The U.S. appeared to move one step closer towards the possibility, however remote, of having its first ever Indian-American president when Louisiana Governor Piyush “Bobby” Jindal (44) made his 2016 campaign announcement on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon.
On the micro-blogging site he said, “I’m running for President of the U.S. Join me,” and “There were three people I think you would agree my wife Supriya and I had to tell first…” with a link to his campaign website showing video clips of the Jindal family talking about his entry in their back garden.
Mr. Jindal will have to squeeze every last drop of faith in his leadership from these groups because even as the two-term Governor embarks on his campaign without the national renown of rivals such as Jeb Bush, the son and brother of former presidents, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a favourite of the Latino community, he is likely to face stiff competition from a dozen contenders already in the race, and more who may join.
However, Mr. Jindal appeared undaunted, saying recently to reporters, “If I were to become a candidate, I would certainly run to win and I would do it based on presenting detailed ideas about how to move our country forward.” His actions would appear to reflect this determination and he is said to have already travelled multiple times to early-primary states and spent nearly 45 per cent of his days outside of his home state in 2014.
Mr. Jindal, who was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University and rose rapidly through Louisiana’s state government to become the state’s Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals at age 24, has also been elected twice to Congress before he entered the Governor’s office in 2008.
While he seeks to project himself as a “full-spectrum conservative” to his Republican base, liberal Americans may well stay away from his campaign owing to his vocal criticism of Common Core education standards, his support for religious freedom laws that allow private businesses to refuse services to LGBT couples, and his stated intention to consider sending American troops to Iraq to fight Islamic State.
Ultimately his prospects may come down to his ability to project a fresh take on America’s jaded federal politics, a plank that Mr. Jindal has often alluded to. “We need somebody who will go to D.C. and rescue the American Dream from becoming the European nightmare,” Mr. Jindal said recently.