Say Goodbye to Paradise?


Is Hawaii really in play? That's what every parachute-wielding political journalist must surely be hoping, and Dick Cheney has gone as far as predicting a third-ever GOP victory.

With the parties suddenly competing for the island vote, this tight race may have unexpected consequences on an issue you may not have heard much about: Hawaiian sovereignty. From the Honolulu Advertiser article:

[John] Edwards repeated his and Kerry's support for a Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill that has been held up in Congress since 2000. The bill would recognize Hawaiians as an indigenous people, similar to American Indians and Native Alaskans, and would establish a process for Hawaiian sovereignty.

I told y'all that the Democrats were fostering breakaway sentiment! But wait—the Republicans are on the sovereignty tip as well. From the Hawaiian Independence Blog, quoting the Advertiser from last month:

A measure to allow federal recognition of Native Hawaiians is dead for this year, but Hawai'i's senators yesterday secured a promise from Republican leaders to let the so-called Akaka bill come to the Senate floor for a vote next year.

I interviewed a Hawaiian congresswoman at the Republican Convention about the independence/sovereignty overlap, and she surprised me by saying that her delegation helped place the issue in the Republican Party Platform [PDF]. The relevant passage:

We support efforts to ensure equitable participation in federal programs by Native Americans, Native Alaskans, and Native Hawaiians and to preserve their cultures and languages.

Her words to me were to the effect that such a bill would "protect" the amount of federal money that currently flows from Washington to paradise.

At any rate, for what it's worth, a journalist friend of mine who lives in Hawaii tells me "the polls are bogus."

Why? Older Asians, who make up a huge chunk of the population out here, rarely participate in these polls (they consider these types of things an intrusion). They are also heavily Democratic. As a result, polls out here almost always undercount Democratic votes. Actually, this is a well-documented phenomenon that has been covered extensively by local media in years past.

NEXT: If At First

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  1. Any polling regarding Dixville Notch, NH? 🙂

  2. It’d be nice to have aother Blue Hawaii this election year; if it’s not going to happen, at least it looks like there are enough mainland votes to win the election for KERRY/EDWARDS…see the latest figures at

  3. OK, so the randomly sampled polls (albeit with flaws, of course all polls are never truly unbiased) are bogus because:
    a) someone with anecdotal evidence says they are, and
    b) the local media confirms this with more anecdotal evidence!!

    Matt Welch with yet another rock solid post!!!

  4. Snake — Please note the phrase “for what it’s worth,” and also that the word “bogus” was inside quotation marks; i.e., indicating it reflected the sentiment of the person being quoted.

  5. I would like to see a process for Hawaiian sovereignty established. Then Alaska. Then for the other states, working its way east until, finally, the District of Columbia is able to establish independence from itself.

    — Stevo Threadkiller
    President, Contrarian Fabian Anarcho-capitalist Internationalists Reluctantly for Bush (So Far)

  6. Might members of the press have ulterior motives for claiming a close election in Hawaii?

    “I think you’d better send me to Honolulu to investigate this first hand!”

  7. Speaking of Hawaii, a friend of mine was “stranded” in Hawaii after the 9/11 attacks. She had been sent there by her employer (yes, really) and was supposed to fly home on 9/11 but then aviation was grounded for a few days. She expected everybody to feel sorry for her.

    Maybe there will be a Hawaii recount, and activists and lawyers from around the country will converge in Hawaii to monitor the recount and participate in the court challenges.

  8. thoreau — This is the hope, yes. And as the Reasoner probably living closest to Hawaii, I shall be forced to take one for the team….

  9. I saw my favorite image from this cycle’s campaign this morning.

    Cheney was glowering over a podium with a lei around his neck.


  10. So, some Hawaiians want their state to be independent, eh? Well, take my word for it as a true Southerner, breaking off from the United States ain’t as easy as it looks. They’ll need men and weapons to fight off the damned Yankees. I, for one, would be happy to volunteer my services in resisting Yankee aggression.

    Aloha, y’all!

  11. Yeah, yeah, but the Hawaiians settled for the US only because Kamehameha picked Britain to be his sugar daddy and Britain yawned. Now we have a fiftieth state. Besides they have a Republican governor and she’s a chick to boot. The box is open, never to be shut again.

  12. Matt, are you sure that wasn’t the governor you interviewed? Our Congressional delegation is all-male.

    BTW, for the commenters, “sovereignty” is not the same thing as independence. The plausible version would be something like a tribal government.

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