#NativeVote18 — A night of election firsts and a rejection of all things Trump

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Roxanne Murphy beat hate at the ballot box by winning nearly 80 percent of the vote in a race for Bellingham City Council. (Facebook photo)

Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports

A year ago ballots from across the country were being examined by citizens, journalists, and politicians, who were all wondering, “What the hell just happened?” The nation woke up to a President-elect Donald J. Trump.

And this morning? The Trump brand is like an overpriced hotel where you would never, ever stay a second time.

Voters from Maine to Washington and all points in between rejected Trumpism. They voted for Democrats, flipping legislatures in Washington and possibly Virginia. They voted for Medicaid. Medicaid! They voted for higher wages. And there is a clear message to Congress (if members pay attention) that governing still matters.

It was a good night for Native American candidates, too.

In Washington, Roxanne Murphy, Nooksack, won a second term on the Bellingham City Council with nearly 80 percent of the vote. What’s striking is that she ran against the ugly words of an opponent who called on hate instead of discourse. Murphy wrote on Facebook: “Got through so much racism and misogyny during this run for office. But that was all worth it for me to defend our Bellingham community, the work of our current Bellingham City Council, to mutilate a deplorable person at the polls, get more people to vote the whole ballot, and it proved that love can win over hate. Thank you for RoxingTheVote!”

Several other Native candidates won office in Washington. Chris Roberts , City of Shoreline, Zachary DeWolf, Seattle School District,  and Candice Wilson, to the Ferndale School Board.

Washington voters also flipped the legislature from red to blue. The entire West Coast is now governed by Democrats.

Renee Van Nett, Leech Lake Ojibwe, won a seat on the Duluth, Minnesota, city council. She will be the first Native American woman on that body. She told the Duluth News Tribune that her victory was a credit to “traditional issues that people are worried about … they want someone who’s accessible, someone they can call and talk to, someone who will address their needs. They want economic development. They want to be heard.”

Across the country “diversity” was a theme from election night. The “first” is a phrase that seems odd in 21st century America. Yet the first African American Lt. Governor in New Jersey. Another in Virginia. (Hint: The first Native American woman to serve in that capacity should be be next up, Peggy Flanagan in Minnesota.)

The first Sikh mayor in Hoboken (who had to run against overt hate). The first immigrant from Liberia in Montana. The first openly lesbian mayor in Seattle. (Huffington Post has a list of many of the firsts.) The main take away: This was a rejection of the narrow world view of the Trump. The diversity that is the future of America, won. Bigly.

On the policy debate ahead, perhaps the most important vote came from Maine where voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of expanding Medicaid. Maine is one of 19 states whose Republican governors or legislatures have refused to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. This is an initiative — and a process — that could move to other states. “This will send a clear signal to where the rest of the country is on health care,” Jonathan Schleifer, executive director of the Fairness Project, told The Washington Post. This vote is important because it could tip the scales in states where the legislature says one thing and the people another. Alaska. Cough. Alaska. Put Medicaid expansion on the ballot: And it will win.

Elections, of course, are always snap shots. It’s dangerous to think this rout means more of the same a year from now. But the groundwork is there. And this election night will further divide many Republicans from Trump — as well as those who fund elections. There is now real evidence from the best poll of all that voters are not happy with the direction of Congress or the White House.

Mark Trahant is the Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism at the University of North Dakota. He is an independent journalist and a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. On Twitter @TrahantReports

Reposting or reprinting this column? Please do so. Just credit: Mark Trahant / TrahantReports.com #IndigenousNewsWire #NativeVote18

ICYMI: My first audio election special is on iTunes or Soundcloud. Download here. 

‘Hard work pays off’ in Washington state; election returns for Native candidates

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Bellingham City Councilmember Roxanne Murphy earned a significant lead in Tuesday’s election returns. She posted on Facebook: “I’m very much in first place and winning! I just earned 65.74 percent of the Primary Election vote in the three-way race to continue my reelection run to serve as your Bellingham City Councilmember, At-Large. Thank you for all of this and more, Bellingham!” (Photo via Facebook)
Trahant Reports

Washington state voters picked candidates in a primary election Tuesday and a number of Native Americans ran for offices ranging from city councils to the Seattle Port Commission.

Bellingham City Councilmember Roxanne Murphy, Nooksack, was easily cruising to a spot in the general election rolling up more than 65 percent of the vote. On Facebook she reported:  “Hard work really can pay off. Eternal thanks to every individual and organization that supported me. *Hands Lifted*”

Washington has a “top-two” primary where the top two candidates move on to the general election (regardless of party).

However former Washington Sen. Claudia Kauffman, Nez Perce, appeared to be unsuccessful in her bid to win a spot on the fall ballot for the Seattle Port Commission. Kauffman was running against an incumbent, John Creighton, who easily won the top spot.

Matthew Jolibois, Turtle Mountain, will also continue on to the general election for the City of Fircrest Council. He currently serves as the city’s mayor. 

Zachary Pullin DeWolf, Chippewa Cree, won 43 percent of the votes reported and will continue on to the general election contest for a seat on the Seattle School Board.

Across the state, Randy Scott, Tsimshian, will face Steve Ensley this fall in a race for the Ocean Shores City Council.

Most Washington voters cast their ballots by mail so the returns could change as more ballots are received and counted. The election will be certified by August 18. The state estimates that nearly 90,000 ballots have yet to be counted (out of 688,824 so far).

 

 

 

#NativeVote16 #NativeElect16 The plan for election night reports, data

 

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Trahant Reports

A few more days to go.

I have been trying to think about how can I get the word out, inform Indian Country about the policy choices ahead, and, hopefully, celebrate the record number of Native Americans who got elected.

Live from the world headquarters of Trahant Reports … (I know, it’s cool, so I just wanted to write it) I will be posting election updates on my web site, via Apple News, on Facebook and Twitter. I will also use Facebook live a few times for breaking news.

First task. The #NativeElect16 spread sheet, including graphics.

I’ll post a spreadsheet that I can update through the night as votes come in. I’ll try to keep track of what’s going on across the country and post results as they occur.

Basically I plan to keep track of the congressional candidates and then other offices as I have time. I’ll write fast.

I am planning written posts, at least three, and will have them ready late Tuesday or early Wednesday morning.

This whole enterprise would have been impossible without social media — and that’s true for both getting the word and learning new things.My office will be set up with multiple feeds, TV channels and monitors. I’ll have a screen set up just to monitor Facebook, and another screen just for Twitter.

Let me know if there is a race or special information that you’re interested in finding out about. I’ll do my best. — Mark

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