Why Republicans Can't Harness Indian-American Patel Power

Mitt Romney might not have baptized any dead people lately, but 10,000 miles away in India a Hindu priest recently concluded a yajna on his behalf. A yajna is a nine-day prayer ceremony that, in this case, involved 16 local participants who poured 16 kgs of pure ghee on a sacred bonfire while chanting Sanskrit mantras and offering 100 kgs of barley to the Tantaric deity Bagula Mukhi.

Kannubhai Patel, an Indian émigré, who moved to the United States 20 years ago and quickly acquired (guess what?) a chain of motels, paid for the entire event because he is a die-hard Republican and wanted to do something to help swing the polls in poor Mitt’s direction. So he called his friend and priest in his native village and instructed him to conduct the yajna to enlist Goddess Mukhi on Mitt’s side. When queried about the neck-and-neck results after the latest debate between Obama and Romney, the priest confidently predicted: “There is still time. The result will be favorable.”

But Patel is clearly an outlier in the 2.85-million strong Indian community, 84% of whose members voted for Barack Obama in 2008 -- second only to the 95% support that Obama drew among blacks. Even without Obama’s star power, 65% of Indians generally vote Democratic.

At first blush, this is surprising given that neither class interest nor social values would make Indians, the richest and the most educated minority in America, a natural Democratic constituency. As AEI scholar Sadanand Dhume -- an India native -- has pointed out:

In 2010, median household income for Indian-Americans was $88,000, compared to the national average of $49,800. Seven in ten Indian-Americans have a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to three in ten in the general population. Only 9 percent live in poverty, compared to the national average of 12.8 percent. And even if you step away from the doctors and software geeks, the archetypal Indian-American figure is a striver: A motel owner in Florida, a newsstand worker in New York, or a taxi driver in California. To put it bluntly, this is not the natural constituency for the party of food stamps, affirmative action, and welfare without work…

What about social values? The Pew survey finds that a minuscule 2.3 percent of Indian-American children are born to unmarried mothers—compared to 37 percent of children nationwide. More than nine out of ten Indian-American children live with married parents, compared with the national average of about six in ten. If the GOP is the party of the nuclear family—a Pew survey finds that 88 percent of Republicans say they have "old-fashioned values" about family and marriage, compared with just 60 percent of Democrats—then should it not also be the party of Indian-Americans?

So what gives?

Dhume’s own explanation is that Indians have bought into the “toxic culture of victimhood” and the “gaudy identity politics” of the Democratic Party in contrast to the GOP's quieter acceptance of all as Americans as evidenced by its elevation of Indians like Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal to the gubernatorial mansions -- in two southern states no less.

There is a grain of truth in that. Indians are no more immune to fashionable causes and cutting-edge ideologies than any other minority. There is something glamorous about associating with the party of the underdog. Being a Republican, by contrast, just ain’t that cool.

But that grain is embedded in far bigger -- and more understandable -- problems that Indians have with the Grand Old Party.

One: Having grown up in a country where the memory of British colonialism and its apartheid ways is still very much alive, they are exceedingly -- even overly -- sensitive to discrimination. They see America as a fair and just country -- much more so than England and far more than their own country with its myriad, soul-sapping hierarchies. (This is why, when America liberalized its immigration policies in 1965 and opened the door to Indians, they overwhelmingly started choosing it over England or Australia or any other destination, although that is changing now). But they also feel that just as it takes constant effort to keep tyranny at bay, it also takes constant effort to keep in check the natural urge of the dominant group to put in place a system of privileges that benefit its own. Without an explicit -- even exaggerated -- commitment to fairness and equality, it is difficult to vanquish this tendency and, as far as they are concerned, the only party that has shown any desire to make this commitment is the Democratic Party -- if only in name. (I suspect this is also the reason why other minorities lean Democratic.)

Two: Indians, in many ways, assimilate easily. A very large percentage of them speak English and their intermarriage rate is quite high compared to Hispanics and other groups. And they celebrate Christmas with as much gaudy gusto -- complete with a tree, stockings and tandoori turkey -- as the most ardent believer. But the vast majority of Indians are Hindus and their attachment to their religion runs deep regardless of whether they are rich or poor, working class or professionals. It’s the one thing from their home culture that they cling to tenaciously.

