Trump and Native Americans

On the news today there was a clip of Trump at a rally in Montana (search for “Trump barbed wire”) and I was surprised to see a large contigent of what seemed to be Native Americans in headdress directly behind him. Doing a basic search for Trump and Native Americans I mostly see stuff about his feud with Elizabeth Warren, and how he might take away their health care. It wouldn’t seem like he would be attracting them to his rallies. Is there some cause for support from that demographic, or did he just go out of his way to prominently display the few that exist?

I looked at the images that came up via a Google search, and I counted five or six people in Native American headdress. Is this the large contingent of which you speak? Or did I miss others in the crowd?

There were a few without headdress too, but yes. I guess we could quibble about large, but they were very prominently displayed.

I don’t think it’s useful, in many cases, to think of Native Americans as a meaningful distinct demographic. It’s going to vary too much by state/reserve. Some are getting rich off gambling or oil, some are desperate and rely on government assistance. And yes, I know they don’t all live on reservations but they are such a small percentage of the population that their weight only matters when they are blocked together in a reserve or strong tribal organization.

That said, I’m not sure why you think an anti immigrant or pro military position wouldn’t attract any Native American voters to his rallies.

Native American’s is like any other arbitrary grouping of humans, inaccurate when describing any individual. The concept that race does not have a biological basis, it is a social construct.

There are 573 Native American tribes which all will have differing social norms, and every individual in that group will also have their own beliefs that do not directly map to the norm or to stereotypes.

Ethnic groups may have a tenancy for a “member” to have a political leaning but like any other individual their political beliefs will be based on many factors and many will be more important to some people than “race”.

I would be careful to remember that demographics may be useful for shared causes or generic grouping but they are really useless when making predictions about individuals.

This is the risk when “othering” people who for some reason can be filed in some in or out group in our minds.

…does the OP not understand how propaganda works?

This was deliberate. They’ve done this before. This is propaganda. We’ve seen them swap out people behind Trump who “weren’t smiling.” We’ve seen them strategically put black Trump supporters behind him. We’ve seen this administration put a table full of blank paper at the front of a press conference and claim they were “conflict of interest” documents. We’ve watched as the President of the United States has consistently lied about almost every thing he has said.

This is theater. Its all part of the game. I have no doubt that there are native Americans who support Trump. But this stunt tells us nothing. Its carefully orchestrated propaganda from an administration that is conducting psi-ops on the people of America and it clearly is working.

Some people just want to be on TV.

The OP clearly understood that as it was one of the two alternative answers he suggested. Maybe you should ease up on the throttle a bit.

“Is there some cause for support from that demographic, or did he just go out of his way to prominently display the few that exist?”

Trump’s “anti-immigrant” policy mostly is actually an anti-Native American policy.

Only if they accept the idea that it’s really a pro-white message. But plenty of native Americans probably take it at face value. “mostly is actually an anti-Native American policy” is idiotic. Native Americans are an afterthought in American politics. Not much is mostly actually about them at all.

…I didn’t see the word “propaganda” anywhere in the OP. Would you care to point it out?

I didn’t miss that question. But its precisely this sort of question that this sort of propaganda invites. Its entirely the point.

An anti-immigrant stance would make sense if they could make it retroactive for a bit over 500 years.

You aren’t putting in any effort to understand the OP. His last sentence obviously shows he realizes it could be a purely optics things. But somehow, in your mind, it plays right into the hands of propagandists to ask “is this just propaganda?”.

I don’t see him in that video but here is an example of Alvin “A.J.” Not Afraid of the Crow Tribe endorsing the Republican and aligning with Trump in.

Note that Western states have been reigning on treaty hunting rights and in general Native Americans are treated very poorly by the state and federal governments.

It isn’t surprising that his rhetoric hits home with some people. I am sure that all of us have some family member that is on the Trump side despite similar issues even if those issues aren’t ‘race’.

But in general I would assume that Native Americans have no reason to think that all politicians are racist against Native Americans, as it is pretty obvious that almost all of us are. If everyone is bigoted against you that is just another reason to possibly pick a side based on other issues.

Well yeah, their placement is obviously an optics thing, but unlike with say, African Americans, finding a large enough group of Native Americans who are not only near the specific rally site, but also Republican, the particular sort of Republican that likes Trump, and willing to all bring headdresses, seems to require more planning and willingness also to be especially representative and symbolic, that it seems to me at least, to beg the question of what sort of non obvious incentive is balancing that equation. Sort of like if rather than just gathering the random POC who happened to show up in a convenient photo op, they all had on Black Power or Si Se Puede shirts.

…incorrect. I understand the OP perfectly.

Could be a purely optics thing? Could?

Characterizing propaganda as “purely an optics thing” is entirely the problem. Words matter. This is propaganda. Its time to stop the bullshit: pretending that what this administration is doing is some-kind-of-normal. We laughed at the absurdity of Baghdad Bob pretending “everything is fine and we are winning the war.” But this administration is subjecting the American people to the very same thing and people just can’t admit it. This is absurd. As absurd as Baghdad Bob. Obvious theater. Its a stunt entirely typical of this administration. How are you even asking this question?

There are more than 600 sovereign Native nations in the United States, all with leaders, government, and self determining people.

You do realize that by dismissing these people as “victims” lacking any form of self-determination, power, visibility is a form of benevolent prejudice? Non-Native people are not uniquely capable of shaping how they think and act as individuals.

As Trump’s Dog-whistle politics are pretty effective on recruiting the moderates in some cases, why would it be any different for Native peoples? While their placement may be intentional, not all leaders copy their formal attire from Croatian mercenaries serving in France during the Thirty Years’ War A.K.A. suit and tie.

I guess my point is, yes any particular demographic is likely to have variation, it doesn’t surprise me that there are Trump supporters who happen to be a particular demographic. But if you go out of your way to point out a connection between your demographic and your allegiance, you are inherently making an implication not only about yourself but about how Trump benefits your whole demographic. Now of course, it’s obvious why Trump would want to do this, but it still requires the participation of people in that demographic to go to extra effort to make a statement not only about themselves, but their group identity. Unlike Trump, it seems likely that their behavior has some sort of authentic and not purely personal motive.

This article (from July) discusses Trump’s support among Native Americans. The short version is Native Americans tend to support Trump more than blacks, Latinos, or Asians but less than whites. The article also reported out that Native Americans are the lowest racial group in terms of voter turnout.

I didn’t say they were victims, quite the opposite. While Trump may be attempting to use them as propaganda, they are clearly going to extra lengths to participate. On the other hand, they aren’t acting like individuals, they are also going to extra lengths to display their identity as a group. This strongly implies their political attraction is based on percieved benefits based on that identity. Yes of course, there are no doubt large individual variations within that population, and plenty who happen to like Trump, for the same reasons others do. But this particular group goes way beyond that notion.