Roundup: Election Day Dust Settles…

Kamala harris.jpgToday is the last day for ballots to be counted from the November 2nd elections, which means it is official. Kamala Harris is the new Attorney General for the state of California.

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris narrowly beat out Steve Cooley, the District Attorney for Los Angeles. The victory makes Harris, whose mother is Indian American and father is Jamaican, the first African American, Indian and woman to hold the office in California.

Harris was once labeled the “female Barack Obama”, and won the race with an uncharacteristically progressive platform. She’s openly opposed to the death penalty; in fact, she refused to pursue capital punishment during her eight year tenure as DA in San Francisco, but has vowed that as Attorney General she’ll do “what’s necessary.” [colorlines]

Harris won her seat by only 71,566 votes, according to the Secretary of State’s office. Harris will be making her “big announcement” today as well as having a victory party here in the Bay area.

hansen clarke 2.jpgAs the November 2nd dust settles, there are a couple of other major South Asian American victories also to be noted. One of them is fellow Bong Hansen Clark, who is now officially the third South Asian congressman to ever hold the seat (Dalip Singh Saund and Bobby Jindal being the first two).

Voters in the Midwestern state of Michigan have elected the first Bangladeshi-American ever to serve in the U.S. Congress. The congressman-elect was born to a Bangladeshi immigrant father and an African-American mother. Clarke’s father passed away when he was 8 years old, but he says his father greatly influenced him and that he strongly identifies with his father’s culture.

Clarke, who was raised a Muslim and converted to Catholicism, says he also plans to work with local officials to end religious and racial profiling in Michigan. The city of Dearborn and other areas across Michigan are home to large Muslim populations. [voa]

Nikki-haley.JPGOf course, how could we forget the first South Asian American woman to be elected Governor in the United States? Nikki Haley from the state of South Carolina.

South Carolina Gov.-elect Nikki Haley says former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin helped spread Haley’s message, but she’s not ready to endorse Palin for president. Haley says she’s proud to be a product of the tea party movement. She says that movement tries to fight what she called “arrogance” by Republicans and Democrats. [washingtonpost]Congrats to all the other Desi candidates we’ve profiled on our pages this election cycle and were not successful on Election Day. It takes a lot of courage to put yourselves out there the way you did. It was exciting to follow along with so many different races this season. Most of the candidates were young and their twenties or thirties and for most of them it was their first time running. I hope that they (and other South Asian American) continue to partake in our democratic process in such a significant way.

There are some important (tongue in cheek) lessons to be learned from this election cycle that I would like to highlight:

  1. A candidate is more likely to win when they lighten their brown skin color on campaign materials – such as Kamala Harris did.
  2. A candidate is more likely to win when their name is “Americanized” such as Harris, Clarke and Haley. Names like Trivedi, Yalamanchili and Sangisetty will only provide easy fodder for the opponent.
  3. A candidate should probably convert to a form of Christianity to win their race and stay away from the “foreign” religions such as Hinduism or Allah forbid, Islam (Harris is Baptist, Clarke is Catholic and Haley is Methodist). Unless you are in Jersey, then you can be Muslim and mayor.
  4. You can work in the White House, quit your job to go work on a movie that revolves around marijuana use, and get your job back at the White House. At least you can when you are Kalpen Modi.
  5. If you are fully brown candidate, but you have Sarah Palin on your side, you will be accepted by the Tea Party. All other brown people must be wary. Unless you are Hindu. Then you are totally invited – because Hindus do not worship the “terrorists’ monkey god” – you worship an “ACTUAL monkey god.” Right.
  6. If a candidate’s opponent call’s them a “turban topper” he will lose. Unless he shows up on a billboard wearing a cowboy hat with the words “Vote American” (such as what Mike Pompeo did to Raj Goyle in Kansas). Then, the opponent will win.
  7. If you are a candidate with Sikh ancestry, you will get called a “raghead”. Well actually, if you are any kind of brown, South Carolina State Senator Jake Knotts will likely call you “raghead”. As a joke, of course.
  8. If a South Asian Democratic candidate raises money from the South Asian community, it is racist. But if a South Asian Republican candidate does it is … also racist. So basically, raising money from your own Desi community is racist, despite your party affiliation.
  9. Running on a pro-Wall Street, pro-mosque, pro-West Bank settlement policy platform while touting a refugee story will come off as pandering for votes and confuse voters to no end.
  10. Islamaphobia was an Election Day tactic to bring conservative voters to the polls to swing the elections to the Republicans. Where’s all the hype around the Park 51 mosque now, or any of the other mosques that were protested against back in September and October? Gone. At least gone till the next national election.
  11. If you are a Democratic candidate that folds to Republican scare tactics and you return a donation because the donor is Muslim, chances are you’ll have to return donations to some of your other major donors as well. And you won’t win.
  12. South Asian Democratic congressional candidates have a good chance at winning their primaries. It’s just the rest of the race that proves to be more difficult (Trivedi, Goyle, Clark, Yalamanchili all won their primaries.)

