We are not working just for Trump, we are working for whole America. We want this country to be peaceful and prosperous.
For the first time, Bharatiyas in the US are showing indications that some of them may support the Republican candidate Donald Trump in the presidential election to be held in November 2016. Several developments may have prompted this change of their perspective. Dr Amar Dev Amar, a leading Bharatiya academician in the US, is heading a Political Action Committee (PAC) that has been set up to support Trump. In an interview, to senior journalist Dilip Chaware why and how that transformation has come about. Excerpts
Although Bharatiyas are seen as traditional supporters of the Democratic Party, you have chosen to go with the Republicans. What prompted you to take this step?
It is true that Bharatiyas have been traditional supporters of the Democrats, but not all of them. According to our estimates and various statistics available, earlier about 18 per cent of Bharatiyas were with the Republicans, now the number may have grown up to around 30 per cent. One reason for this shift may be that the Bharatiyas settled here have become more affluent and their thinking has undergone change. They have come to accept the way the Republicans wish to run this country. Overall, I would say that if more Bharatiyas are active as Republicans, it will ultimately help and benefit Bharat.
In 2008, many Bharatiyas sided with Barack Obama. However, in the eight years of this administration, they have started feeling that the policies of Donald Trump and his vision are closer to their ideas of how this country should be run. There is a demographic difference, too. A large number of them have become citizens of the US.
You have formed and are heading a PAC to support Trump. What is the background of this decision?
Seeing the statements and policies of Donald Trump, a large number of Bharatiyas felt that his ideas are better for America. I was one of them. We formed a focus group last December. Subsequently, we decided to form a PAC to support Trump. Our agenda is to spread the information about Trump, educate about the electors about him. We have decided not to raise any
funding for our activity. We can say that we are not working just for Trump, we are working for peaceful and prosperous America.
What is the response of the Bharatiya community to your PAC?
The response to our effort is extremely good. We propagate our message through local TV channels, radio stations and newspapers.
What are your plans and strategy to canvass for Donald Trump?
We approach Indians through social and traditional media. Other members and I regularly speak on radio, give newspaper interviews and propagate to elect Trump.
Are you worried by some of the statements of Trump or the stand he has taken about Muslims or immigrants?
This is a valid question. It is also true that Trump’s such statements helped him to gain Republican endorsement. Of course, that is past. He will have to expand and appeal to the entire spectrum of voters. Therefore, it is obvious that he will have to make some changes. Perhaps you may have noticed that he is changing his tone. On the other hand, his assertions are factual. For instance, this country has an estimated 20 million illegal immigrants. Though the government says their number is around 11.5 million, the reality is that the number is very large. The US does not want this to continue. Trump has touched upon all these issues.
What is your assessment of the eight years of the Obama administration?
Yes, the situation has aggravated over the past eight years. The Obama administration has been unable to rectify the trade deficit with China, which is now about 367 billion dollars. We are hurting ourselves by making China strong is factual. The countries that benefit because of the US are China, Japan, Germany, Mexico and South Korea. In return, the US gets nothing. We have lost our industrial infrastructure because of this development. Nonetheless, it should be noted that Trump initially spoke against Bharat. But the day our PAC was formed, he made some positive comments about Bharat. In later days, he has not commented against Bharat.
Relations between Bharat and the US have been improving over the years. The recent visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been a landmark development. I have not seen any Bharatiya Prime Minister receiving such spectacular reception in Washington DC. In my view, Trump will be much better since Hillary Clinton is influenced by a lobby of anti-India people.