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Will Kamala Harris act as catalyst in US politics?

Kamala Harris
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Kamala Harris

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Kamala Harris: A domino effect is the cumulative effect produced when one event sets off a chain of similar events

Kamala Harris: A domino effect is the cumulative effect produced when one event sets off a chain of similar events. The term is best known as a mechanical effect and is used as an analogy to a falling row of dominoes. The domino effect states that when you make a change to one behaviour, it will activate a chain reaction and cause a shift in related behaviours as well.

When presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden picked Sen. Kamala Devi Harris as his running mate last Tuesday, Indian American family WhatsApp groups exploded with joy that one of their own might make history as the first woman Vice President, American media reported. Indian Americans forwarded the New York Post's frontpage calling Harris "President-in-Waiting."

They sent photos of Harris with her sari-clad relatives, along with videos of the senator from California cooking South India's dish of choice — masala dosa. Indian Americans voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016, 77 percent to 16 percent, according to the National Asian American Survey, which was conducted soon after the election.

Asian American Voters Survey said it expected Harris to help increase the number of votes Biden receives from Indian Americans, especially among independents. Of those Indian Americans who are registered to vote, 46 percent said they thought of themselves as Democrats and 19 percent as Republicans, while 35 percent identified with neither party, according to the post-election National Asian American Survey.

Now comes the question - how much does race or racism matter in the US elections? Particularly, at this point of time? Donald Trump always trusted in his supremacist roots and thrived on the same during his elections. After John Floyd's killing, America's down under hit the streets and Democrats, of course, were into it fully.

The anger against the Trump rule over his failure to contain coronavirus cases and his daily prittle-prattle and the continued killings of blacks for no reason at all has reworked the social equations to a good extent in the US. However, whether the Biden-Harris combo could convert this into votes is to be seen.

In fact, though there is a deja vu, it is more confined to Democrats. Even after the nomination of Kamala as the running mate of Biden, there are doubts among the people over her contribution because she has always minimised her Indian identity herself more as a black which makes her constituency and that of the Democrats now, the very same. As for the Indians, Kamala's identity could also prove to be a dividing force.

Indians are a rising political force in the country, but they are always fluid with wide ranging preferences. A good segment of Indians is still a neutral block. Trump is banking on them... thanks to Modi. There is another schism - of the North and the South, among Indians - that is going to be crucial (after all Indians!).

Who has more money power? American elections are all about money. The supremacists and the Republicans are a monolith block, racially speaking. Will the rest of the US raise against Trump? Racism is a factor in the US election now, but it is not the only factor. Can Kamala create the required domino effect?

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