We are now less than twelve months away from the next big election, the 2010 Midterm Elections. Another election? I know, I know. It feels a little too soon. But on November 2, 2010 elections will be held for at least 36 of the 100 seats for US Senate, all 435 seats for the US House of Representative, and a Governor’s race in 36 states.
This election is particularly significant because there are six South Asian candidates running for a seat in US Congress. To give a little context, the first person of Indian origin to hold a congressional seat was Dalip Singh Saund (D-CA) who served representing California from 1953-1967. the next one didn’t get elected until almost 50 years later. It was Bobby Jindal (R-LA), who served from 2004 – 2007, after which he got elected as Governor for Louisiana.
Here’s the congressional candidate run through: Raj Goyle (D-KS), Manan Trivedi, (D- PA), Ami Bera (D-CA), Ravi Sangisetty (D-LA), Reshma Sejauni (D- NY) and Surya Yalamanchili (I-OH). And they are all YOUNG, ranging in age from 27 to 40 yrs old.
Raj Goyle – Kansas, 4th Congressional District
Represents the 87th District of Kansas House of Representatives since 2007. Attorney and a lecturer at Wichita State University. (Past SM post here.)
Raj graduated from Duke University and then Harvard Law School where in addition to his legal studies, he founded a technology company with two classmates that taught him the importance of entrepreneurship.After law school, Raj clerked for a federal judge and then as an advocate for better schools, improved voting rights for the disabled, and as an expert on homeland security issues. [rajforkansas]
Dr. Amerish ‘Ami’ Bera – California, 3rd Congressional District
Physician and former chief medical officer of Sacramento County’s Primary Health Care system.
The core planks of my campaign are as follows – We must build a health care system that has a compassionate baseline that is available and accessible for every American. Second, we must rebuild our educational system to teach students to think and make sure it’s flexible enough to allow for many career paths, from trades, to technology, to college. Third, we must create an economy that rewards employment and creates career pathways that allow for a secure and sustainable future over a lifetime. And last, we must have an environmental and energy policy that builds for generations to come. [ssvms]
Reshma Saujani – New York, 14th Congressional District
Lawyer, community activist (and former SAAVY board member!)
She’s the daughter of immigrants who fled from violence in Uganda, and has degrees from Harvard and Yale. Saujani reportedly interned in the White House at the same time as Monica Lewinsky. By the age of 28, Saujani had established herself politically as an effective fund-raiser for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. At the time, she was quoted as saying, “I’ll be into active politics myself in a few years. I hope to become a Senator someday.” [nyobserver] Surya Yalamanchili – Ohio, 2nd Congressional District
Former marketing director at LinkedIn and past reality show contestant on The Apprentice
Mr. Yalamanchili, 28, has returned to Cincinnati to run as an independent…His “Apprentice” fame has helped an independent and seeming long shot secure a feature on the front page of CQpolitics.com. Given his background, he hopes to use social media, but he’s planning plenty of traditional flesh-pressing, too. His campaign website, VoteChili.com, is a play both on his name and Cincinnati’s affection for its own style of chili…Mr. Yalamanchili looks to play on what he sees as growing disaffection with both parties. He’s eschewing PAC contributions and laying out a centrist agenda that includes calling for an independent commission to recommend cuts in entitlement programs and other spending.[aa]
Ravi Sangisetty – Louisiana, 3rd Congressional District
I enter this race today with this goal in mind: to hold the political process accountable to the people of South Louisiana. The problems we face as a unique region–whether coastal restoration, hurricane protection, education, health care, or the economy–are too urgent to allow the current state of politics to continue….So, in this campaign, my pledge is to raise the level of dialogue above unproductive partisan rhetoric and to propose real reforms that will make the federal government responsive to our voices and our needs. [apap]
Manan Trivedi – Pennsylvania, 6th Congressional District
Physician, policy analyst, and Iraqi war veteran. (Past SM posts here and here.)
Since we’ve covered Manan quite a bit at Sepia Mutiny in the past, I can’t really add more. So I’m going to leave you with this video.