However, Hinduism with its exotic practices, belief in reincarnation and quasi-polytheism has very little in common with Christianity. Even Islam accepts monotheism, the Bible and Christ. Hinduism, by contrast, has a completely different holy book, its own pantheon of Gods and its own (equally bizarre) theory of creation. Hindus don’t regard Christianity as wrong or an enemy. They just see it as one among many legitimate options and Jesus as one among many incarnations of God. There isn’t a clash of civilizations between Hinduism and Christianity -- there is a clash of spiritual postures.

Hence, when the Republican Party loudly touts its allegiance to “Christian values” and insists that Christianity is inextricably interwoven into the DNA of this country, it doesn’t anger Indians, it nonplusses them. It effectively signals to them that they don’t fully belong in America or their party. And the sight of Haley and Jindal on the Republican convention stage, both of whom rejected their faith and embraced Christianity, doesn’t reassure Indians -- it creeps them out! (Incidentally, there is no such thing as apostasy in Hinduism.)

Due to both the pluralistic ethos of their own religion and their standing as a religious minority, Indians are inevitably more at home in a party that emphasizes pluralism and tolerance and whose relatively more cosmopolitan sensibility is less prone to regard them as weird. (One big reason they were so attracted to Obama was his cosmopolitan background.) By contrast, conservatives simply don’t have a high visceral comfort level with brown people who sport red marks on their foreheads and pray to multi-headed Gods. Countless times I have watched as they strive mightily to keep a polite poker face when I’ve responded to their query about my faith by saying that I was born in a Hindu family.

Indians don’t seek to challenge Christianity or box it into a small private space. They are used to cacophonous public displays of religion in their own country such as the Hindu jagran or prayer session blared all-night-long through loud speakers or the muezzin’s call to prayer to devout Muslims at ungodly hours in the morning. Hence, the Ten Commandments carved into court walls or the invocation of God in the pledge of allegiance or the offering of grace before public feasts is par for the course for them -- so long as it is done in a spirit of self-expression and not proselytizing. They are perfectly happy to go along with Christian festivals -- even participate in them without expecting any quid pro quo. All they want is to be left alone to practice their faith without being made to feel defensive or strange.

This shouldn’t be beyond the capacity of a party with a strong belief in limited government and the strict separation of state and religion to offer. But somehow that message is lost in the in-your-face Christianity that the modern-day Republican Party constantly feels the need to project -- partly no doubt because it feels besieged by the growing multiplicity of faiths around it. This prevents conservatives from having a genuine encounter with Indians and build understanding.

However, such bridges are essential in a globalized world and when Republicans start building -- instead of burning -- them, they will have a better shot at fully marshaling the Patel power that is waiting out there to be tapped. Until then, they’ll have to settle for the occasional prayer extravaganza in distant Hindu temples hosted by maverick émigrés.

Sing Jai Ho, Mitt.

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  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Due to both the pluralistic ethos of their own religion and their standing as a religious minority, Indians are inevitably more at home in a party that emphasizes pluralism and tolerance and whose relatively more cosmopolitan sensibility is less prone to regard them as weird.

    How does that explain Hindutva and the BJP?

  • Shikha Dalmia||

    Talking about Indians in America, Heroic Mulatto, who are largely free of fanatical craziness back home -- itself of recent vintage and inconsistent with the religion.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Fair enough. The same parallels can be drawn between American Jews and Israeli Jews as well.

  • R C Dean||

    Indians are inevitably more at home in a party that emphasizes pluralism and tolerance

    Doesn't explain why they trend Dem.

  • ||

    It does if you expect them to be as susceptible to the public image of the two parties as anyone else.

  • Victor_47||

    What about Hinduvta and BJP?

    The Hindu right wing movements emerged about a century ago, primarily as reactionary organization to the activities of the Islamist organizations.

    What they desire is a reciprocation of the tolerance and plurality of the Indic-Dharmic culture.

