In addition to everything else, this just shows horrible political instincts on Warren’s part. A few weeks before a mid-term election, she has handed the Republicans a news cycle, by doubling down on an indefensible claim and needlessly drawing attention to Donald Trump’s rhetoric. She has offended Native Americans and hurt the Democratic Party, and done so completely of her own volition. Looking at 2020 prospects, I have long been worried about Warren’s political skill—after all, she nearly lost an election to a Republican in Massachusetts. But this shows that she will fall right into Trump’s traps, and produce counterproductive own-goals.

Warren has never handled this issue well. It’s still not clear quite what she’s saying: she is a Cherokee, then? She isn’t? But I honestly don’t think someone can run for president and expect to win the Democratic nomination if they are unable to own up to mistakes, and gratuitously offend and ignore Native Americans. I have liked Elizabeth Warren for a long time, but this is a massive political liability. She is wrong on this, she doesn’t seem to know she is wrong, she refuses to apologize, and she continues to make it worse. I don’t know why, instead of suggesting that this is a baseless smear, she can’t just say clearly and definitively that she shouldn’t have spent years publicly touting her Native ancestry. This stupid issue would dominate any contest with Donald Trump. It would never end. It would prevent us from ever actually discussing any serious issues. It would be like the goddamn email scandal all over again. And Warren has shown that she would handle it badly. At this point, I do not see how she can be a serious presidential contender.