“It's a choice between the lesser of the evils.”

The Indian-American Vote for 2016 Hillary is a proven disaster Trump is a potential disaster
Blog Blog Sunday, October 09, 2016 - 08:43

“I don't see a real choice this time. I don't think I'm going to vote,” says Tanuja, an India-born American citizen who has lived in the United States for two decades. She voted for President Obama in the last election.

For Tanuja, and many others like her, the state of play has left citizens with a zero-sum vote, one where the two principal options compete for being unelectable instead of the other way around.

“It's a choice between the lesser of the evils,” says Gayatri, who also lives in the Washington area.

For thousands of new US citizens, the toss-up between Hillary and Trump will be their first ever vote. But while a sensational election campaign season has ensured the presence of passionate followers for both candidates within the Indian community, it is plausible that there are several who are all set to exercise their first ever US franchise by voting for neither of the two.

The negativity of the campaign, the personal fight between the candidates has upset Indian American citizens. This kind of mudslinging and personal attacks between candidates is not the usual sight in the American landscape.

Used as we are to highly-decibel campaigns in India, the visceral nature of the American political season this time wouldn't normally surprise us, but it has caught many in the States off guard. Several Indians I spoke to say that the binary choice presents a bleak future over the next four years, with little or no potential redemption from either candidate.

To many in the US, the usually distant view of politicians capitalising on fear, anger and distrust to bring themselves to power, is more real and palpable than ever. US politicians have done so with historic ruthlessness in the past, but never has the mongering of fear of the outsider been more in-your-face.

Many Indian Americans this correspondent spoke to said they were 'very afraid' of Trump in power because they believe his unapologetic bigotry won't be kept out of decisions. They therefore support Hillary by default, and not because they actively admire her. Many who don't really stay in tune with the unfolding campaign atmosphere feel Hillary is the only real choice simply because, well, she's a Clinton. Democrat Indians believe Hillary has alienated ardent supporters with an intensifying cloak of corruption and scandal. 

“Hillary is only posturing, I know nothing will happen if she comes to power, there are checks and balances and nothing meaningful will happen,” says Manish, who works in Virginia.

A large number of Indian-born supporters of Trump believe he dovetails well with the new political leadership in India, and that a Trump-Modi partnership across issues, including Islamic fundamentalism, terrorism and security would work very well. “Trump and Modi are both doers. They would be compatible. There may be a personality clash, but they have firm views on world issues. This can be good for India too,” says Shree, a financial analyst in New York City.

Indian American Jyoti, who works in Chicago, puts it succinctly. "Trump is a potential disaster. Hillary is a proven disaster," she says.


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