    Unfortunately the Islamist and in the recent past, the Evangelicals do not believe in that.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's not like India itself isn't socialistic in many ways, so I'm not sure this is that surprising.

    Sure do enjoy Indian food.

  • ||

    Yeah, but lots of the best and brightest still come here to get away from the high taxes and crushing bureaucracy in India. That $88k median income has a lot to do with high-earning H1B's coming here, in my experience, very interested and eager to take advantage of the relatively greater economic freedom in the US.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Sure, but they still are steeped in the hot tea of socialism. It's insidious.

  • ||

    I don't know. I think kinnath is onto something. Without generalizing too broadly, I would think smart, hardworking immigrants from places even shittier than here would make excellent libertarians.

  • BakedPenguin||

    This is one thing that has bugged me about the LP. That they don't have any outreach to ambitious, entrepreneurial immigrants is baffling to me.

  • Killazontherun||

    When the Republicrats do outreach it is with other people's money, so they are at a distinct disadvantage.

  • Enough About Palin||

    What the LP needs is an agressive stakeholder outreach plan, the stakeholders being everyone who loves Liberty.

  • Enough About Palin||

    GIVE ME A G!.

  • Mickey Rat||

    It is rather difficult to maintain principles of liberty and pander to people based on their group identity at the same time.

  • Brett L||

    Maybe. My sample of Indians is limited to programmers and engineers, but while all of them like to go back and visit, none of them want to raise their kids as anything but Americans, nor ever move home. Including my friend who is building a house in Southern India to keep his parents off his back. No, really, he says its so cheap and the whole thing is so corrupt that for $35000 he can avoid discussing with his parents when he's moving home with his 2 young daughters for 3-5 years (which is how long it takes to build a western style house in India managing it from the US). At which time he'll give his parents the house and tell them he's not coming home.

  • ||

    none of them want to raise their kids as anything but Americans, nor ever move home.

    This is pretty common among immigrants in general. My mom knew an Indian couple and a Philipino couple that expressed that exact same attitude. It just wasn't as nice back home as it was here. The Philipino couple said it was beautiful where they grew up, but they couldn't even get hot water.

  • PapayaSF||

    Seriously? Hot-water heaters are scarce in the Philippines?

  • ||

    Well, RUNNING hot-water. There's nothing like a warm shower.

  • JeremyR||

    That's not really true though.

    Mexicans pretty much raise their kids to be Mexicans, Arabs to be Arabs.

    Some cultures assimilate, some do not. We should encourage immigration from places where they do, as opposed to ones they don't.

  • ||

    That seems to go against the immigrants I know from those places. And it's no one's responsibility, let alone authority, to decide which countries people are allowed to emigrate from.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Sure, but they still are steeped in the hot tea of socialism. It's insidious.

    Yep, and the same thing is true of Mexican immigrants to the US.

    Most people aren't smart enough to connect their homeland being fucked up with that country's for the people policies.

  • ||

    poured 16 kgs of pure ghee on a sacred bonfire

    Most buttery, delicious sacred bonfire ever.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    I almost cried reading that...so much yummy goodness, burned!

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, first thought was save that ghee and boil up some lobsters.

  • ||

    Or cook a steak, or pork chops, or scramble some eggs, or, or, or. Mmm... delicious animal fats.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Now I'm hungry. Always go out on halloween night to avoid the trick or treaters. Was planning on pizza but lobster or steak sounds pretty good. Or maybe rack of lamb. The Outback near us has really good rack of lamb. Love their kookaburra wings too.

  • Jgalt1975||

    Cooking two out of those three things would not make you very popular at a Hindu religious festival....

  • amelia||

    And expensive. Though presumably they don't pay Whole Foods prices for their ghee in India.

  • kinnath||

    Perhaps we should introduce them libertarianism ;-)

  • ||

    I'm working on that.

  • Chris Mallory||

    Aliens from a 3rd world culture who belong in India, not America.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Please leave, you douchebag.

