In today's U.S. politics the Native American vote has grown and organized to the point that it will be a major factor across the country in electing our next president. All presidential candidates in this 2008 election have made it their priority to inform Native American voters where they stand on their real issues and concerns with the understanding that lip service will no longer be tolerated.
Over the past ten years Native American grass-root groups have used the Internet to link-up, organize and get out the Native vote. In this decade alone, Americans have watched the voting percentage rate between presidential candidates close tighter each race. The Native American vote cannot be ignored any longer to include candidates fully addressing their issues.
As it stands now nationally, Native American voters do not believe Obama can beat McCain in November. Oklahoma has the largest Indian population of any state. Hillary Clinton won the state democrat primary. Oklahoma's democrat governor, a super delegate sided with Obama along with one Indian democrat super delegate, Kalyn Free. Their action took Oklahoma voters by surprise to say the least.
Senator Barack Obama won the North Carolina state primary, but Lumbee Indians overwhelmingly voted for Senator Hillary Clinton. She also won the counties that encompass the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Hillary made it a point early on to state that she supported federal recognition of the Lumbee Indian Nation while Obama waited until just days before the primary before finally saying he also supported their federal recognition. Now, North Carolina Indian voters have until November to decide whether they will cast their vote for the democrat party candidate Obama or not.
Statements from Indian voters in South Dakota point to their support of Hillary over Obama. Indian voters have made statements that if it comes down to McCain or Obama they would vote for McCain. Their reasoning being that McCain would be best qualified overall and would stand up for Indian issues; siting that he serves on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and being from Arizona, a state that has a large Indian population. The western state votes are in play big-time this election. This fact makes the Native American vote in this presidential election of even greater importance.
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, also a democratic super delegate turned on Hillary Clinton and supported Obama. Governor Richardson has also seen fit not to support Benny Shendo, a member of the Jemez Pueblo Indians who is running for the New Mexico 3rd U.S. Congressional District seat. The district is home to over a dozen Indian tribes. Governor Richardson is supporting Ben Ray Lujan, the son of New Mexico House Speaker Ben Lujan. Governor Richardson is sited saying Ben Ray Lujan is more qualified. The Indian and Hispanic vote throughout the Southwest right up to California overall will go for John McCain.
In Northwestern states like Oregon and Montana some tribal leaders have come out in support of Obama. Tribal members overall are not locking in. The election will come down to who Indians think can realistically get the job done for them while in office as president. Change and promises are normal standard campaign words. McCain is an established center of the road candidate, and his republican party members know this. Obama is left wing and would have a nearly impossible task of moving to the center on national issues for American voters overall to cast their vote for him in November.
From the beginning, the democratic party leadership and their super delegates have watched Obama take political character hits one after another to the point a blind person can see the American people will not support Obama in November against McCain. Women democrat voters have every right to turn their back on the party leaders bid for the White House. Women voters will unite and send them a strong message after it's all said and done with in November. Women voters are waking up to the fact that their vote did not count and were robbed of the chance to elect the first woman president.
Even if Hillary Clinton bowed down and accepted to run as Obama's vice presidential candidate, the democrat party leadership has shot itself in the political foot one time two many this late in the game.
Native American Veteran voters will overwhelmingly support John McCain, he will carry the vast majority of Native American voters serving in our armed forces today. If ever an American did deserve to be the president of America for all it stands for, it's all American John McCain. Hillary and the women vote would have made it a barn burner of an election.
Democrats nor Republicans running for state or federal office today can afford to be seen as pandering to national anti-Indian groups. Native American voters across the country have made it a point to initiate a coalition building program within a state, and join forces with others to vote representatives out of office for not dealing with Indian issues respectfully. The bipartisan Indian voter groups have made believers of both parties over past elections. Native Americans are flexing their political muscle, political voice, and their vote cannot be ignored anymore.
This in itself is a civil rights milestone when one considers the fact that just eighty four years ago American Indians were made citizens of America by President Calvin Coolidge signing into law the Indian Citizenship Act of June 2, 1924.
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Mike Graham, is acitizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and founder ofUnited Native America www.UnitedNativeAmerica.comGraham has been a guest speaker on national and international radio talk shows to include television programs concerning Indian community issues, his reports on Indian issues have been published in newspapers across America. He has traveled the country discussing issues with Indian Nation leadersto included presenting Indian issues at college's and high school's.