The US midterm elections: India, China and outsourcing become attack ad topics
November 9, 2010
The mid-term elections in the USA are just around the corner and as with other recent elections, the heated topic of outsourcing has come up – especially since many of the GOP challengers have business and private sector backgrounds. For example:
- On the East End of Long Island in New York, Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop is accusing GOP candidate Randy Altschuler of shipping American jobs to India who in turn is saying that he created hundreds of jobs in the USA.
- In the Connecticut Senate race, Democrat Richard Blumenthal is accusing his challenger, former wrestling CEO Linda McMahon, that her company had profited from manufacturing that was done in foreign countries.
- In the Arkansas Senate race, Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s supporters ran attack ads against Bill Halter during the primary that caricatured Indians.
- In Illinois, Democratic Rep. Phil Hare is running attack ads against Republican Bobby Schilling that flatly states: “Bobby Schilling: Good for India and China.” The ads then state that be is focused on creating jobs in places like India and China.
- In Ohio, Democratic Rep. Zack Space is accusing his Republican opponent, Bob Gibbs, of supporting free-trade deals that sent jobs to China by running attack ads with a giant dragon while a narrator sarcastically thanks the Republican by commenting: “As they say in China, xie xie Mr. Gibbs!”
- In California, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer is running ads against her opponent, Carly Fiona, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, accusing her of creating thousands of jobs in Shanghai and Bangalore instead of San Jose or Burbank and of proudly stamping her products “Made in China.”
However, the Wall Street Journal recently noted how Republican challenger Chris Gibson who is seeking the 20th Congressional District seat being held by Democratic Rep. Scott Murphy, is accusing his challenger of shipping jobs to India when he had been executive at a venture capital fund (Murphy countered that he had helped to fund a company for US$60,000 that sold goods online to Indians). Ironically, Murphy had ran and won a special election for the seat by pointing out that he was a private-sector guy who actually knew about the economy. In addition, the New York Times noted that in West Virginia, Republican Spike Maynard is charging that Representative Nick Rahall supported a bill that created wind-turbine jobs in China.
Meanwhile, another Wall Street Journal article has noted that many of the attack ads that mention India have alienated a once key source of campaign contributions for Democrats: Indian-Americans. USINPAC, the main Indian-American lobbying group, is now raising funds for Republican candidates in large part due to the attack ads that mention India or Indians. They are also raising money for John Kasich, the challenger to Ohio Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland who angered both Indian-Americans and owners of businesses that do business with India when he banned the outsourcing of state contracts overseas.
Moreover, the Wall Street Journal mentioned that while there are currently no Indian-Americans in Congress, five Indian-American Democrats are running for House seats and two Indian-American Republicans are running for governor. These candidates are also receiving millions of dollars in support from Indian-Americans who believe that they will more fairly represent their interests.
Nevertheless and in an election year where the latest Rasmussen Reports’ survey has Republicans with a nearly double digit lead over Democrats on a generic congressional ballot, it will be unclear until after election day whether or not such attacks prove effective.