  • ant1sthenes||

    I would tell him to DIAF, but in a topic about Indians, it might come across as subtle racism.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    It is surprising that Indians are not more attracted to the GOP. Of the few Indians I am on a first-name basis with, one is a multi-multi-millionaire, and the others are striving to be the same. They are excellent capitalists. Does the GOP alienate these folks because of ethnic and religious differences? If so, what do the Dems have to offer that is more attractive?

  • Jgalt1975||

    Does the GOP alienate these folks because of ethnic and religious differences? If so, what do the Dems have to offer that is more attractive?

    If you can't see how a non-Christian might find the Democratic Party marginally more appealing than the Republican Party, you need to pay attention more. Romney isn't saying much about religion this year (for obvious reasons), but several Republican primary candidates expressly claimed that God told them to run for office and the only reason one of them didn't end up as the final candidate was because they split the vote.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    True. But it seems the Dems have become the party of "free abortions and tax the rich". Neither of which should be appealing to Indians.

    As stated upthread, it's a shame the LP does not reach out to ambitious immigrants. Maybe voting for Gary Johnson this cycle will make the LP seem more legit, less fringe-y going forward, thus more appealing to this demographic.

  • Adam||

    Agree with the shame of lacking any type of outreach to immigrants. However, as the article (as I read it) stated, Indians are coming from a much more relativistic and non-judgemental society.

    Although Muslim immigrants were mentioned, I'd elaborate on the contrast, as I currently live in a Muslim country and know dozens of Muslim immigrants in the States. Unlike Indians/Hindus they are coming from a society (with the (sort of) exception of parts of Lebanon) that believes relativism is a source of many of the world's major problems. Signs of the rigidity of it's beliefs are everywhere, and it doesn't take long to discover that anything else is an anathema to most of them.

    For evidence of this, notice that a majority of Muslim immigrants (especially from Arabic speaking countries) voted for Bush in 2000. They are very fond of prohibition against abortion, and see no problem with the drug war (and would most likely favor a return of alcohol prohibition). Of course everything has changed since then, but the contrast is still a valid one and, seems to me, supports the position taken in the article.

  • newyor||

    You can't be more wrong about abortion and tax. Abortion is for most people a personal decision and nothing to do with state. The moment state tries to enforce oneway or another, they will revolt. Regarding tax, the rich pay a lower tax rate(even Mitt Romney) than poor. I pay higher rate than Mitt Romney even though he makes thousand times more than me. For indians religion and abortion are personal choice and state has nothing to do with it.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "commitment to fairness"

    The perception of "fair" is really what it boils down to for the left isn;t it. That's really their moral guide when it comes to politics. This ridiculas concept of fairness of outcomes. Versus the the more protestant work ethic morality of the right.

  • Jgalt1975||

    I strongly suspect that the revival tent freak show that the Republican Party has turned into also has played a major role in driving East Asians towards the Democrats (even Vietnamese-American voters are increasingly voting Democratic -- http://www.frumforum.com/gop-l.....an-voters/ ). (And this to say nothing of the obvious effect on Jewish and Muslim voters.)

  • Anonymous Coward||

    The above was typed without even a hint of irony as pertains to TEAM Blue's present jug-eared messianic figure and the personality cult surrounding him.

  • Jgalt1975||

    Seriously? Fucking seriously, that's your response? As the article itself points out, there are a number of factors about Indians (and which also apply to most East Asian ethnic groups) that suggest they should lean Republican. Voting data shows these ethnic groups in fact lean Democrat and have been becoming even more Democrat-leaning over recent years. Do you have another explanation for why it is that Indians and East Asians both increasingly vote Democratic?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Seriously? I have no good reason to take a TEAM Blue hack seriously, or their self-congratulatory affirmations.

    Voting data shows these ethnic groups in fact lean Democrat and have been becoming even more Democrat-leaning over recent years. Do you have another explanation for why it is that Indians and East Asians both increasingly vote Democratic?

    Kind of hard to have "ANOTHER" explanation when neither you (nor your frumcum article) draw a conclusion in the first place, chuckle-nuts.

  • Brett L||

    Would you say that the same trend is driving white catholics one way or the other?