As we get closer to primary and midterm election day, we here in the Sepia Mutiny bunkers will do what we can to make sure you get the latest news on these candidates (most of whom I proudly consider part of the Mutineer family). I wanted to focus this particular post to summarize the congressional Desi candidates, but there are other Desis running for office – Kamala Harris (D) is running for Attorney General in California and Nikki Haley (R) is running for Governor in South Carolina. Anyone else I missed? Let us know in the comments.
Its interesting that amongst all Indian American politicians, its the ones with Republican ties like Bobby Jindal, and leading South Carolina Gubernatorial candidate Nicky Haley that have a chance at getting elected to offices with higher pecking order. Part of the reason could be that there are too many other minorities competing for slots in Democratic Party.
Come on now, someone’s gotta say it just so that not everyone keeps thinking about it without saying it – Reshma is h.o.t. I just took one for the team.
Ha! I just got tweeted by a female friend wrt this post – “dayumn that’s some handsome desi legislators!”
Vic, yeah; Desis would have a better shot in 2010 if they were more equally distributed across the Parties. Republicans look like they’re going to pick up some seats, and It’s harder to have a political impact being so closely tied to one Party–they start taking you for granted. `
Plus Desis are the richest and one of the most entrepreneurial communities in America. It’s in many of our economic interests to vote R.
Raja Krishnamoorthi is running for IL comptroller; I think the election is in 2010.
I don’t like American corruption or American style, yaar.
Mein desi corruption bahut pasand hum! American Laloo Yadav 4 prez minister.
AHEAD: Always HElp Another Desi.
@Vic, maybe that’s true. But I wonder if Piyush Jindal (Hindu) and Nimrata Randhawa Haley (Sikh) would’ve been so readily accepted into the Republican party…
For the sake of the exhausted SM Intern, who deserves a restful Thanksgiving more than anyone, how about we limit the anti-Christian comments? Additionally, the phrase “house negro” is NEVER welcome in this space, even if you creatively replace a vowel with an asterisk. Just. Don’t.
It’s a holiday. Please chill.
Plus Desis are the richest and one of the most entrepreneurial communities in America. It’s in many of our economic interests to vote R.
you sound like norman podhoretz :=) andrew gelman’s research actually suggests that poor people vote their economics, rich people vote their cultural preferences.
Any comments about the physical appearance of a candidate will be deleted. Thanks.
SM Intern is being way too boring for a holiday! A hot chick is one of the most consensus driving topics in the world. It cuts across religion, race, political views, economic views etc. Why do we have to ban it and make this world a more divisive place?
Because hot chicks are people too, and these people read our sites. If it’s in appropriate to yell out lewd things comments to women walking by on the street (which it is), it is just as in appropriate to say it online. If you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t say it in the comments. I don’t know what SM Intern deleted, but be respectful – SM is a community, and being objectified and exotified for being a woman is inexcusable in this community. It doens’t make this space divisive – it makes this a caring COMMUNITY space for WOMEN as well as men.
Back on topic.
I know my comment may sound politically incorrect but I wonder if conservative South Asian American politicians are not being used by the right wing to say they are more “inclusive” of minorities. For instance, Michael Steele an African American is the RNC chief but he is constantly being criticized by other Republicans as not being authentic enough. I am not suggesting that South Asian Americans are a monolithic group but I have always wondered what some people of colour hope to gain by supporting the right wing?
Among rightwing desis: Status? The illusion of power? Moving ahead in their careers? An opportunity to unmask their social conservatism and class interests? I won’t bring up the race thing, but I think it’s there.
It would be interesting to ask some Indian conservatives, but I could only hope for a sincere, self-reflective answer – not demand one.
