By Samir Shukla
Sitting on the 12th floor balcony of a high-rise hotel overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on a bright August evening, looking down at the crowds of diverse folks milling about on the sand, bobbing in the ocean, playing with kids, I thought of the carefree conviviality of the hundreds within my view. Some of them are likely deep political partisans, but in these summertime blendings, the ocean breeze mellowing out even the grumpiest grumps, the incoming political season probably wasn’t on many minds. People were courteous and friendly to a fault.
The soft ocean breeze pushed aside the hot winds of August that are blowing around the country and rustling up the divisiveness of the incoming political season that will pick up speed as September rolls around. Extreme partisan political pressures are constantly trying to undress our democratic institutions and processes. The firewall against these sinister forces is the quiet majority, the moderates, the ones that do the real work and daily drudgery of running towns, neighborhoods, states, and the country. The large middle is the backbone of this country, politically and economically.
The sweetness of summer is slowly fading, the workers of tomorrow’s world are heading back to school, and in all directions the political winds leading up to 2024 presidential election are now blowing, and its gonna get windy.
The Republicans held their first Presidential primary debate in late August (it was held after we went to press so I can’t give my thoughts on it). It was the first official brawl for the Republican nomination. There are others. Democrats are not holding Presidential primary debates, essentially accepting that President Biden will win the nomination, even though a couple of Democrats have joined the race.
A new third party has assembled and is working to get on ballots in all states. I’ll talk more about them in future pieces. Established third parties are still there, lurking in the shadows, but remain, for all practical purposes, irrelevant.
I have worked as an Election Poll worker for many years. It’s a thankless job, but I feel I must contribute to help our election processes continue unabated. Election doubters and deniers try to denigrate these processes, but as the 2022 mid-term elections proved, they do this in futile, self-serving manner. There were warnings of violence and disturbances at polls. They didn’t happen. The reality is that our democratic and electoral processes are time honored, time honed and worth fighting for. They work. Sure, there will be some errors and attempts at fraud, but these things are generally caught and dealt with.
The process has evolved and worked for many decades while so many people of all political persuasions work during elections to help make them transparent and fair. Our Democracy is messy, as is the nature of such systems, and partisans are constantly trying to undress and redress it in their ideologies, but our elections remain fair. Partisans also try to strip bare and undermine our democratic institutions. They continually fail.
The political involvement and influence of Indian Americans continues to grow. Many are now running for office, even for the highest office in the land. These numbers will only get larger, in all political spheres – local, regional, and national. The Indian American population is about one percent of the US population but now wields outsized economic and educational influence. In time, slowly but surely, political influence.
The American political season is brewing and is now off to the races. India will also hold national elections next year when Prime Minister Modi will be seeking a third term. The two most prominent democracies will enable citizens to exercise their duties in massive elections in 2024.
The American presidential fight is going to be ugly, as will be many other regional, statewide, and national races, posing a continuing challenge for our democracy, but the extreme partisans will only get so far, because the quiet masses will work to keep things moving. Will it be a rematch between Biden and Trump? Don’t write that book just yet. It is still early and anything can happen, especially on the Republican side.
India’s elections will also be loud and boisterous.
On the regional front, there are primaries in September at a few cities in North Carolina for the 2023 municipal and local elections, which will take place in early November of this year. This will accelerate the maneuverings that have already begun for the big prize next year. The breeze has been blowing steadily and now the winds are arriving. Like it or not, it’s off to the political races. How will you dress for the occasions?