  • Mo||

    I would also say the strong anti-immigrant strain among Republicans is part of it as well.

  • SIV||

    even Vietnamese-American voters are increasingly voting Democratic

    Must be all the anti-Catholic bigotry they experience in America.

  • ||

    Nah, it's that the parents fled the Communist takeover of South Vietnam, and generally hate Democrats for being socialist-leaning. But their kids don't have those memories of Communist oppression seared into them.

    It's other things, too. My GF is part-Vietnamese, with parents who fled Saigon, but also atheist and hipster-ish and sexually open, and the Theocrat party is thus not a good fit for her.

  • Russell||

    If Mitt posthumously baptises Bagula Mukhi, does Governor Jinda get to exorcise Ryan?

  • Mike M.||

    I hear that on January 20th, President Rick Santorum is going to carry out his secret plan to forcibly convert all Hindus to Baptists!

    Oh wait, Rick Santorum isn't going to be the president? The republicans nominated Romney, that member of a religion many diehard fundamentalists consider to be a non-Christian cult? A guy who is rather moderate, not much of an in-your-face type, and almost never talks about religion at all?

    Hmmmmmm. Sounds like someone might be clinging onto a caricature of republicans that isn't quite as true as she wants to believe.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Sounds like someone might be clinging onto a caricature of republicans that isn't quite as true as she wants to believe.

    She didn't say that's how Republicans are, but that's how many Indians perceive them to be.

    Read harder.

  • Calidissident||

    It's Mike M, what do you expect?

  • Mike M.||

    That's bull, and you know it. These grafs speak for themselves, and the qualifier you tried to put in isn't there at all:

    "Hence, when the Republican Party loudly touts its allegiance to “Christian values” and insists that Christianity is inextricably interwoven into the DNA of this country, it doesn’t anger Indians, it nonplusses them. It effectively signals to them that they don’t fully belong in America or their party.

    Due to both the pluralistic ethos of their own religion and their standing as a religious minority, Indians are inevitably more at home in a party that emphasizes pluralism and tolerance and whose relatively more cosmopolitan sensibility is less prone to regard them as weird. (One big reason they were so attracted to Obama was his cosmopolitan background.) By contrast, conservatives simply don’t have a high visceral comfort level with brown people who sport red marks on their foreheads and pray to multi-headed Gods."

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Hence, when the Republican Party loudly touts its allegiance to “Christian values” and insists that Christianity is inextricably interwoven into the DNA of this country, it doesn’t anger Indians, it nonplusses them. It effectively signals to them that they don’t fully belong in America or their party.

    Do you disagree that a vocal minority in the Republican Party do in fact say this? I suspect you don't as you brought up the example of Santorum. And wouldn't this vocal minority influence perceptions of said party, even though, as you rightly point out, Romney, who doesn't wear his religion on his sleeve, is the nominee?

  • Calidissident||

    Santorum was the runner up, so it's not like he's a fringe nutjob within the GOP

  • Mike M.||

    Are some republicans hopeless, unrepentant bigots? No doubt about it; it would be stupid to claim otherwise. But trying to claim that these people represent the entire republican party seems about as fair to me as trying to claim that Jeremiah Wright represents the democrats.

  • amelia||

    Romney may have a weird religion but his self-presentation is as white bread as can be. Republicans such as my born again, Southern Baptist relatives are keeping pretty quiet about him in semi-public forums such as Facebook. I think it's fortunate that the party leadership recognized Romney as the more palatable candidate compared to Santorum but at this point they're probably willing to tolerate any candidate who will keep the defense budget astronomically large and who won't give in on gay marriage. There is a huge swath of Republicans out there that Romney does not accurately represent. An Indian immigrant who mixes with these folks would have to deracinate himself with regard to appearance and not speak of his religion to avoid evoking the visceral discomfort that Dalmia described - a discomfort which can be repellent to both parties.

  • Adam||

    I agree, it's not as much that the party itself has changed, or is more moderate than we think, etc...but, in my view your relatives are quite typical; they're seeing a chance to get Obama out, and Romney is their best bet. And, he's from a religion that loves "family values". These folks are loud and, regardless of their numbers, are the ones that many people hear.

