Kamala Harris, a California Senator and the first female Indian 2020 presidential election candidate in the U.S. Photo credit: usnews.com
Who is Kamala Harris – The first female Indian 2020 presidential election candidate in the U.S and a new entrant in the league of most popular women in the world?
Who is Kamala Harris – The first female Indian 2020 presidential election candidate in the U.S and a new entrant in the league of most popular women in the world? YouGov reports that she is regarded as the 15th most popular democrat whose fans described as ”Intelligent, Likeable, Articulate, Genuine and Competent”
Indians around the world were quick to celebrate the news after Democratic Party presumptive nominee Joe Biden announced Senator Kamala Harris as his pick, making her the first Black and South Asian American woman to run on a major political party’s presidential ticket.
Who is Kamala Harris – the new entrant in the league of most popular women in the world? How will she affect U.S politics positively if voted in as the new VP? What challenges relating to Indians is she going to face in the White House?
Who is Kamala Harris?
Whos is Kamala Harris? Harris, the daughter of two immigrants – Indian and Jamaican immigrants, is U.S Democratic Party Senator. Her mother was from India and her father from Jamaica. Kamala Harris’s multiracial and has diverse family heritage – having Indian, Jamaica, and U.S inheritance.
Shyamala Gopalan, Harris’s mother, first came to the United States in 1958, at a time there were only around 12,000 Indian immigrants were living in U.S and 7 years before a new law would transform the US immigration system and fundamentally change the face of the nation.
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The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which eliminated national origin quotas, shaped the Indian American population in the U.S by paving the way for millions of Indians and other non-European immigrants to come to the United States. By 2018, the latest census estimates available, there were nearly 2.7 million Indians in the U.S.
Kamala Harris, a California senator, is a staunch advocate of like marriage equality or immigration and proves reliable to speak up against human rights abuses. She commands great respect on the U.S Senate floor.
Will Indian and other Asian Americans vote for Joe Biden/Kamala Harris?
Will Indians other Asian Americans vote Biden and Harris in 2020 US presidential elections? Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial or ethnic group in the US electorate, making up nearly 5% of eligible voters in the US and the Indian Americans tend to vote for Democrats in the past presidential elections.
But, since President Donald Trump has made a concerted effort to court their votes by launching a five-figure digital ad buy earlier this year targeting Indian Americans, who may be swayed by economic policies like tax cuts and with Indians holding strongly to traditional Hinduism, maintaining ties with the US on shared national ideology, it is difficult to say where this nomination lands with Indian Americans right now. Therefore, it is quite unclear whether the V.P Democratic nominee will draw Indian Americans to go for Biden/Harris ticket in November even though political analysts expect her roots and commitment to social justice to play to her favour.
Some Indian Americans believe the moment is a particularly resonant sign of how far the community has come in a matter of decades. Others note that Harris’ Indian heritage is just one part of her background and popularity and caution against painting a group that is culturally, linguistically, and religiously diverse with too broad a brush.
Factors on which Indian and other Asian Americans voting for Biden/Harris depend
There are many factors that will determine if Indian and other Asian American will vote for Biden/Harris the elections in less than 2 months’ time.
Many Indian American will prefer more ‘’political coalition’’ between Kamala Harris and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi just like the type President Donald Trump enjoys presently.
Trump’s partnership with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been well-received by both Indians and Indian Americans, and for many of them, their position on both Trump and Modi is solidified; as long as Trump backs Modi. There is also appealing political unionism with these Hindu nationalists and the Prime Minister Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party for now. It is too early to make a commitment on the swing of Indian-American political support, her success in the polls will definitely push up her popularity position among world leaders.
The “Howdy, Modi!” community summit in Houston attended by both leaders drew crowds of 50,000 people in September, an event Senator Kamala Harris failed to attend where she was criticized by Conservative Hindus even though the number of conservative Indian Americans is relatively small. Less than 20% of Indian Americans are said to have backed Trump in 2016. Also, in February, Trump travelled to India, and attracted more than 110,000 people at a similar rally called “Namaste Trump.”
Many others have made false claims that she has failed to acknowledge her Indian roots, questioning whether this has to do with “Hinduphobia” in the US.
What major challenges will Biden and Harris face in the White House if Americans vote them in as their new president and vice president to steer the affairs of the world’s greatest economy?
Thoughtfully, would Senator Harris in the White House mean having a strong influence on the issue regarding the Indian occupation of Kashmir?
Another issue is the Indian nationalism that has marginalization of the country’s 200-million-strong Indian Muslim community by Indian Hindu nationalism which led to a controversial citizenship law that excludes Muslim immigrants — issues President Trump has failed to meaningfully address.
While Harris’ stance on Kashmir, a majority-Muslim state suppressed by Hindutva politics, is controversial to conservative Indian American Hindus, for instance, it may be a pull for Muslims and liberal South Asians both in America and beyond — especially those who may feel alienated by Trump’s anti-Muslim oratory.
Can Harris use her background, qualification, values to focus more on issues that are important to Indians and South Asians in America — an important demographic that often feels unnoticed in US politics.
While the vast majority of white Americans are naive about the issues playing out among the Indian diaspora, Harris’ popularity in politics is an opportunity to highlight conversations within the Indian and South Asian community and bring them to the front of American consciousness.
It will be expected her impact will ultimately transcend mere representation of a community, even though such identity representation cannot be denied.
The U.S world really needs to recognise the multicultural heritage and identity and it seemed she will be relied on to help bring out this new normal in America.
Will this eventually be a moment of pride for the Indians or the name ‘’America Mein Khila Kamal’’ just sounding melodically in the ears of supporters. Americans will demand more than that from political officeholders.
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