US Elections 2016: Dilemma for Indians in Cleveland over presidential choices

Cleveland and its neighbouring suburbs have more than 30,000 Indian-Americans.

By: PTI | Cleveland | Published:October 24, 2016 2:20 pm
US Elections 2016, Indian Americans, Indians in Cleveland, US elections Indian Americans, US presidential elections, Donald Trump, Trump, Hillary Clinton, Clinton, US news, world news, latest news, indian express Indian-Americans in Cleveland remain largely divided over Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. (File Photo)

Several Indian-Americans living here are in a dilemma of whom to vote for in the November 8 presidential polls, with many of them tilting towards Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, saying Donald Trump’s statements regarding women and immigration scare them. Issues closer to their heart reviving the economy, terrorism and immigration brings them closer to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. They do not want another four years of Obama administration by voting for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton either.

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However, Trump’s recent rhetoric and statements regarding women scares them, which they feel is leaning towards dictatorial tendencies.

“The Republican candidate does not have the values and character to run this country,” Satish Parikh, one of the key figures of the Indian-American community here told PTI.

Parikh, living here for more than three decades, in the initial phase of the election cycle, he found himself closer to the policies of Trump but not after he threatened to put Clinton in jail in the second debate and refused to accept results of the polls in the third debate.

“So my position is in limbo. I am confused now, but certainly I am not voting for Trump. We are voting against Trump, not for Hillary. If there was a better Republican, I would have voted for him. I would not have voted for Hillary,” said Dhaval Chowkshi, a businessman here for more than three decades.

His father Raj came to the US at the age of 68 after retiring from the Gujarat government.

“His (Trump’s) policies on immigration, terrorism are positive things but his approach towards democracy is leaning towards dictatorship. This is the reason people here (in the community) are voting against him,” Raj said.

Cleveland and its neighbouring suburbs have more than 30,000 Indian-Americans who are in much diverse fields ranging from businesses to academics and research, according to unofficial estimates.

Indian-American women here said they have credibility issues with Clinton but after what Trump said against women in recent videos and the last two debates, it is unlikely that they would vote for the Republican nominee.

“I heard the debate. He used offensive language against women. It is not good for a presidential candidate to say such words about woman. This is a democratic country and his statements and behaviour are certainly not good for it,” said Meena Sethi, who has been here for the past several decades.

“There are some strong negative points against Hillary too. So we have to take a decision who is the lesser evil but certainly I am not going to vote for Trump,” she said.

Her husband Ashok said Trump has issues with everybody, with women, Muslims and African-Americans.

“Today it is with Muslims. Tomorrow it could be anybody, us too. He has to realise that this is a country of immigrants. It is a country of all of us,” he said.

“The issues raised by Trump are right but he is not the solution,” said Chowkshi.

However, Prakash N Sinha, publisher and editor of a local Indian-American magazine ‘India International’, said there is a deep undercurrent in favour of Trump inside the Indian-Americans.

“People do not want to say this in public but quite a large number of Indian-Americans are supporting Trump mainly because of his comment on radical Islamic terrorism,” said Sinha, a former journalist with Times of India in late 70s, after which he moved to the US for family reasons.