Massachusetts paper to Elizabeth Warren: It's time to take a DNA test and resolve this Native American mystery once and for all

I know what you’re thinking, but this doesn’t come from a right-leaning paper attempting to troll her into a weird public “23 and me” stunt.

This comes from a left-leaning paper whose editorial board really seems to believe this would be a good idea. Actual quote: “No matter whether the test came up negative or positive, it would constitute a plus for Senator Warren and her political hopes.”

No, dude. It would not.

The same technology that can match a perpetrator to a crime with virtual 100-percent certainty could settle the question of her heritage for all time. There are now so many commercial DNA heritage-tracking labs in business that they advertise on television. The going rate for one of the most popular tests is $99. All the senator needs to do is spit into a tube, wait a few weeks, and get her answer.

No matter whether the test came up negative or positive, it would constitute a plus for Senator Warren and her political hopes. Were she to test positive for Native American DNA, it would permanently resolve the issue — while possibly shutting down President Trump.

Should the test come up negative, it would be an opportunity for the senator to perform an act rarely seen among politicians: an admission of her error and a full-throated apology to Native American tribes and anyone else offended by her spurious claim. By facing the truth and taking responsibility for it, she would disarm her enemies and show potential voters that she was human and capable of mistakes, just like them. Handled properly, it could become a testimonial to her integrity and truthfulness at a time when that quality is in short supply among the nation’s leadership.

If she rolls the dice and takes the test, nothing good comes of it. The one good outcome, that she really is of Native American descent to some non-negligible degree, seems like a long long longshot. If Warren had, say, a grandparent who was Cherokee, she’d already know that. Instead she’s staring at one of two likely bad results, either a total goose egg on Native ancestry or some verrrrrry remote lineage that makes her claims of meaningful Native ancestry earlier in life seem even more ridiculous in hindsight. If Ancestry DNA comes back showing she’s like 1/256th Cherokee, how much more absurd will it seem that she once contributed recipes to “Pow Wow Chow”?

And what if it turns out she’s also 1/64th Hungarian or whatever by comparison? Then she’ll have to explain why she hasn’t touted her Hungarian heritage previously or taken an interest in “Hungarian issues.” Before you know it she’ll be cranking out goulash recipes for “Budapest Monthly” and showing up to Hungarian-American cultural events to perform dances from the “motherland” while horrified attendees try to restrain her.

There’s no winning for her at this point on her heritage, which is precisely why she went to that Native American summit a few weeks ago and tried to scramble the issue. She stood by her story about her Cherokee ancestry in her speech there but she also attempted to brush the question aside as basically unimportant. What’s important, she claimed, is that Native Americans are treated fairly and she would take it upon herself to make sure that they were going forward. That is, she’s positioning herself as an honorary member of the tribe, which is a true no-lose situation politically. Either she’ll neutralize the question of her ancestry by advocating for Native American issues or, if Trump and other Republicans continue to attack her for it, she might earn enough goodwill with actual Native Americans that they’ll defend her, which would mean the GOP would suddenly find itself pitted against people with real Native ancestry. Not a great place to be politically when the guy in charge is known for rambling about “Pocahontas” in his stump speeches.

By 2020, Trump is going to be daring her to prove her Native-ness by shooting arrows or sending smoke signals, isn’t he.