Where are Sikhs in the U.S. presidential campaigns?

Apparently everywhere! The Sikh News Network recently ran an analysis (imperfect stats, but interesting) on Sikh fundraising patterns in the current election. They claim that the “longtime affinity for Republicans” has been broken by Hillary Clinton [I’m not sure how prevalent that so-called “affinity” is for either party, but it is true that folks have funded Clinton heavily]:

According to data from the Federal Election Commission, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., led in Sikh contributions, receiving almost $248,000 through Jan. 31. Thats more than half of the total $412,000 from 241 donors. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was next with about $64,000. And among Republicans, former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson led with $24,400… While Sikhs gave slightly more to President Bush than Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., in the last election, the contributions to Democratic candidates have surged this time.

The article goes on to highlight the leadership roles that Rajwant Singh (Chair of SCORE and Clinton-supporter) and Ravinder Singh (attorney and policy advisor for Obama) have in the Democratic campaigns. I’ve already disclosed my bias, but I’ve found this election season to be really inspiring. I may be plagiarizing Michelle Obama, but for the first time in my adult (voting) life I’ve felt compelled to really engage in the political process. I’ve been excited by the number of Sikhs and young people in general taking ownership in the elections. This engagement also helps build a small but growing voice for long-term political advocacy.

We know that Sikh engagement in politics is not entirely new, and there are certainly a number of Sikhs in elected office across local governments in the U.S. However, it seems like the nature, dynamic, and depth of Sikh involvement is growing by leaps and bounds.

  • What does this engagement mean for us as a community,
  • and how does it guide our work inside and outside of formal political bureaucracies?

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4 Responses to “Where are Sikhs in the U.S. presidential campaigns?”

  1. sonny says:

    it seems to me that a lot of sikhs in the US have gotten more politically engaged since 9/11, which has been a positive thing. people like my parents, who are upper middle class and used to not be all that concerned with politics have been outraged at the aftermath of 9/11 and the backwards role that the bush administration has been playing in the world.

    regarding this election, there's been a lot of excitement about obama representing real change, something different, hope, etc. while his rhetoric is at time inspiring and i do hope he wins the primaries and goes on to win the election, it's important for us to understand the reality of the situation with the democratic party and what they actually intend to (not) change. check this out for a great comparison of the dem candidates: http://www.indypendent.org/2008/02/04/the-indy%e2

    my point is that i'd like to see sikhs engaging in politics and organizing beyond elections. i'd love to hear about more sikh community and labor organizers, anti-war activists, and generally shaking up the status quo. the increased engagement in electoral politics may be a good sign, but i hope it's just the beginning of sikhs being a stronger force in movements for social and economic justice.

  2. sonny says:

    it seems to me that a lot of sikhs in the US have gotten more politically engaged since 9/11, which has been a positive thing. people like my parents, who are upper middle class and used to not be all that concerned with politics have been outraged at the aftermath of 9/11 and the backwards role that the bush administration has been playing in the world.

    regarding this election, there’s been a lot of excitement about obama representing real change, something different, hope, etc. while his rhetoric is at time inspiring and i do hope he wins the primaries and goes on to win the election, it’s important for us to understand the reality of the situation with the democratic party and what they actually intend to (not) change. check this out for a great comparison of the dem candidates: http://www.indypendent.org/2008/02/04/the-indy%e2%80%99s-guide-to-the-primaries/

    my point is that i’d like to see sikhs engaging in politics and organizing beyond elections. i’d love to hear about more sikh community and labor organizers, anti-war activists, and generally shaking up the status quo. the increased engagement in electoral politics may be a good sign, but i hope it’s just the beginning of sikhs being a stronger force in movements for social and economic justice.

  3. Marine Kaur says:

    While the data is imperfect, SikhNN clearly indicates how it was gathered. Most news sites are not so up front. I congratulate them for doing it right.

  4. Marine Kaur says:

    While the data is imperfect, SikhNN clearly indicates how it was gathered. Most news sites are not so up front. I congratulate them for doing it right.