. I am not suggesting that South Asian Americans are a monolithic group but I have always wondered what some people of colour hope to gain by supporting the right wing?
if you are in favor of small gov., against abortion, and pro-hawkish foreign policy, why wouldn’t you be a republican? the republicans are de facto a white party, but some minorities such as vietnamese and cubans still have majority republican sentiments. it isn’t cuz these are fake minorities, but it’s cuz these have their own interests.
wrong. the republican party is fundamentally a social conservative party. it oscillates between isolationism and hawkishness as is politically convenient, and certainly cannot claim to be in favor of small gov or fiscal conservatism except in bumper stickers.
well it would be nice to see the end of the kind of posts where you and other bloggers talk about how some guy is hot etc etc, seems pretty standard whenever you blog about some 20, 30 or 40 something guy.
It’s a food fight–actually a money fight, not a race fight, first and foremost. Republicans are basically into lower taxes for businesses and for people in general. The abortion thing was tagged on by certain religious people a couple decades ago, it is not a “Republican” issue. The American founders would be quite baffled by that as an issue. Tax payers see the purpose of handouts for people who are part of the society and just need temporary assistance, but it’s not supposed to be a permanent, or hereditary system of spoils. Republicans see government handouts as a buffet for whoever can crash the doors. Not say it is, but that’s how they see it. They want their money for themselves. Actually, so do Democrats but they don’t admit it, just in case they might need help themselves some day. I think the party system is going to implode soon (according to my crystal ball.) Indian businesses that get government perks for being desi, of course support Democratic candidates. Indians who are not eligible for these benefits, due to being American born, or too rich, may slide towards the Republican party. If race becomes secondary in the Republican party, as it has in the Democratic party, then the talking points will be different, the party will be different. It tried to woo “hispanics” but most hispanics are of too low socio-economic status to commit to the Republican party. The Democrats are offering “assistance.” However, desis in the U.S. are more educated and high-income. Taking race out of the equation–if you can make that leap of imagination–would probably put many desis in the Republican camp. I’m not surprised at Bobby Jindal, nor do i think he’s a ‘sell-out’. He’s doing what immigrants and their kids have always done in their adopted country. As far as race, things are going to get increasingly “tribal.” The European descended “majority” is barely that in many of the most populated parts of the country, and in California, is now a minority. I’m still not sure how this will play out in party affiliation, but there is not really any precedent in the US. The desi presence in the government apparataus is entirely new. Well, that’s my take on it–simplisitic, cobbled together from personal observations and conversations with friends and acquaintances. I try to listen to politicians to get a more clear picture of where they are taking us all, but regardless of their race or creed or relative “hotness”, their discourse usually gives me hives.
“India Shining” anyone?
Seriously, why are indians so prone to chest thumping over tiny accomplishments. Is it an expression of some unique desi genes? Is such empty boasting conducive to the survival of desi genes? I just don’t see how being so pathetically out of touch with reality increases the chances of success and survival.
In this case 6 desis are running for the 435 seats in Congress with only one of them with any chance of winning, and the blogger is already announcing that “Desis Are Taking Over Congress”!
Good lord. Thank you stupid vanity. How about next time you grow some balls & leave your e-mail address so I can contact you as a personal consultant before I come up with a blog title since it is clearly not as witty as one that you can come up with.
I’m not Indian, I’m Bangladeshi. And this is a South Asian American blog where we highlight stories desi related. It’s not chest thumping to highlight desi stories, on a desi centered blog! If you don’t like it, you know where to step to.
Taz – Relax. Don’t know if SM Intern deleted something objectionable. I thought he was only responding to my “h.o.t.” comment – which I humbly submit was not lewd or improper. Let’s try to take the comments just on their face value. If countless SM girls can go swoon whenever any good looking desi guy’s pics show up here, can the boys get that right as well – just once in a while? Anywho, happy beginning of holiday season!
“Desis are taking over Congress” is not just highlighting a desi story, it is the kind of silly, empty boasting that makes desis look so immature and foolish. This is the equivalent of jive-talking: under achievers wildly exaggerating their accomplishments to impress the gullible.
Paranoid Android, Please don’t tell Taz to relax. Tell me, since I deleted the stupid comment. I will delete the next one too. The “hot comment” was inappropriate in this context.
