The Indian-American community in the greater Washington, DC area is enthused about the 2020 election despite the pandemic.
Many are also feeling that much more involved because running on the Democratic Party ticket is Kamala Harris, who will be the first Indian-American Vice President of the United States if she is elected.
“I feel proud to be both an Indian American and a woman with Kamala Harris as the vice-presidential candidate for 2020,” said Lata Priyadarshini, a Fairfax County, Virginia schoolteacher and an activist in the local desi community.
Joe Biden, who will turn 81 in 2024 US elections, has categorically stated that he viewed himself as a ‘transition’ candidate who will not stand for a second term if elected, paving the way for Harris to become the Democratic front-runner for the top job.
On the other hand, with experience on the domestic and foreign policy front, another Indian-American star is blazing a trail through the US electoral space — on the Republican side.
It is quite evident Nikki Haley has been working on her role as future leader of the country. She has been fundraising, writing op-eds on foreign policy, and has also written a book, With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and Grace.
In the rise of Harris and Haley, the Indian-American community has seen their own empowerment.
“It will be exciting to see the presidential race in 2024 between two Indian-American women, Harris and [Nikki] Haley, as it is speculated,” added Priyadarshini,
Arvind Krishna, a retired engineer who lives in Vienna, Virginia, felt it was “definitely” a crucial election. Krishna came to the US in the 1960s.
“One could never imagine then that Indian Americans would rise high in US politics so quickly,” he said. “Seeing Kamala Harris, who projects both as an Indian American and a black, as a vice-presidential candidate is exciting.”
He added: “I think Harris comes across as a genuine person, and between Biden and Trump, surely Biden.”
That sentiment was echoed by Manjula Kumar, a former program director with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, who now works as an independent arts consultant and programmer.
Asked whom she preferred in 2020, Trump or Biden, Manjula said: “Undoubtedly Biden. Trump has done too much damage already!”
She was also excited at the prospect of 2024 being an electoral face-off between Haley and Harris.
“It would be exhilarating to see two India- American women as presidential candidates in 2024,” Manjula said.
Gulshan Madhur, a former VOA broadcaster, said he would vote for “the basic human values and whoever upholds them. In that sense Democrats have a better record.”
Asked about the Haley versus Harris buzz for 2024, Madhur said: “Both the ladies are pleasant and versatile personalities, but Harris obviously has a courage of conviction.”
Zafar Iqbal, a researcher who hails from Hyderabad and lives in Maryland, said he definitely wants “a liberal as the next President.”
He also felt it was a “critically important election” this year.
“We are requesting the community to write post cards to deregistered [purged from the rolls] voters of color in swing states; phone banking; mass texting; and letter writing to targeted groups and discuss how each method worked. and the organizations with which we expect to work,” Zafar added.
As is by now probably evident, most DC-area desis feel Biden is a better choice but a few did also prefer Trump to continue “to keep the economy in motion and to keep China at bay.”