US elections 2016: Jindal explores White House run, Indian Americans soften hostility
If Bobby Jindal, who has set up a committee to explore a presidential run, does jump in, Indian Americans appear ready to support him, overcoming past reservations.
The community, which has about 1.5 million votes and considerably more financial clout, has felt aggrieved by, as seen by it, a studied attempt by Jindal to distance himself from it.
Many of them supported him in his previous races — for governor and congress — irrespective of their party affiliations, and felt “dumped”, as he cut himself loose, apparently.
Jindal announced an exploratory committee on Monday, saying, “For some time now, my wife Supriya and I have been thinking and praying about whether to run for the Presidency.”
“If I run, my candidacy will be based on the idea that the American people are ready to try a dramatically different direction. Not a course correction, but a dramatically different path.”
He is the second Republican to have announced an exploratory committee for the 2016 race, an optional first-step towards a full-fledged run, after Jeb Bush, former Florida governor.
Jindal, a two-term Louisiana governor, has been preparing for a run for a while, but has trailed badly in most opinion polls, which he has dismissed as too early to be taken seriously.
But if decides to press ahead, and run, he will find Indian American ready to welcome him back into the fold, and support his candidacy, if he asked and worked towards it.
“He is good man, a bright guy,” said K V Kumar, who has worked with two Republican presidents. “People misunderstand him for the way he speaks. He needs to change that.’
Jindal famously said some weeks ago that he was tired of hyphenated Americans. “I don't know about you, I'm tired of the hyphenated Americans. No more 'African-Americans.' No more 'Indian-Americans.' No more ‘Asian-Americans.” He added his parents came to the US not to rise Indian Americans.
That remark upset some in the community who argued that he doesn’t have to give up his heritage to look and become mainstream — “would Rubio give-up being Cuban American?”
Republican senator Marco Rubio, who has declared he is running for the White House, is Cuban American and is expected to use that to reach out to Hispanics.
But there is a growing understanding in the community of why, if at all, Jindal did indeed move away from the community. He had to, they acknowledged, to broaden his appeal.
“I don’t know his reasons, but he probably did that to appear mainstream,” said Puneet Ahluwalia, a Republican strategist, adding, "and that's a good enough reason."
The 21-year-old man arrested for allegedly carrying out a mass shooting during a July 4 parade in a Chicago suburb was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder on Tuesday, prosecutors said. Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart said Robert Crimo of Highwood, Illinois, would eventually face "dozens of more charges." He said Crimo, if convicted, would face a mandatory life sentence without parole.
UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet and the United States both called Tuesday for a swift investigation into the deadly clashes at mass protests in Uzbekistan. Authorities in Uzbekistan said Monday that 18 people had died in clashes in the autonomous Karakalpakstan region on Friday after demonstrations erupted over planned constitutional changes affecting the territory's status. The United States separately voiced concern and urged all sides to seek a "peaceful resolution" to the tensions.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson late Tuesday named his Iraqi-born education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, as finance minister after the shock resignation of Rishi Sunak. Downing Street said Queen Elizabeth II had approved the appointment of Zahawi, who came to Britain as a child with his Kurdish family not speaking any English, before forging a lucrative business career. The prime minister named another loyalist, Michelle Donelan, to take Zahawi's place at the education ministry.
The gunman who attacked an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago fired more than 70 rounds with an AR-15-style gun that killed at least seven people, then evaded initial capture by dressing as a woman and blending into the fleeing crowd, police said Tuesday. More than 30 people were wounded in the attack, including one who died Tuesday, task force spokesman Christopher Covelli said. Robert Crimo spent several weeks planning the assault, Covelli said.
Scandinavian Airlines on Tuesday filed for bankruptcy in the United States, warning a walkout by 1,000 pilots a day earlier had put the future of the carrier at risk. The Stockholm-based SAS airline group said it had “voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 in the U.S., a legal process for financial restructuring conducted under U.S. federal court supervision.” Filing for Chapter 11 in New York puts civil litigation on hold while the business reorganizes its finances.