Now…. who’s ready for 2012???

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About Taz

Taz is an activist, organizer and writer based in California. She is the founder of South Asian American Voting Youth (SAAVY), curates MutinousMindState.tumblr.com and blogs at TazzyStar.blogspot.com. Follow her at twitter.com/tazzystar

21 thoughts on “Roundup: Election Day Dust Settles…

  1. My long comment went into moderation, but on (11), Ami Bera returned the $250 donation not because the donor was a Muslim, but because he’s a CAIR employee. Those two are not the same, and please do not conflate to that effect.

  2. “Running on a pro-Wall Street, pro-mosque, pro-West Bank settlement policy platform while touting a refugee story will come off as pandering for votes”

    Heh. If only she had came out for legalizing drugs and getting rid of social security and Medicare. Add the stoners and the kill grandma crew to her grand coalition of hedge fund mangers, Muslims, and orthodox Jews; and you have a winner. Throw in the ban circumcision zealots too. I know, you might lose some Jews, but these guys are one-issue voters who can make up the difference easily, out of sheer gratitude for finally having some skin in the game.

  3. In large parts of California – especially the parts that matter – Silicon Valley, LA and SD – religion matters very little. Kamala Harris maybe Baptist. What do I care, as long as she is anti-Prop.8 and pro-choice? It shows what it takes to get elected in America’s most civilized, progressive and futuristic state. OTOH we have Noble Lie states like SC where the country club oligarchs would like nothing better than a clone of the corrupt oligarchies that were once so firmly ensconced in south of the USA. Haley handily serves that purpose. As long as large swathes of the land detest education, equate wealth with virtue and misfortune with wickedness we will have a steady supply of demagogues like Jindal and Haley. As for people like Goyle, Trivedi, Chili and Madia, it will take them years (decades, centuries?) to be accepted, as our ideals it would seem are merely words on paper. I hate hypothetical scenarios – they are useless – but what chance do you think a Manan Trivedi would have against Jindal or a Haley? How do you fancy Keith Ellison’s chances in the Central Valley or San Diego?

  4. I know, you might lose some Jews

    i assume this is a joke, and that you know that circumcision is normative among american males since the 1950s? (though this is changing, and varies by region)

  5. “Haley handily serves that purpose. As long as large swathes of the land detest education, equate wealth with virtue and misfortune with wickedness we will have a steady supply of demagogues like Jindal and Haley”

    Your pessimism is ahistoric, jyotsana. If equating wealth with virtue is central to the demagoguery, then how do you explain the success of men like William Fulbright, Robert Byrd, Claude Pepper, Woodrow Wilson, Heuy Long, Jimmy Carter, George Smathers, Bill Clinton, etc…all of whom didn’t exactly equate wealth with virtue (with the possible exception of Clinton) and most of whom dominated the region during far more demagogic times.

