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Clinton best bet for Indian-Americans: Frank Islam

Sunday, Oct 30, 2016,13:19 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Washington |  Hillary Clinton is the best bet for the Indian community in the US, India-born American entrepreneur Frank Islam said today, asserting that the recent outreach by her Republican rival Donald Trump will do very little to impress the influential Indian-Americans.

“I believe she (Clinton) is the only safe bet for Indian Americans, Americans and the world. Her opponent is a risky bet in that he has no real track record of experience or expertise in public policy, government and international relations,” Islam, a philanthropist and top Indian-American fund raiser for the Clinton Campaign, said.

Among one of the top bundler’s for Clinton, Islam said a number of Indian-Americans are playing key roles in her campaign in different capacities.

“Many of us are raising money for the campaign. I believe nearly a dozen Indian-Americans have raised significant dollars for the secretary’s historic campaign,” said Islam, who is also a member of Clinton’s finance committee and has himself donated one million dollars to the campaign.

He is also participating on a South Asian work group and is providing input to the campaign on issues and areas such as small business and economic development where he has experience and expertise.

“The overriding issue out of the box must be what to do to address the populist outcry in both parties to ensure that the US is a fair place for individuals on all rungs of the socio-economic ladder,” he said.
Responding to a question on US-India relations, Islam said most Indian-Americans expect the next president to take the ties between the two nations to the next level.

“They want the US to build on the commitments that Clinton made to India when she was Secretary of State and President Barack Obama’s vision of India and the US being ‘indispensable partners’ in the future,” he said.

When asked about the impact of Trump’s recent address to an Indian-American charity event in New Jersey and his daughter-in-law attending a Diwali event in a Virginia Hindu temple, he said this is unlikely to have much of an impact.
“I believe his recent outreach will do very little to move the needle among Indian-American voters,” Islam said.

“Trump has participated in an event hosted by the Republican Hindu Coalition and he is now running ads speaking in Hindi. But, I think that is too little too late,” he said.

A recent survey showed that 67 per cent of Indian- Americans would vote for Clinton, whereas a mere seven per cent supported Trump.

In comparison, 16 per cent Indian-Americans had supported Romney in 2012, he noted.

“The bottom line for me personally is that none of my Indian-American acquaintances (Muslim or Hindu) have expressed a willingness to vote for Trump. He has very high 79 per cent unfavorable rating among Indian-Americans,” he said.

“I firmly believe that Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric may be attracting some Indian-Americans, but it is also repelling most Indian-Americans,” Islam said.

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