Indian American politicians are starting to make an impact at the highest level of government, and organizations are building up in support.
Salas went to an Indian American Impact Fund event in Washington, DC that was billed as the largest collection of Indian American electeds and candidates in the history of America. Around 90 politicians were present, and the total audience was close to 200. All 5 Indian American US Congress people (Kamala Harris, Pramila Jayapal, Ami Bera, Ro Khanna, and Raja Krishnamoorthi) had featured speeches, as did “honorary desi” Cory Booker.
Salas and Ragz used the occasion to recap their own history and involvement in South Asian American organizations since college.
Ragz and Salas discuss Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s trip to India. While it was covered mostly from a humorous perspective in the US, it had some serious geopolitical repercussions. Trudeau’s invite of a Sikh separatist with a violent past to a state dinner made him persona non grata for much of his time in India. This was particularly difficult for the presiding Hindu nationalist party (BJP) to look past. We break down the situation and speculate on the cause of Trudeau’s cluelessness.
But first Ragz and Salas talk about FCC Chairman Ajit Pai : his background, how he sees current position, and debate his recent actions rolling back net neutrality.
Hosted by Raghav (@brwnchnl on youtube) and Salas (@salasks on twitter)
Salas and Raghav discuss a couple of South Asian American leaders and their role in the immigration debate (esp H1-Bs and “chain migration”): progressive Congressman Ro Khanna (yay!) and conservative White House spokesman Raj Shah (boo!).
Because of Salas’s liberal stance and Raghav’s recent shift from a libertarian outlook towards a more progressive one, they have a clear favorite.
We get into some tough topics, discussing the current crisis in Myanamar with the genocide of the Rohingya Muslims and how it got to this point. For our second topic, we talk about the effects of the colonial model, how it creates second class citizens, and the effects on Puerto Rico.
After these two big, tragic topics we change tones and end on a celebratory note. Jagmeet Singh has made history in Canada, as the first person of color to lead a major party.
What Explains the Rise of the Desi Right in America?
South Asians are the top minority in the Trump White House- with Ajit Pai, Seema Verma, and Nikki Haley among the most prominent.
Shalabh Kumar was one of Trump’s “mega donors” – donating almost $1 million to Trump, getting Trump to mimic Modi’s famous “Ab Ki Baar Trump Sarkaar” line.
And finally, there were a number of well publicized Hindu rallies/ceremonies in Trump’s honor in India and at least 1 in America.
This is true even as roughly 75-80% of South Asians vote Democrat.
Salas and Ragz give brainstorm some ideas as to why this might be the case.