  • amelia||

    Yeah, I think my relatives are pretty typical. Some of them are probably far enough gone to suspect Obama might be the anti-Christ. An Indian governor (I'm from South Carolina) would be just fine with them - if there is one good thing to say about evangelical Christianity, it's not an exclusive religion. There is no language to learn and no complicated doctrines to comprehend. One must only accept Jesus Christ as one's personal Lord and savior. These people want Obama OUT. And given that the military is a major supplier of jobs and bennies for their kids and grandkids, the permanent War on Terror (Islam) is important as well.

    On that note, I have a distant cousin in high school who asked on FB, prior to the presidential debates, what's the one question you would ask the candidates if you could? A friend of his, also in high school, said his question would be "would you make cuts to the military budget?" The reason he gave was that he plans to join the Army and he wants a president who will ensure that, in the event of his death, his "future wife and kids" will be taken care of. I was dumbfounded. I cannot imagine how someone in high school could think in those terms. That kid is ready to offer up his life to the warfare-welfare state and wants to ensure that the state will support his hypothetical wife and kids! My cousin's response to him was "that is a very well thought-out question." WFT??

  • Russell||

    Very sorry am misspelling name of governor jindal Ji

  • Adam||

    As in "I am misspelling" (oh the irony there), in the present continuous tense? If so, then stop!

  • Calidissident||

    "A very large percentage of them speak English and their intermarriage rate is quite high compared to Hispanics and other groups."

    Anyone have stats on the latter claim? In my own experience (growing up in California and going to one of the most diverse colleges in the country), I've found Indians, generally speaking, are less likely to date outside their race, or at the very least, have more pressure from their parents to date inside the race, than other minority groups. On the other hand, there are also far fewer other Indians in the country for them to marry, compared to other minority groups with larger populations.

  • ||

    I thinnk the intermarriage rate is quite different for Indian-born Americans and natural born Indian-Americans. At least in my personal experience it is drastically, drastically different.

  • Calidissident||

    I believe that's true for all immigrant groups though.

  • B.P.||

    I want to hear more about this tandoori turkey.

  • Killazontherun||

    Republicans are highly unpopular outside of the United States as well as with recently arrived minorities here. Hard to explain given in terms of native parties those in other parts of the world are more hardcore anti-immigrant than the typical GOP pol. You have the hypocrisy of Mexican politicians who advocate shooting Guatemalans in the face who disparage immigration policy in Arizona.

    So what's the deal? Bad press. GOP gets the worst wrap. People tend to believe what they hear until their experience tells them otherwise. Last night, Conan O'Brien had a joke, 'The editor-in-chief of Scientific America said Sandy was the result of global warming. Fox News blamed it on two guys kissing in Central Park.' Popular in Europe and South America, that went out to people who don't have the experience to process it as the hyperbole it was intended.

  • newyor||

    Republicans are warmongers, have killed millions of general public in Gulf/Vietnam/South America. I don't see any indian supporting warmongering and fasist mentality of republicans.

  • ||

    You would think that having nominated a member of the wierdest cult to emerge from North America, might make Indians share some wierd-religious-belief sympathy with Romney. Although Mormonism is technically Christian, they can both commiserate over being "otherized" by mainstream Christianity. Mormonism probably incorporates a few strands of Hinduism even, what with all the Masonic temple rituals and Occultism that's rolled up in there.

  • ||

    Shit, and I even forgot to mention the polygamy.

  • Killazontherun||

    The democratic governor of Montana brought up the fact Romney's grandfather was born in a polygamist household as a point to disparage him. That is quite a plank in the eye considering who he is supporting.

  • ||

    Wait, f'n what?

  • Virginian||

    Well, I've heard that both Mitt and Obama's grandfathers were polygamists. Kind of interesting.

  • Robert||

    Not as interesting as if they turned out to have been married to each other.

  • 16th amendment||

    My people have been brainwashed into voting democrat. I ask my dad, who grew up dirt poor and is now rich, without government handouts, why he wants the party of handouts. Ironically I was for gay marriage way before he was, and he's finally changed his mind on it.

