Vanita Gupta and Neera Tanden: Two Biden Nominees in the Political Crosshairs

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Two Indian American women, Gupta and Tanden, are among the diverse nominees for influential positions in the Biden-Harris administration and need Senate confirmation. Gupta for Associate Attorney General and Tanden for the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Both are clearly qualified, yet face fierce opposition.

Gupta and Tanden have some similarities and many differences. They were both born to Indian immigrant parents. Tanden was raised by a single mother and lived on welfare, after her parents divorced when she was five. Both Gupta and Tanden hold degrees from Yale. Gupta served as the Civil Rights point person in Barack Obama’s Justice Department. Tanden had a lead role in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential campaign.

Gupta hasn’t met with the senators yet. Gupta is a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and will take the steps necessary to make American justice color blind which it is not. The campaign against her is based on fear that she will make a difference and make Black lives better. Ahead of her hearings, the opposition is planning a massive advertising campaign. Without any basis to deny her qualifications, the opposition is hoping to ramp up claims of ‘’defund the police’’ rhetoric to derail her candidacy.

Tanden is in the political middle in the mold of Biden, to the extent Biden represents the middle. In her past role as a surrogate in Clinton’s campaign, she has made disparaging statements against senators in the left, the right, and the middle. Those are exactly the senators whose support she will need to win the nomination. The plan to derail her and set Biden back is about personality and politics. At the time of writing, one Democratic senator has said he would vote against Tanden, setting back her nomination.

Whether or not Gupta and Tanden are confirmed by the Senate, they are among the current generation of Americans of Indian origin who care about the plight of the underprivileged and have much to offer. Kamala Harris is not an anomaly.

Here are some questions to ponder. Will one or both these nominations succeed? Is it just a coincidence that the two in the political crosshairs are women? Is it also a coincidence that they are women of color? Or is it just that the opposition sees two qualified women determined to make a difference in key positions and aims to stop them in their tracks? You be the judge!

A thought for the Black History Month.

Have you had a chance to check in on the book tour of Four Hundred Souls?

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Vijay Violet

I am an American. I care about the planet, its people and animals. I care about the oppressed and marginalized. And I care about the poor, both working and not.