I agree with stupid vanity.
My question is how many indians in the US know these candidates? forget whites and other ethinic groups.
no. one is clearly flattering, and the other is clearly demeaning. thems the rules.
there’s a lot of bad history in some of the comments above. not a big deal, no one knows history. but:
The European descended “majority” is barely that in many of the most populated parts of the country, and in California, is now a minority. I’m still not sure how this will play out in party affiliation, but there is not really any precedent in the US.
let’s get a reality check here. these are basic numbers. 74% of the voters in 2008 were non-hispanic whites. even around 2050 when only half the population is going to be non-hispanic white (give or take based on projection parameters), the majority of the electorate will remain non-hispanic white (unless the laws of political science invert and young people start voting more than old people). not only that, because most non-whites are concentrated in states like california or mississppi, which are not in “play,” they don’t matter as much at the national level (electoral college). as for “precedents”, after the civil war and before FDR the democratic party was a regional party of the south. in the early 19th century the federalists were restricted to new england. also, remember that at this nation’s founding only 80% of the population consisted of whites (a number that increased to around 90% in the 1950s). and that large swaths of the south were minority white. states like new mexico were excluded from the union until they had a majority white english speaking population, but that shows what an artifact the criterion was, as new mexico had a majority latino population as a territory for decades.
oh, btw, did anyone know that the vice president richard mentor johnson, 1836-1840, had three common law relationships with mixed-race women? (one while he was vice president) ironically, johnson was at the head of what was operationally the party of white supremacy at the time, the democrats (populist democrats were generally the motors behind the disenfranchisement of blacks in northern states and the expansion of the franchise to all white males, federalists and whigs tend to be less particular about racial as opposed to property qualifications and so opposed such legislation).
seeing as how the past is complex, i suspect the future will be complex too.
oh, btw, did anyone know that the vice president richard mentor johnson, 1836-1840, had three common law relationships with mixed-race women? (one while he was vice president) ironically, johnson was at the head of what was operationally the party of white supremacy at the time, the
That’s not surprising. Such relationships were common enough in the South. It was the legal, open interracial marriages that were rare. Still aren’t all that common. Thanks for the info, but I know that whites and blacks sometimes had close relations prior to the Civil Rights movement, but that’s not really germain to the topic. As far as changing American demographics, you may be right in how the percentages play out in voting exercises, but the changes are remarkable even in the 25 years I have been in this area (D.C. metro). I am going by comments and conversations I’ve had with Americans (white, black and “hispanic”), as well as my own observations. The changes in the area surrounding Washington, D.C. are significant. There are schools in the northern Virginia areas, also counties in Maryland surrounding D.C., where the students are about 80% Spanish speaking. My colleagues Spanish speaking daughter spends much of the day in translation at the Fairfax county elementary school in which she works. A 7th Day Adventist school in Takoma Park Maryland, used to be mostly white American with a minority of blacks, according to my neighbors. Since the early 90s it’s been mostly Hispanic and desi though TP town remains mostly upper middle class white with Section 8 housing buildings in some streets. Lot’s of desi 7th Day Adventists (my pals and even relative) in this area, and most are home owners of long standing who have seen the changes themselves. I really only know personally the mid-Atlantic, eastern corridor, but that’s a pretty electric area. The demographic changes are very much on the ground here, though, as you say, one must be cautious in predicting how this will play out in electoral politics.
Desis taking over Congress? Hardly. None of them have a chance to win besides Raj Goyle, and possibly Trivedi if he pulls off a huge upset.
Saujani in particular is reflective of the type of hubris that desi politicos often display. She has absolutely no chance in that district against Maloney. But she is running anyway. Indian-Americans would be much better served putting their time in at the local level, rather than thinking an Ivy League degree and a couple big-name endorsements are enough to carpetbag their way to a seat in the House.
What’s with Dalip’s monster hairdo?
Interesting analysis. Nikkiâ€™s success personifies that of South Asiansâ€™ successes in other areas â€“ including medicine, technology – too.