Indian American women disappointed over Elizabeth Warren’s exit from presidential race

Elizabeth Warren

Many in community saw Warren as the only chance, America could have a woman President.

Nikita Ahuja, a 36-year-old advertising professional from Massachusetts, admits that she had an uneasy morning drive to work today.

She says, “I was clouded with thoughts, that with Elizabeth Warren exiting the race, the only fair chance of having a woman president in America is dashed.”

There is a reason Ahuja was rooting for Warren. As a child of immigrant parents growing up in America, she had heard stories from her mom who left India during the early 70s of the Indian woman prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

She says, “After I grew up and studied a bit on Indian politics, even though I did not agree with Gandhi on all her policies, it struck me that for a generation of Indian women homemakers like my mom, to have a woman as a strong world leader meant a lot.”

“India had it in the 60s and America still hasn’t had a woman President,” Ahuja said. “It struck me as odd mostly because in many ways, the US remains ahead in terms of women’s rights vis-à-vis India.”

With Warren ending her year-long rigorous campaign, many Democrat leaning first generation Indian Americans are disappointed.

While a lot of immigrants from India who built life from scratch in the US are supporting Joe Biden, in a cultural shift of sorts, their adult kids are looking at more progressive candidates like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.

Diksha Shah, who is a sophomore in New Jersey, says, “Even though I am not yet eligible to vote, my sister who goes to a university informs me that a lot of desi and brown girls liked Sen Warren for her grit and policies. It’s sad to see her exit.”

Growing up in America, as a brown can be riddled with conflicts and many youngsters need validation from candidates that seem to show empathy towards human rights and policies that talk about equality.

For many voters of color this drew them towards Sanders. And for many women the fact that Warren as a presidential candidate said – “I am running for a President, because that’s what girls do,” came as a major boost.

But was Warren’s fandom among some Indian-origin girls only due to her gender? “No,” say those watching American politics closely.

Sama Kumar of Connecticut says, “We also felt drawn towards Warren because she was not just a woman candidate with no clear plan. She in fact charted out a clear Medicare for All plan with details on financial mechanism.”

With the Super Tuesday, changing the course of presidential campaigns once more, one would have to wait to see how the South Asian voters realign themselves.

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