How do the US presidential elections bother Indians in India? How would Indian-Americans vote in this year’s polls? More importantly perhaps, why would Indian-Americans vote for an “insurgent” campaigner like Donald Trump?
To answer these questions, let us first assess what Trump, the maverick Republican candidate, has to say.
“I think this will be the last election that the Republicans have a chance of winning because you’re going to have people flowing across the border, you’re going to have illegal immigrants coming in and they’re going to be legalized,” he said even as he cautioned that “Already the path is much more difficult for the Republicans. You just have to look at the maps”.True, Trump has been stealing the headlines in the run-up to the polls and mostly for wrong reasons.
During a brief interaction in New Delhi, India-born US Democrat leader Aruna Miller (51), delegate from Maryland, rather unhesitatingly described Trump as an “insurgent” and emphasised that a leader contesting the prized post of US President’s office should conduct himself “responsibly”.
“Donald Trump is a polarising individual. The statements he has been making have only damaged America,” she said in an interview and dismissed the recent surveys that showed Trump slightly ahead of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
“I am not convinced of such surveys,” she said.
On the other hand, she asserted that Hillary Clinton will be a unifying factor and an endorsement of “inclusive politics” of Americans.
“The selection of Hillary Clinton as the presidential candidate is reflective of our Democratic party’s policy and the overall commitment of the United States. We always wanted an inclusive society. But for Trump, I must say, if you are contesting for such a high post, you must show responsibility. You cannot keep making such sweeping statements”.
To a question whether it was proper to call the Presidential candidate from a rival party “an insurgent”, Miller shot back, “he (Trump) is an insurgent…what else you call him”.
She went on: “Our Democratic Party has a system of superdelegates. Republicans do not have this. If they had Superdelegate mechanism, I don’t think their candidate would not have been an insurgent like Donald Trump”.
Hyderabad-born Aruna added: “In our party, the super delegate system allows screening of candidates for US presidential polls. I wish Republican also had one”.
In American politics, a “superdelegate” is considered “unpledged delegate” to the Democratic National Convention who are free to support any candidate for the presidential nomination. This mechanism is, however, not practiced in the Republican party.
Against this backdrop, Aruna said there is already a growing realization now in the United States for reforms in the system of presidential polls and ” after this year’s polls, some actions will be taken on these lines”.
On Hillary Clinton, she said, “Hillary is an inclusive character and she will build bridges and not walls. The US is a nation built on immigrants,” she said and maintained that the media has often been unfair to Hillary and tried to “demonize” her on issues concerning her health and controversy on the email server.
On Indo-US relations, Aruna asserted: “Irrespective of the outcome of the November 8 US presidential elections, both and India and the United States relations will be good and continue to grow”.
Miller also said: “… the United States, India, and all other countries will have to come together to fight terrorism.”
Her views on Indo-US emerging robust relationship was also endorsed by
Republican senator Wayne Harper.
“Regardless of the changes one may see after the (US presidential) elections, the relations between the two countries will continue to grow,” Harper said.
On the issue of terrorism, he pointed out that “It is a matter of concern globally as terror has struck not only the United States but everyone, be it Europe or India or other countries.”
However, he sounded defensive about some of the rhetoric of Trump and sought to look for an escape route to wriggle out himself from the debate.
“ I agree with issues flagged by you, like immigrants, Muslims, and women. Some of these remarks are not party statement; some of his statements concern me definitely,” he said, adding: “Like everyone else, Trump, too, is an individual. Many of his statements came more as an individual and not from the Republican platform. These do not reflect the Republican stand”.
He added “You guys (Indians) are greatly involved in the world affairs. It is a good sign. It is a sign of mature citizenry of the world’s largest democracy.” Harper was on a maiden visit to India.