Democrat minority politics send Chinatown plumping for Trump, other Asians may follow suit
RN Bhaskar Oct 26, 2016 17:13 IST
With the commencement of early elections, there is growing unease in the Hillary Clinton camp. Most Chinese in and around Silicon Valley are said to have decided en bloc to vote for Donald Trump. The reason: The willingness of Hillary’s party to play the minority game in order to win votes.
The issue revolves around a proposal to limit state funding of education and medicare for people on the basis of demographic representation, not merit. Hitherto, medicare funds were made available on the basis of need, irrespective of colour or caste. Ditto with education where scholarships have conventionally gone to the most meritorious (and at times to the needy as well, but without sacrificing the merit criterion). Merit could include academic scores, athletics, and artistic talent with proven accomplishments.
Now, the government has been pushing a proposal that would reduce the allocation of such funds based on demographic representation. Thus, since Asians account for 15 percent of the population in California, only 15% of the scholarships would go to Asians. In this case, the beneficiaries would be the Latinos.
The Chinese were the first to spot the consequences of such legislation, and lobbied hard against it. This became evident by speaking to mainland Chinese who have been in touch with their nation’s counterparts in the US.
Last week, the proposal got amended and a new ruling got passed in the state of California making it applicable only to medicare benefits. The Chinese were more concerned about education, so the crisis appeared to have been resolved.
But most Chinese know that this is just the thin edge of a wedge. It’s only a matter of time till the politicians expand the scope of this legislation to education, or spread it to other states. That is why they do not want Hillary or her party in power. They see this party as stoking community fires. And they have decided to vote against her.
It is not known whether the Indian community also thinks the same way, even though it is the second largest (and the richest) ethnic community in the US.
But then playing politics with communities is not new. And, if you thought only India was actively engaged in promoting reservations for the backward, think again. It has been happening in the US too. The only difference is that they use “affirmative discrimination” to represent it in the US, instead of “backward”. And there is always a moral justification for doing things that are patently meant to swing a community’s votes in favour of one party.
Barack Obama (the outgoing president but from the same party as Hillary’s) tried this by mooting a law that would give citizenship to all illegal immigrants especially from Mexico and other Hispanic countries. Everyone knew that this was an attempt to get the Hispanic votes during election time. But the courts intervened. They struck down the proposal, stating that it was being introduced at a time that was uncomfortably close to the election.
Incidentally, the pitch against Hillary could be queered by another development. Television broadcasts this morning reveal how the premiums on medicare under the “Obamacare” plan could rise by over 25 percent next year. This has put the fright into most people, and they have begun to fear the sting in many of Obama’s proposals. True, Hillary has stated that some parts of the “Obama-care” legislation will have to be mended, but reports of increase in premium has raised an alarm. The thoughtless provisions of this legislation have made many people suspect the intentions of the party in power.
But, how badly these developments will hurt Hillary, or benefit Trump, we will know only after the results get announced on 8 November.