Ethnic Indian-Americans are among the largest segments of that group. As the 2008 U.S. Presidential campaign heats up, Indian Americans are becoming more involvedAt the beginning of the 20th century, only about four thousand Indian immigrants lived in the United States. But in the last few decades, hundreds of thousands of Indian citizens have immigrated to the United States. U.S. residents of Indiandescent now number more than 2.5 million out of a total U.S. population of approximately 300 million.
Indian Americans are among the most highly educated among America’s ethnic groups. They have been successful in business, medicine, and in dozens of other fields. One recent survey found that one-third of the engineers in California’s (high-tech region known as) Silicon Valley is of Indian decent. Now, more and more Indian Americans are engaged and involved in U.S. political process, too.
Bobby Jindal made history last year by becoming the first Indian American Governor, winning nearly 90-percent of the vote in the state of Louisiana. Several Indian Americans are members of state assemblies in Maryland, New Jersey, Iowa and Minnesota.
According to a recent study, 60 % of Indian Americans are registered Democrats and this well-educated, affluent immigrant group largely voted Democratic Party in the last Presidential Election. Kumar Narayan is an active member of the Indian-Americans for Obama Campaign in Seattle, Washington. He says Indian American voters see themselves more closely aligned with Democrats on a range of economic, cultural and international issues, and that they see Barack Obama best choice to re-establish the nation’s standing in the world.
Note: (Originally a 19th century political defining US certainty to expand across the North American continent, today “Manifest Destiny” defines the belief that it America’s mission to promote democracy throughout the world).
He says it’s the Republican Party that can assure economic growth, and that Senator John McClain has solid ideas to deal with the economic crisis. “Democratic Party is known usually to raise the taxes, and the Republican Party is against the taxes and is also very sensible on the expenditure side,” says Mr. Agrawal. “Less government and less taxes do provide a growth in the economy. We Indians are more business-oriented people. That is why philosophically it suits us much more to be on the Republican side.”
But Kumar Narayanan says Indian Americans, like other minorities, feel more comfortable under the umbrella of the Democratic Party and see Senator Obama as someone who represents their interests. “I think for Indians and especially immigrants, coming into this country, you sense that the Democratic Party has always portrayed an image of being more tolerant of diverse views, supporting the cause of immigrants, making sure that immigrants get the same rights. Whether it is the legal system or health-care system, they get the same rights and privileges as citizens of this country.”
Republican, Democrat or Independent, Indian Americans in all walks of life say they have faith in an American system that affords the opportunity to succeed to people of all backgrounds. The achievement of someone like Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal symbolizes that potential. In a VOA interview following his election victory, he paid tribute to the country that gave him that opportunity.
With education and income levels topping those of all ethnic groups in the United States, Indian-Americans have certainly done well in their adopted land. And one manifestation of their further integration into the American society is the increasing role they have in the American political system.