Republican Sunset


A national survey of Asian Americans reveals that Indian Americans have all but slammed the door on the Republican Party.

The National Asian American Survey (NAAS) found that Indian Americans favor Pres. Barack Obama over Republican nominee Mitt Romney 68% to 5%, with 25% presently undecided. It reported that 93% of Indians voted for Obama in 2008, a proportion only nominally lower than his support among African Americans. Half of Indian Americans identified themselves as Democrats and just 3% as Republicans, with the remaining listing themselves as Independents.

At a time when Pres. Obama’s approval ratings have tanked, 81% of Indians approved of Pres. Obama’s job performance while 88% had a favorable impression of him, which is the highest of any ethnic group in the country and matches African American approval ratings of Obama.

The precipitous decline of the GOP among Indian Americans is difficult to reconcile, because in many ways it is a logical constituency for Republican conservative doctrine. It is the most affluent ethnic group in the country and most Indians are socially and economically conservative. Indian Americans have not experienced the frontal brunt of the GOP’s hostile policies toward immigrants and minorities. Yet, Democrats enjoy far stronger support among Indian Americans than they do, for example, among Hispanics, who are significantly more impacted by the GOP’s uncompromising stance on immigration and welfare.

The takeover of the Republican Party by right wing Christian fanatics and loony Tea Partiers, whose antipathy toward immigrants and minorities has driven out even mildly centrist Republicans, has turned off the few Indians who might have related with the party’s conservative ideology.

It is not lost on the community that the two most successful Indian American Republicans — Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina — succeeded only by eschewing their Indian identity and indeed even their religion. Their conversion from Hinduism and Sikhism to Christianity may well have been personal rather than motivated by political expediency; we don’t really know. What Indian Americans do know is that the Republican Party has no place for non-Christians. Even though Jindal and Haley were trotted out at the GOP Convention as minority ornaments to camouflage the party’s toxic anti-immigrant and anti-minority platform, it is patently clear that neither of them has any standing in the Indian American community.

The NAAS survey discredits the mythology that a handful of heavyweight Indian American donors have created about a shift in the community toward the GOP. In the absence of polling data specific to the community, the deception was peddled successfully to naïve mainstream reporters and news starved ethnic media outlets. The NAAS report conclusively demonstrates that the self-appointed fat cat community leaders and spokesmen are completely detached from the people they profess to represent.

Destabilizing international events and economic disruptions may yet propel Romney into the White House, although public opinion polls presently show him trailing badly, notwithstanding the fact that many of Pres. Obama’s supporters are disheartened by his timidity and failures in leadership during the first two years of his presidency.

Regardless of how the 2012 election swings, however, it will mark the swan song of the angry white male, which is riding the GOP rough herd into the sunset. The demographics of the United States are marching inexorably against the hostage-takers of the Republican Party. The fundamentalist Right is so virulent, because it is so scared. It ought to be.

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