    Of course, we all know how they did it, Clinton and Carter included, thats rhetorical. The point is many in this bunch were a critical part of the new deal coalition. So you’re identifying peripheral factors, when we all know what the central one distinguishing the region is. At least Bubba’s Campaign Manager knew, as this lovely too-loud-to-be-a-dogwhistle ad aimed at people who look like us demonstrates:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/10/weekinreview/10ferrick.html?_r=1

  6. The New Deal saved this country from certain fascism, and is with the Revolution, the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement, one of the only four defining eras of this nation – everything else is detail. It was so overwhelming that the moneyed thugs (like today’s oligarchs who run both parties) hired a Marine to orchestrate a coup. But the man they sought to hire, Gen Smedley Butler, was too honest for them, and the plot never came to be. This is Butler writing in 1935,

    I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class thug for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

    Manju you should stop ranting against the New Deal, it is as fruitful as trying to build a perpetual motion machine. Sure you can diss Bubba all you want, and even though I wish Jerry Brown had won the nomination in 1992, I am still glad it was Bubba who became President rather than Bush-1. This is not an easy battle because it is in America alone among nations with a stable polity that learning is not simply ignored but even derided. It is not a simple thing to run a government, and especially if you have been to a university and learned something (like Jindal or Haley) it is incumbent upon you to apply learned solutions not offer pablum like “no taxes” and “free enterprise” the ultimate dog whistle (you can run slave plantations and make as much money as you want for all we care) That’s why I am amused these handmaidens of the oligarchy have never once talked of reforming our criminal justice system. We lead the world in % and absolute numbers of incarcerated and there are states where more is spent on prisons than education!

    Demagogues? Byrd worked for W.Va. Tom DeLay worked for the Texan thugs.

    I read your link,

    The ad was timed to air the Saturday before Election Day, too late for the Scranton camp to respond. Mr. Carville chose not to run it in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh media markets, fearing a backlash in the state’s two major urban areas. Instead, he made a big buy in central Pennsylvania, hoping to undercut Mr. Scranton’s support among that region’s conservative Republicans.

    Before you tell me that Scranton did not lose as much support as expected in the conservative heartland of Pa. just be sure of what heroic assumptions you are making.

  7. Tom Friedman got Iraq every next six months but his Lexus-Olive and the Flat World stuff has been bang on target. We don’t realize it is >10 years since he has been around, and the GOPer class has been doing everything to run this country into the ground.

    His satirical take in the NYT is sad, depressing and very true

    …anything that brings Russia and America closer could end up isolating us, we are grateful to Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona for putting our interests ahead of America’s and blocking Senate ratification of the treaty. The ambassador has invited Senator Kyl and his wife for dinner at Mr. Kao’s Chinese restaurant to praise him for his steadfastness in protecting America’s (read: our) interests…Americans just had what they call an “election.” Best we could tell it involved one congressman trying to raise more money than the other (all from businesses they are supposed to be regulating) so he could tell bigger lies on TV more often about the other guy before the other guy could do it to him. This leaves us relieved. It means America will do nothing serious to fix its structural problems: a ballooning deficit, declining educational performance, crumbling infrastructure and diminished immigration of new talent….But the Americans are oblivious. They travel abroad so rarely that they don’t see how far they are falling behind. Which is why we at the embassy find it funny that Americans are now fighting over how “exceptional” they are. Once again, we are not making this up. On the front page of The Washington Post on Monday there was an article noting that Republicans Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee are denouncing Obama for denying “American exceptionalism.” The Americans have replaced working to be exceptional with talking about how exceptional they still are…Most of the Republicans just elected to Congress do not believe what their scientists tell them about man-made climate change. America’s politicians are mostly lawyers — not engineers or scientists like ours — so they’ll just say crazy things about science and nobody calls them on it. It’s good. It means they will not support any bill to spur clean energy innovation, which is central to our next five-year plan. And this ensures that our efforts to dominate the wind, solar, nuclear and electric car industries will not be challenged by America.

    That an incompetent, illread ignoramus like Palin or a Huckstre like Huckabee has any traction at all shows how degenerate the GOPers have become. At least when the GOPers tried to scupper the New Deal they had learned crooks and thugs at their command. We don’t expect anything better from the clowns who are the GOPer stars these days. But surely educated leaders like Jindal and Haley should know better instead of furthering the interests of the elite and throwing chopped liver to the hicks (which is signing creationism education bills in Jindal’s case and driving down wages in SC for Haley).

