Rachel Maddow tore into North Dakota Republicans on Monday night for what she called a blatant attempt to choke off the votes of Native Americans in the state ahead of next month’s election.
As the MSNBC host pointed out, the GOP realized after Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s 2012 victory that Native American voters were key to electing Democrats in the state – so they moved quickly to make it harder for that population to vote going forward.
“What North Dakota Republicans did is fire a heat-seeking missile to nuke the Native American vote in their state,” Maddow explained. “If the Republicans can turn off the Native American vote, if they can end that, they can run the table.”
That’s exactly what they have put in place ahead of this year’s midterm elections.
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) October 16, 2018
Rachel Maddow sounded the alarm:
What North Dakota Republicans did is fire a heat-seeking missile to nuke the Native American vote in their state. Native American vote in their state is really Democratic. They’re a red state. The only way a Democrat is going to get through is with concentrated Native American support in the communities most likely to provide large numbers of Democratic votes. You got to appeal statewide. You got to appeal to everybody. But when it comes to mobilizing people who are almost sure are going to vote for you, if the Republicans can turn off the Native American vote, if they can end that, they can run the table. They don’t have to worry about there being any U.S. Senators from the Democratic Party. There’s been legal wrangling over this voter suppression effort in North Dakota for years now. … The conservative majority in the Supreme Court has now said this North Dakota law is good to go ahead and so now next month, 22 days from now, in the general election, with Heitkamp’s seat up for the first time, if you show up in North Dakota with your tribal ID, with your P.O. box on it, just like you’ve always used before, you will be turned away and not allowed to vote. And so now 22 days out from the election, one of the most critical races in the entire country, which may determine whether or not the Senate is controlled by the Democrats or the Republicans, which honestly may decide everything in American politics for the next couple of years, now on this short time frame, now there is a scramble underway to try to protect Native Americans’ right to vote in that crucial race.
Heitkamp was the underdog even before these GOP suppression tactics
It’s important to remember that polling in North Dakota in 2012 was similar to what it’s showing this year: a disadvantage for Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.
But Heitkamp managed to pull off a major upset in the state six years ago. Thanks in part to large support from Native American voters, she won that race by roughly 3,000 votes.
Since then, as Maddow pointed out, Republicans have made it their mission in North Dakota to cut off as many votes as possible that could help a Democrat win again.
Given how close the 2012 contest was and how historically red the state is, it could choke off enough Native American voters in North Dakota to beat Heidi Heitkamp and steal a pivotal U.S. Senate seat.