During election years, everybody is supposed to genuflect to Hispanic Numbers, although the usual acts of obeisance are often inept. For example, the Obama Administration engineered that the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in Arizona go to Richard Carmona, a guy with a remarkable track record: high school dropout; Vietnam vet; sheriff; nurse; doctor; surgeon; was shot by a lunatic but the wounded Carmona pulled his gun and killed the shooter; Surgeon General under Bush; the GOP wanted him to run for Congress in 2006; but he then changed from Republican to Independent in protest over various Bush policies.
The only problem is: Carmona's not Mexican. He's a Puerto Rican from New York City. This is a general problem: 35 million Mexicans in the U.S. and not a lot of amazing individuals. Thus, the recent silliness of everybody pretending the ceremonial mayor of San Antonio is really a powerhouse executive.
All immigrant groups are not created equal. Polish Catholics, for instance, appear roughly equal in number to Jews in the U.S., but have negligible clout in U.S. culture outside of maybe outfielders. Consider the Borat episode in 2006, in which Polish-American complaints about being assaulted with a giant old-fashioned Polish Joke of the kind that Yiddish-speakers brought to the U.S., and having Borat wildly celebrated by Jewish critics went virtually unheard.
Likewise, I've often argued that in the long run, the most important element of the current immigration mix in terms of setting the tone of politics in the future are not Mexicans, but South Asians. They are articulate in English, and are one of the few groups who seem to like to argue in public. Indians, though, seem to lack the edge, that motor of internal hostility and aggression that makes male Jews the reigning World's Heavyweight Champs at both getting the last word and at being funny. For example, on the Atlantic Magazine's 2009 list of the most important pundits in America, Jewish men were over-represented by a factor of about 50.
But it's easy to imagine a future in which Asian Indians rank second among ethnic groups in opinion-molding in America.
So, it's important to study the voting and ideology of South Asians. They are a high income group from a socially conservative part of the world, so they are natural Republicans, right.?From theGuardian:
An impressive 84% of the 2.85 million-strong Indian-American community voted for Mr Obama in 2008, second perhaps only to African-Americans as a minority group.
Has he still got their love? It appears so.
According to a Pew Research Center survey released in June, 65% of Indian-Americans approve of the way Mr Obama is handling the presidency.
Of all the Asian American groups surveyed, Indian-Americans were the most Democratic-leaning, again at 65%. Only 18% favoured Republicans.
Well, good luck Republicans with the rest of the 21st Century. You will need it.
The most obvious step is to take away South Asians' valuable status as minorities eligible for various minority-only benefits to business. Go back to pre-1982 when they were just Caucasians not entitled to racial spoils. Right now, South Asians have a financial incentive to identify as victimized minorities — indeed, the applications Indian entrepreneurs have to fill out for government benefits in terms of procurement and loans often demand that they concoct narratives about how discriminated against they are by whites. Remove this destructive incentive and the traditional South Asian aspiration to whiteness will re-emerge.