  8. Friedman is one of the biggest hacks out there, also repeating the same non-sense. He wishes America was like China.

  9. Friedman is one of the biggest hacks out there, also repeating the same non-sense. He wishes America was like China.

    Wow! That’s a great way to bury your head in the sand! I guess he must have the likes of you in mind when wrote this,

    But the Americans are oblivious. They travel abroad so rarely that they don’t see how far they are falling behind.

    Sure I wish America were like China now – driven by science, with intellectuals in charge, grabbing the future, executing white collar crooks – and also wish China were like America is now – in the thrall of crackpots and ignoramuses like Palin and Huckabee and oligarchy flunkies like Jindal and Haley and lusting for the affection of Wall St thugs.

  10. lusting for the affection of Wall St thugs.

    Actually it is the Wall Street Thugs(tm) that have made China the economic success that it is now. Without all the US manufacturing and high tech industries that have moved there from the US, would China be where it is now ?

  11. “Manju you should stop ranting against the New Deal”

    You got it backwards. I did not bring up jim crow to take down the new deal. I bought up the new deal to take down the notion of jim crow as pro free-market “moneyed thugs.” Granted, segregationists being new dealers does not make the economic populism you champion look good, but it does not prove it wrong either. After all, pointing out that America was founded on slavery doesn’t make liberal democracy a wrongheaded project in and off itself, as all the non-slave states designed as such demonstrate.

    So there’s no reason to engage in denialism. You can acknowledge the historical connection without undermining the entire project. Granted, your life would be easier if the Banker’s Party were the party of Jim Crow, but history is not as convenient as ideology.

    “”no taxes” and “free enterprise” the ultimate dog whistle (you can run slave plantations and make as much money as you want for all we care)”"

    So when Obama said “I am an ardent believer in the free market” it was his southern strategy? We can now add him to the pantheon of race-baiters? Or is a dog-whistle in jyotsana-land any position jyotsana disagrees with that he can manage to associate with slavery using his imagination?

    “Demagogues? Byrd worked for W.Va. Tom DeLay worked for the Texan thugs.”

    Yeah, he worked for W.Va interest in denying black folks their unalienable rights. But you’re apparently more concerned about some alleged fascist bankers coup than the real thing. Appealing to some imaginary or hugely exaggerated enemy to justify repression is a sign of, well, Fascism. No?

    “Before you tell me that Scranton did not lose as much support as expected in the conservative heartland of Pa. just be sure of what heroic assumptions you are making.”

    Hey, I’m not you. I don’t need my politcs spoon-fed with sugar. Carville was appealing to the racism of a republican base, like welfare queen was to the Reagan democrats

  12. Guess who’s back in India – bitches?

    Yep, the original PG.

    More commentary later…. some good, some bad. India is heading in 2 different directions at once.

    From the sarson ka kates of Uttar Pradesh…..

  13. Manju,

    Correction you should not only stop ranting against the New Deal, but also trying to paint it as being run by segregationists, because that was pretty much par for the course. Like in pre-WW2 Europe, most leaders were fascist, varying only by degree. That includes Churchill – who thanks to Madhusree Mukherjee’s searing expose now stands revealed for the ruthless racist thug he truly was.

    The moneyed thugs hired minions to crack strikers’ skulls, and these self-same minions also could be counted upon to beat up freedom riders. The New Deal by bringing America out of its oligarchic hell and mandating a socioeconomic safety net put an accountable government in charge rather than a moneyed thug. Of course the moneyed thugs didn’t like that which is why they tried to get Gen Butler to overthrow the government for them. Gen.Butler being true to himself turned on them. The moneyed thugs of the day and their minions – like the Tea Party morons of today – don’t mind government handouts as long as it is for themselves and not the truly needy.

