When I read that Todd Palin, the husband of the presumptive Republican Vice-Presidential nominee, is “Native Yup’ik Eskimo,” I wondered if that would have any impact on the presidential race. After all, I don’t think we’ve ever had a Native American Indian on any national ticket.**
To be sure, Todd is only the spouse of a candidate, but will Native populations see this as a welcome sign.
Two of the states with the largest such populations, Arizona (4.5%) and South Dakota (8.1%) can pretty much be counted as safe Republican. So, I decided to scour the Native American population of several swing states in Michael Barone’s Almanac of American Politics (the source for the stats above) to see.
Colorado, a state which had until 2004, a Native American Senator (Ben Nighthorse Campbell) only has a native population of less than 1%, Nevada just over 1%, New Mexico 8.9%.
Thus, if Todd Palin’s background helps the GOP ticket anywhere, it’ll be New Mexico. Bush won the state by fewer than 6,000 votes in 2004 and lost it by fewer than 400 in 2000.
The choice of Sarah Palin can only help McCain in the Land of Enchantment.
*Striking Inuit and replacing with Eskimo as per Comment #2.
**According to Dante in Comment #15 we have: Charles Curtis of Kansas who served as Vice President under Herbert Hoover from 1929-33.
UPDATE (09/09/08): I’ve just learned from an Alaskan than indigenous Alaskans do not consider themselves to be Native American Indians, they consider themselves Native Alaskans.