is in play.

Read More:
Steve Russell: Dancing the Two-Party Tango (Indian Country Today 11/4)

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