Correction: Elizabeth Warren might be as little as 1/1024th Native American

Here’s what I think happened. She knew Trump was going to goof on her about her claim to Native American ancestry for the entirety of the coming campaign so she took the DNA test, hoping against hope that it would confirm she was 1/32nd native. A little bit native. Instead the results came back that *at best* it was 1/64th — and at worst, according to the Globe’s new correction … 1/1024th.

She had a dilemma. She could put the results in a drawer, but if she did that and they leaked somehow, it’d be a scandal. She’d be guilty not only of having exaggerated extremely remote Native American ancestry, she’d be guilty of covering it up. Trump would never let her hear the end of it. So instead she concluded that the only option was to publish the results and claim it as some sort of victory. I told you I had Native American blood.

Which is sort of true, I guess? By the genetic standards of vicious racists, per the “one-drop rule,” she does indeed qualify. She’s got … about exactly one drop.

In fact, here’s a superb catch by George Conway (yes, that George Conway) from an NYT story on genetics and ancestry in America published in 2014:

The researchers found that European-Americans had genomes that were on average 98.6 percent European, .19 percent African, and .18 Native American.

A genome that’s .19 percent native works out to 1/512. So, do the math. The best-case scenario for Warren, that she’s 1/64th native, would mean that around 1.6 percent of her genome is Native American, about 10 times more than the average European-American. The worst-case scenario, 1/1024th, would mean it’s around .10 Native American — roughly half the share the average European-American has. It’s possible, in other words, that Fauxcahontas is less native than the typical white American.

Ben Shapiro is already workshopping one-liners that Trump is destined to use on her at his rallies going forward:

The latter’s only a half-joke. What do you do with today’s Warren news if you’re a left-winger who wants to own Trump with very slight evidence of her native ancestry but who also, uh, doesn’t want to revive “one-drop” thinking? If Warren is Native American because she might have had a single native ancestor hundreds of years ago, various Republican pols who might have remote native or black or Latino or Arab ancestors should logically be able to claim membership in those groups by dint of their own faint genetic link. And if 1/1024th is enough to make Warren Native American, progressives will have to rethink about their views on “cultural appropriation.” If one ancestor 300 years ago is enough to entitle you to “appropriate” a particular culture, there’ll be very few cultures that can’t properly be appropriated by the average white American. Note again the NYT excerpt above: The average European-American is around 1/512th African. I never want to hear a complaint about Vanilla Ice again.

Warren actually had the stones to demand that Trump pay up on the half-joking promise he made months ago to donate a million bucks to charity if she could prove she’s Native American. I think this is part of her spin strategy: Knowing how embarrassing this all looks for her, the only way out is to go on offense.

As a Twitter pal says, if nothing else this episode will show Democratic primary voters that she’s willing to counterpunch. Avenatti and his fans want a “fighter” as nominee? Well, here she is fighting back against the “Pocahontas” stuff. Just … really badly. And Ben Smith makes a good point: “Warren’s decision to launch her campaign on Donald Trump’s terms is not going to discourage him.” Nominating someone because they’re the person who’s most willing to play a game that Trump has mastered, rather than changing the game, seems not so smart.

So badly, in fact, that at least one big-name Democrat is calling her out:

Eh. All news cycles nowadays last 45 minutes. We’ll be on to something new before you’re done reading this post.

As for how Trump will handle his bet about Warren’s ancestry, I think John McCormack nailed it: The only proper thing to do is to donate $976.57 to Warren’s charity. She proved she’s at least 1/1024th native, didn’t she? Well, then, she gets 1/1024th of the million. Via Dana Loesch, here’s Warren in 2012 recalling that her grandparents were so prejudiced against her mother for being part Native American that her parents had to elope to get married. Were her grandparents genealogists?

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