    It's the free market system that made the US great, and Obama wants to take spending to 25% of GDP. Trust me, once Obamacare kicks in, the CBO will revise its numbers: The cost will be twice as the projected $1T over 10 years just like it was was Medicare part D, the California high speed rail, etc; and the taxes will be 60% of what was advertised, and we already know that the 10% tanning tax was supposed to raise $200M a year but actually raised less than half of that. The other taxes will reduce economic output, maybe even start a recession, and the tax collected will be less than the $1T advertised over 10 years.

    Then I ask, if socialism is so good, why did you not emigrate to Cuba? Why can't other people just tough it out and get rich like you did?

  • Paul.||

    There is a grain of truth in that. Indians are no more immune to fashionable causes and cutting-edge ideologies than any other minority. There is something glamorous about associating with the party of the underdog. Being a Republican, by contrast, just ain’t that cool.

    I'm still confused, who's currently the underdog party? And what are my choices?

  • 16th amendment||

    There's a difference between "underdog party", which would be the Libertarian, Peace & Freedom, or maybe even the Republican party considering the place where I live (the Bay Area). As opposed to the [overdog] party of underdog people, which would be the Democrats, Peace & Freedom.

    Seriously, Indians should be voting for the underdog party of underdog people, which would be Peace & Freedom.

  • Brandybuck||

    According to a local Indian Republican, it's because recent immigrants think that America is a Democracy therefore they need to register Democrat.

  • Pro Libertate||

    This is the kind of thing that really happens, but we just can't believe it.

  • John-David||

    "it doesn’t anger Indians, it nonplusses them."

    And once again, a word that used to mean one thing but now means another is used in a context where I can barely tell what is being expressed. This usage nonplusses me.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Without an explicit -- even exaggerated -- commitment to fairness and equality, it is difficult to vanquish this tendency and, as far as they are concerned, the only party that has shown any desire to make this commitment is the Democratic Party -- if only in name."

    Except the Democrats do not do that even in name, they rabidly support affirmative action policies which look for equality of result, not equality of treatment. In fact, those policies probably work much to the disfavor of Indian citizens. I am not sure what the GOP can do to win over people who cannot read past the blurbs on the dust jacket and od not explore what the parties are actually stand for.

  • ||

    Except that they CLAIM affirmative action is about fairness and equality - hence "in name".

  • Sucharit||

    Dear Shikha,

    It would be good if you admitted your ignorance about Hinduism before you wrote this article. Growing up in a Hindu family and environment I don't actually identify with Hinduism in particular and religions in general, due to their propagation of dogmatic ideology.

    But when you say, "Hinduism, by contrast, has a completely different holy book, its own pantheon of Gods and its own (equally bizarre) theory of creation," that is blatantly wrong and ignorant on your part. Are you referring to Bhagawad Gita? Krishna makes it pretty clear of his stature of the one and only lord of the universe by showing his multifarious form, being the One at all stages of existence of life from birth to death and as the source of the universe.

    Anyways, you don't have to believe all that stuff, but the point is that all theistic philosophies that give rise to the modern day term "Hinduism" are ground in Advaita or Dvaita which imply that, either all is God including the universe and us or there is one God and we are separate entities from Him. In that sense actually, Islam and Christianity are more similar to Dvaita, while Buddhism, Sufism and mystical Christianity are similar to Advaita. And when it comes to the theory of creation, the spiritual philosophy behind Hinduism of the evolution of consciousness actually comes closest to modern day scientific theories of evolution.

    In the future please do more research before you try to spread ignorance.

    Regards

  • 4thaugust1932||

    USA work/student visa and outsourced IT/BPO projects must be pegged to Human rights/Caste system in CHINDIA.
    http://www.rediff.com/business.....110504.htm
    http://news.rediff.com/report/.....-abuse.htm

  • KevinP||

    Late comment, but I noticed this claim:


    But Patel is clearly an outlier in the 2.85-million strong Indian community, 84% of whose members voted for Barack Obama in 2008

    Can we have a citation, please?

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