The Political Influence of Indian Americans in the United States

By siliconindia   |   Thursday, 25 January 2024, 00:58 IST
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The Political Influence of Indian Americans in the United States

The 2024 US election cycle is historic for Indian Americans, with diverse candidates from local to presidential levels elevating community influence.

The commencement of the 2024 United States election season marked a significant moment for Indian American representation, with candidates from both major parties reflecting the diversity within this community. Two Indian American Republican candidates participated in the Iowa Caucus. While Vivek Ramaswamy withdrew after securing the fourth position, former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley displayed a strong performance, positioning herself as a potential contender against former President Donald Trump in the New Hampshire primary

Haley's noteworthy performance in the primary has led her supporters to believe she could present a significant challenge to Trump for the Grand Old Party (GOP) nomination. Even in the absence of securing the nomination, there is widespread speculation that Haley will emerge as a strong candidate for the position of the former president's running mate in the November election. If this situation materializes, there may be a likelihood of two Indian Americans featuring on the vice-presidential ticket, considering the highly probable inclusion of the current Vice President, Kamala Harris, on the Democratic ticket. The Indian American community's impact extends beyond presidential elections, with strong candidates hinting at increased representation.

All five current Indian American members of Congress, Ami Bera, Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal, Raja Krishnamoorthi, and Shri Thanedar, are seeking re-election and are expected to comfortably retain their seats due to the advantages of incumbency and substantial campaign funding. Additionally, candidates from diverse congressional districts are vying to join their ranks. New York State Senator Kevin Thomas, a Democrat contending in the state's fourth congressional district, emerges as a leading candidate for potentially becoming the sixth Indian American member of the Congress.

In Virginia’s open 10th congressional district, two Indian American Democrats, Suhas Subramanyam and Krystle Kaul, alumni of the Obama administration, are competing for the Democratic Party nomination. Subramanyam, a Virginia state senator with four years of legislative experience, and Kaul, a national security expert, offer formidable credentials for representing this Democratic-leaning district. Ohio State Senator Niraj Antani, seeking the GOP nomination from Ohio's second congressional district, aims to become the second Indian American Republican member of Congress after Bobby Jindal. With the district heavily favoring Republicans, Antani will likely secure a congressional seat if he wins the Republican primary.

State Representative Amish Shah, the first Indian American elected to the Arizona legislature, is seeking the Democratic Party's nomination for Arizona's first congressional district. Despite the district leaning slightly Republican, Shah, an emergency physician, has raised over $1 million for his campaign, positioning himself as a strong contender in the November election if he wins the primary. Additionally, two other Indian American Democrats, Susheela Jayapal and Rishi Kumar, seek their party's nomination for Democratic-leaning open seats in Oregon's third and California's 16th congressional districts, respectively.

The surge of Indian American candidates is not confined to congressional races, as numerous highly qualified individuals are vying for statewide offices. Organizations like Indian American Impact, which are dedicated to strengthening the community's political influence, report that over 200 Indian Americans already hold positions ranging from school boards and city councils to state assemblies and senates. As the election cycle progresses, the number is expected to grow, with candidates such as Minita Sanghvi, Tara Sreekrishnan, Ashwin Ramaswami, and Seema Singh announcing their candidacies for various statewide offices.

The 2024 election cycle in the United States is shaping historic for the Indian American community at every level, from local to presidential. With candidates representing both major political parties and showcasing the diversity and talent within the Indian American population, the community's political influence is poised to rise further.