    For some reason (maybe because you rant before you think) you seem to have gotten obsessed about this guilt by association thing. Liberal democracy is an ideal, New Deal is a program, and neither one is is tainted by who drives it. Moneyed thugs and their segregationist minions (and today’s tea party scum) support(ed) robber baronism because it frees them of any social responsibility. It is also ignorantly stupid as in Keep your government hands off my Medicare

    And that of course is before we start talking of the ignoramuses that represent the GOPers creationist Jindal (why do we need to spend money on volcano monitoring?) or Eric Cantor who is calling to shut down funding for the NSF.

    Pity Manju you weren’t around Sen.Byrd campaigned in W.Va. or his early membership of the KKK didn’t seem to matter to his constituents because you know he put that behind him and worked for his constituents. Unlike the crook Tom DeLay who worked for the Texas thugs?

  14. “Correction you should not only stop ranting against the New Deal, but also trying to paint it as being run by segregationists, because that was pretty much par for the course”

    You still have it backwards. I wasn’t painting the New Deal as being run by segregationists, but rather Segregation being run by New Dealers. I take your “par for the course” as a begrudged concession of this truth. Only, segregationism was a minority position by FDR’s time. Ergo, the importance of the filibuster. So, the everyone was doing it argument is ahistorical too.

    “Like in pre-WW2 Europe, most leaders were fascist, varying only by degree…the moneyed thugs…tried to get Gen Butler to overthrow the government for them”

    Sounds like your hooked on some lefty version of Glen Beck where fascists pop up everywhere. I’m not interested in some minor event in American history that provides fodder for conspiracy theories.

    “The moneyed thugs hired minions to crack strikers’ skulls, and these self-same minions also could be counted upon to beat up freedom riders. The New Deal by bringing America out of its oligarchic hell and mandating a socioeconomic safety net put an accountable government in charge rather than a moneyed thug.”

    Let me get your history straight. The moneyed thugs beat up unionists. They also plan a Fascist coup against FDR and hire General Whoever. So far, the conspiracy theory is at least internally consistent. But then you claim they also beat up freedom riders. Whats the motive? At the time, the very target of the alleged coup has a Segregationist in his VP slot. He also owns the south (as its a one-party state) and the racist vote. He delivers on his agreement to overlook segregation and lynching and throws in Tuskegee and the Japanese internment for good measure. So how in the world could FDRs enemies (moneyed thugs) also be FDRs friends (Dixiecrats)?

    “Pity Manju you weren’t around Sen.Byrd campaigned in W.Va. or his early membership of the KKK didn’t seem to matter to his constituents because you know he put that behind him”

    He didn’t put it behind him until the 1990s, when the first public acknowledgment of regret are known. Before that he climbed the dem ladder, going all the ways up to majority leader even though he was still a segregationist. Ted Kennedy urged him to run for the slot, even though he didn’t have seniority. This follows in the racism-enabling tradition of his asshole brother. Of course, the people of W.Va didn’t mind. It was a selling point. That’s what you call a southern strategy and liberal dems like Teddy played it rather brutally well. Thats real thuggism, not like your imaginary one.

  15. “Like in pre-WW2 Europe, most leaders were fascist, varying only by degree…the moneyed thugs…tried to get Gen Butler to overthrow the government for them”

    Sounds like your hooked on some lefty version of Glen Beck where fascists pop up everywhere. I’m not interested in some minor event in American history that provides fodder for conspiracy theories.”

    Manju, you can be counted on to provide a more holistic perspective knee-jerk leftism, which I appreciate, but here I must disagree.

    This is not some “minor event.” Gen. Smedley Butler was a veteran of the Spanish-American War (with its false flag salvo, now admitted even in mainstream history books) and the Philippino campaigns. Not to mention many ventures in Latin America. He was a Big Deal who by the 1930s said he was basically a gangster for big business, and that describes most military offensive actions in the post-modern world. “Conspiracy theories” are well-researched alternatives to the official, government-sponsored theories which tend to hit the air-waves immediately after the event in question. I’ve been around a few years in America–I know the drill. Civil War General Tecumseh Sherman of the notorious “March to the Sea”, said something to the effect that the real reasons for war, and the truth about politics, are never known to the masses of people and it is often better that way.

  16. George Smathers slept with a mixed race woman and had a daughter who looks slighly oriental