Why do Indian Americans Support Obama?

Visi R. Tilak, Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2012

An overwhelming 85% of Indian Americans support Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election, according to a poll conducted earlier this year. The results of the study, which were published in early May, also revealed that only 67% of Indian Americans polled voted for Obama in 2008.

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Mr. Obama has shown strong support for Indian Americans, appointing them to some of the highest offices and continuing to laud the contribution of Asian Americans, even though his outsourcing policies have raised eyebrows.

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Mr. Obama has appointed many Indian Americans to key positions, including Preet Bharara—U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Aneesh Chopra—U.S. Federal Chief Technology Officer; Deepa Gupta—Member, National Council on the Arts; Arunava Joshi Majumdar—Under Secretary of Energy; and Subra Suresh, Director of the National Science Foundation.  Earlier this year, the Obama Campaign also appointed actor Kalpen Modi (better known as Kal Penn), California’s first female attorney general, Kamala Harris, and former White House intern and Virginia Commonwealth University student Sai Iyer as co-chairs of the re-election campaign.

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A May 14 fundraiser organized by Raj Goyle, a Democratic Indian American politician from Kansas, was indicative of the community’s growing sense of political empowerment. Mr. Goyle, who represented the 87th District in the Kansas House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011, hosted the event at the Rubin Museum in New York—which some refer to as a $100 million love letter to South Asia. There was a private cocktail reception with the president, featuring food inspired by the Himalayas and exclusively prepared by world renowned Indian American chef Vikas Khanna.

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