Indian American Community Reflects the Sentiments of a Divided Nation, Responding to Trump Conviction

Feature and Cover Indian American Community Reflects the Sentiments of a Divided Nation Responding to Trump Conviction

According to The YouGov survey, conducted immediately after former President Donald Trump was convicted in all 34 counts in the New York hush money trial, 50 percent of Americans agreed with the jury on the members’ decision to convict the former president. In the same survey, about 19 percent said they were “not sure” if they agreed with the decision and about 30 percent said they didn’t agree.

Trump became the first former U.S. president to be a convicted felon Thursday, May 30, 2024 after a jury found him guilty on all counts of falsifying business records in connection with hush money payments his then-fixer, Michael Cohen, made to porn actor Stormy Daniels, ahead of the 2016 election.

Shortly following the jury reading the verdict, Trump railed against the trial outside the courtroom. “This was a rigged, disgraceful trial. The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5 by the people, and they know what happened here, and everybody knows what happened here,” Trump said. “This is a scam,” he said of the case brought by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office led by Alvin Bragg, overseen by Judge Juan Merchan.
President Joe Biden criticized Trump over his language on the trial’s fairness. “It’s reckless, it’s dangerous, it’s irresponsible for anyone to say this was rigged just because they don’t like the verdict,” the president said. “Our justice system should be respected, and we should never allow anyone to tear it down; it’s as simple as that,” he added.

House Speaker Mike Johnson said it was a “shameful day in American history” and the charges were “purely political.” Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance said the verdict was a “disgrace to the judicial system.” And Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, the No. 2 House Republican, said that the decision was “a defeat for Americans who believe in the critical legal tenet that justice is blind.”

Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of the Advancement Project Action Fund civil rights group, including several racial justice advocates, is using the historic moment to remind the hush money trial was just part of a broader narrative around electoral justice. Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP called the verdict against Trump “a monumental step toward justice for the American people.” Johnson, who leads the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, said Trump’s criminal conviction ought to disqualify him from the Oval Office.

While the nation has reacted differently to the verdict, the Indian American community has reflected its views by one’s political ideology. Indian American community that overwhelmingly votes for Democrats—whose prominence in American public life is relatively new, is now fielding multiple political candidates on the national stage, in addition to having elected several lawmakers at the national, state, and local levels.

The rapid rise of Indian Americans is one of the most startling domestic events in 21st-century America and one of the great success stories of liberal multiculturalism. Indian Americans are now the most economically successful ethnic group in America. The community’s views have evolved, with some Indian Americans leaving the Democratic fold, and embracing the conservative Republican Party.

While some have expressed overwhelming support for the verdict, others see this as an abuse of power by the Democrats to deny Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee the White House.

“No one is above the law. It was good that the Manhattan DA and his team did a great job in convincing the jury that former President Trump is guilty of all charges, said Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, GOPIO International. “When we have a constitution and rule of law in this country, everyone has to follow. The courts have to hear the grievances of the society at large, and in this case through DA, and punish those who break the laws. That is the way democratic institutions work. If Trump feels that this is not a correct verdict, he can still appeal.”

However, Nithin George Eapen, thinks the verdict is politically motivated. “In my opinion, this verdict against Trump is nothing more than a political circus orchestrated by the liberal elites of the Democratic Party in New York, says Eapen, an Entrepreneur and Investor, well known for his expertise and eloquence as a Three-time TEDx Speaker. “This case highlights the deep divisions and contentious nature of American politics and justice. The verdict by a majority liberal jury symbolizes the erosion of American values, edging the nation closer to becoming a Banana Republic.”

Eapen says, these individuals, once beneficiaries of Trump’s donations, now seek to undermine him because they perceive him as a threat to their political dominance. They are determined to prevent someone they consider beneath their social class from gaining power again. This move by the political elite is an attempt to protect their own interests by using the power of the legal process in their control to damage Trump’s influence before the November election, where they have a vulnerable candidate.

Eapen is of the belief that “Nothing will happen to Trump as he will appeal and most likely win also and that process will take time. This will energize his base and gain sympathies for a man being targeted by the leviathan. In the meanwhile now he can get back on the campaign trail and raise money. The case was able to keep him off the campaign trail and give edge to their the senile lethargic vulnerable candidate. In a constitutional republic, targeting political opponents when in power can backfire, as those opponents may one day control the same state machinery of police and courts. This sets a dangerous precedent though potentially leading to endless taxpayer money being wasted on frivolous cases in the future by every set of unforgiving political elite.”

Rajeshwar Prasad, founder and chairman of The National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens (NIAASC) summed it up this way: “Today’s verdict against Trump shows that nobody is above the LAW. Guilty on all 34 criminal counts. A very sad chapter in the political history of the. United States.”

Dr. Mathew Joys, a well-known writer and past BOD Secretary of the Indo-American Press Club takes us back to the past while relating to the present case. “34 COUNT GUILTY! There are instances of Former Presidents getting into hush money cases and sex scandals, and it is not a hot story for Americans. The sexual misconduct scandals surrounding then-President Bill Clinton with Monica Lewinsky or Paula Jones and past President Donald Trump with Stormy Daniels both might look similar— two former presidents paying money to women with whom they had sexual relations.”

According to Dr. Joys, “The most significant and crucial difference is that Clinton belongs to the Democrats, the ruling party, whereas Trump is a Republican. Clinton mutually reached an out-of-court settlement. In contrast, Trump privately arranged his payments to keep Daniels from speaking publicly in the first place. If so, the verdicts could have been similar, too. It seems the Court is showing some mercy by allowing Trump to remain in the current Presidential Election campaigns.

Dr. Joys points to Trump’s statement after the verdict: “I’m a very innocent man,” Trump told reporters, vowing that the “real verdict” would come from voters on election day. He branded the trial “rigged” and a “disgrace.”

Vinay Mahajan, an entrepreneur and the President & CEO of NAM Info Inc., agrees. “The US legal system works, even an ex-President is not above the law. The Jury has found President Trump guilty. The justice will take its own course, and there will be an appeal at the higher courts. We should not rush our judgments. Let us wait for the highest court of the country to decide. The final decision will be made in the People’s Court in November.”

While the nation is still trying to accept the new reality that a former President of the nation is a convicted felon, the verdict and its impact can be very long-lasting. One cannot agree less with POLITICO, which wrote recently: “On the one hand, it is a powerful demonstration that in this country even a former head of state can be indicted and convicted by a group of his peers. On the other hand, the fact that one of the two men likely to be president next year is now a convicted felon sets up the possibility that those very same judicial institutions that guarantee the rule of law will come under the most ferocious political attack in our history.”

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