Holly Cook Macarro: Indian Country relishes election victories

"Just one year ago, the Democrats were written off as likely to lose their majority and control of the Senate to the Republicans. Today, they are looking at a gain of two seats and a 10-seat majority as a result of a near sweep of the top Senate races. While I’ve indulged in a little celebrating over these victories, I’ve been doing this long enough to know that everything is cyclical (remember 2000? 2010?) and we all get to be winners and losers some days.

Election 2012 is the strongest indication yet of the political sophistication that tribes have achieved. This election demonstrated an effective combination of political participation at the policy level, Native voter turnout, and strategic giving to races across the country.

Once again, each presidential campaign had a Native American outreach component to it and tribal planks in each party’s platform. This is the minimum that is expected out of a candidate nowadays, but I remember when it was a big deal to even get the candidate to utter the words “Native American” in a speech. As a veteran of several presidential campaigns, I know how difficult it is to get the top officials in a presidential campaign to engage on tribal issues. President Obama’s national political director, Katherine Archuleta, ensured that tribal leaders and Native politicos were part of the Obama 2012 campaign’s plan and Indian country has benefited throughout his tenure from the tribal experience several of his top advisers have—Jim Messina, his campaign manager, has extensive roots in Montana, and Pete Rouse was with former senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota before joining the president’s team. That deep familiarity with tribal issues at the highest levels is invaluable—it cannot be taught in a briefing."

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Holly Cook Macarro: Elections 2012: Tribes Becoming Increasingly Sophisticated (Indian Country Today 11/17)

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