With congressional and statewide elections around the corner in the United States, a record number of Americans of Indian origin hope to win the public’s vote.
At least eight Indian-Americans plan on campaigning for office. While their ethnic background is certainly not at the forefront of the candidates’ political efforts, some have been more transparent about it than others. Republican Nikki Haley, widely considered the favorite to win South Carolina’s race for governor, has received some scrutiny for, among other things, converting her religion, marrying a white man, and changing her name.
Haley is perhaps the most visible example of a politician veiling her Indian heritage out of all the candidates. A common trait among this wave of cross-cultural politicians is a desire to bring in new ideas and new blood, literally.
Raj Goyle, a Democrat vying for his party’s congressional nomination in Wichita, Kansas sums it up matter-of-factly, “I am who I am, I’m proud of my background and what I’ve accomplished and my family. Kansas voters absolutely will choose the best candidate based on the merits.” Goyle worships at a Hindu temple, but clearly he is not concerned about his practice’s effect on his political status.
If there is only one thing Goyle can agree on with Pennsylvania’s Manan Trivedi, Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal and Ravi Sangisetty, California’s Ami Bera, New York’s Reshman Saujani, and Ohio’s Surya Yalamanchili, it is probably that.
In a world that gets smaller with technological development, America has become an example of how many religions and races can harmoniously unite under the same flag. Nikki Haley is not so much a woman of Indian heritage hoping to lead a primarily white state in South Carolina as much she is simply one American leading another group of Americans. The faster
America can demonstrate this to the world, the faster global commerce can accelerate.