Indians in the US react to the great American poll circus
The eccentric billionaire and US President hopeful Donald Trump sweeping the New York primaries on Wednesday raised visions of an outright win in the Republican nomination after his thumping victory. With an Indian origin population of roughly 3.1 million (2013) and a student population of 1.32 lakh in the US, it has been a missed bag for Trump, from Indians based in the US.
The 'Hindus for Trump' picture on social media
She is an engineer from Mumbai and is working in Columbus, Indiana "If and when Trump becomes president would be the day America stops being a 'great nation'. Trump is a hate-filled bitter leader and history has shown us that no country can function peacefully under such a leadership," said the 24-year-old.
Kondapalli, who has been working in the US since 2014, said every time Trump makes a misogynist or racist statement, its repercussions on her daily life are subtle, but certain. "When Trump spoke, against the H-1B visa, there was a growing insecurity among all my Indian friends and colleagues. I know a person who was abused and called a 'third world visa fraudster' by a group of Trump supporters in her office," she added.
Mohit, an MBA graduate working in Denver who uses only his first name, while echoing Kondapalli's sentiments, said Trump's speeches during campaigns and debates provide comic relief to him and his friends.
"It's hilarious to see him spew such nonsense and it provides us fodder to joke about. His hatred towards immigrants is frightening. It does make me feel insecure at times, but then isn't every country like that in some way? Look at the anti 'outsiders' standby right wings parties in India, or the extreme views of the Left in India. Politics is the same everywhere," he said.
When it comes to politicians, cynicism is the common thread. Vivek Patel, from Mumbai, who works for a software company in Chicago, said he keeps his distance from the elections. "Trump or Hillary Clinton, will not make life easier," he said. Patel though refused to make any clear statement saying only, "I don't want to get into trouble by the pro or anti-Trump brigade. I've only recently started work," he said warily. This does show that there are people who are pro and against Trump, who evokes strong reactions.
Patel may be wary of speaking out, but it is not all anti-Trump by Indian Americans. Pages on social media called, 'Hindus for Trump' and 'Indian-Americans for Trump' are also popular.
Anand Ahuja, founder of political action committee 'Indian-Americans for Trump 2016', has been quoted in several US newspapers saying that he supports Trump, for wanting to stop immigrants from entering the country illegally. The page has an image of Trump sitting on a lotus flower, with American flag colours, which has been morphed and proudly displayed it as the group's official picture.
The 24-year-old boy from Ahmedabad who recently completed his Masters in Engineering from Georgia Tech University, said, "Trump's anger is directed towards illegal immigration and the money going out of the country through that, which is fair." Trivedi said if he could, he would vote for Bernie Sanders. "Though I am all for young blood, he (Sanders) is one of the few politicians who talks more about the issues at hand than getting drawn into irrelevant arguments. One needs guts to speak in a conservative college being a Democrat," he said, referring to Sanders' speech at Liberty College.
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign yesterday slammed Republican frontrunner Donald Trump for mocking an Indian call centre worker during an election rally, saying it shows disrespect towards the community and is reflective of his “dangerous” divisive rhetoric. “Donald Trump mocking Indian workers is just typical of his disrespect that he has shown to groups across the spectrum,” said John Podesta, chairman of the Clinton Campaign.
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