What is the natural political home of Indian-Americans?

 

One group whose support President Obama can apparently take for granted is Indian-Americans. But why?

As we enter the home stretch of the presidential election, one group whose support President Barack Obama can apparently take for granted is Indian-Americans. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 65 percent of the 2.85 million-strong community self-identifies as Democratic or Democratic-leaning. Fewer than one in five see themselves as Republicans. In 2008, a whopping 84 percent of Indian-Americans voted for Obama, one of the highest proportions of any ethnic group in America.

For those accustomed to viewing politics through the prism of race—with non-white minorities expected to line up robotically behind Democrats—this may not seem surprising. In fact, it's utterly illogical. Interests, values, and history all suggest that the natural political home for Indian-Americans is the GOP. With a little effort and the right arguments, the Romney-Ryan campaign ought to be able to make inroads into a community that, though still relatively small in absolute numbers, represents the fastest-growing segment of America's fast-growing Asian-American population.

To begin with, the Indian-American experience is proof, if any were needed, that America remains a land of opportunity. For all intents and purposes, the community is less than 50 years old—Indians began migrating to the United States in significant numbers only after it opened its doors to non-Europeans in 1965—but it has already carved out space for itself at the heart of American life. Look no further than businesspersons Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo or Vikram Pandit of Citigroup, writers Jhumpa Lahiri or Atul Gawande, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Sabeer Bhatia and Romesh Wadhwani, or comedians Mindy Kaling and Aziz Ansari. In short, contrary to what the Left suggests, America rewards hard work and talent.

Read the full article on The American.

Sadanand Dhume is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Follow him on Twitter at @dhume01. 

 

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About the Author

 

Sadanand
Dhume
  • Sadanand Dhume writes about South Asian political economy, foreign policy, business, and society, with a focus on India and Pakistan. He is also a South Asia columnist for the Wall Street Journal. He has worked as a foreign correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review in India and Indonesia and was a Bernard Schwartz Fellow at the Asia Society in Washington, D.C. His political travelogue about the rise of radical Islam in Indonesia, My Friend the Fanatic: Travels with a Radical Islamist, has been published in four countries.

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