The author of the insider political book Ab Ki Baar Trump Sarkar! How One Man Flipped the Hindu-American Vote to Put Trump in the White House told Breitbart News his book lays out the great untold story of the 2016 election.
“Everyone knows about the Trump campaign weaponizing the white Democrats who their own party didn’t care about or even like,” said James Kahrs, a Washington-based political operative.
“My book is about how one guy delivered more than one million votes to Trump from the same group that gave Romney slightly more than 300,000 votes,” said the Athens, Georgia, native and one-time student of Sebastian Gorka, now a senior adviser to the president.
How did he do it? Some of it was over-the-top, like Shalli Kumar’s Bollywood concert and rally with 10,000 people in New Jersey that was live-streamed to 150 million viewers in India. Some of it was old fashion like the town meetings he hosted and his media appearances. Then, some of it was off-the-wall, like the torturous process of making a 30-second video with candidate Trump saying the words: “Ab Ki Baar Trump Sarkar!” The Hindi slogan that’s more like a trigger than a sales pitch.
Kahrs said another way to look at it is that Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton was expecting 1.8 million votes from Hindu-Americans, if they voted for her at the same rate as they did for President Barack Obama—and why not?
President Bill Clinton was a great friend to India and his wife toured the country with their daughter Chelsea in 1995–and like other members of the Democrats ethnic coalition, Hindu-Americans saw themselves as automatic Democrats, he said.
Instead of her automatic 1.8 million Hindu-American votes, she collected 735,000 and a return to private life, he said.
“I agree there were more votes from the so-called Trump Democrats, but people need to remember that before working-class whites were taken in by Obama, these voters were Reagan Democrats, and before that Nixon Democrats, and before that Eisenhower Democrats,” he said.
“The Trump campaign deserves all the credit in the world for bringing working-class white Democrats back to the fold, but this was not the most difficult task,” Kahrs said. “Really, if you think about it, they were with Trump from the start from even before he announced.”
“Kumar himself an automatic Democrat, In 1972, he held signs for McGovern,” said the graduate of Ohio’s University of Miami. “Then, he met Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp at a dinner in 1979. After the dinner, Kumar thought Reagan was ignoring him, but he called him over to his table and spent the rest of the night converting Kumar into a Republican.”
Kahr said when he interviewed Kumar about making Hindu-Americans Republicans, the billionaire engineer and inventor got upset when the author suggested that Hindu-Americans are natural Republicans.
“He told me I was repeating the same ignorant belief held by Republicans that kept Hindu-Americans as Democrats,” Kahrs said. “It was not the logic of the argument, even though Hindus are conservative people and many are highly educated and or run their own businesses. It was that Reagan showed him respect had a sincere interest in Kumar’s own experiences and life.”
A large part of the book’s charm is the cast of characters constantly walking in and out of Kumar’s life. Along the way, the reader meets Reagan, Kemp, Newt Gingrich, former GOP Congressman Joe Walsh, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, as well as Trump and members of his campaign team, such as Wilbur Ross, Steve Mnuchin, Kellyann Conway and Stephen K. Bannon.
There is certainly no other place, where you will read in detail about Gingrich shepherding Kumar into Wilbur Ross’ Long Island estate for Kumar’s sit down with Trump that locked the two men as partners.
It was Haley’s 2010 campaign for South Carolina that brought Kumar back into politics after he spent more than 20 years building his business and raising his family. It was the unsuccessful 2012 Walsh reelection campaign, when Kumar developed his proprietary voter-targeting software and discovered that while most Hindu-Americans voted for Democrats, most actually registered as Independents—thus up for grabs.
In 2014, Kumar watched Narendra Modi, the governor of India’s Gujarat province, become the prime minister of India with the slogan: “Ab Ki Baar Modi Sarkar” or “This Time A Modi Government.”
Kahrs said Modi’s slogan might be the most powerful slogan in Indian political history, so it was natural for Modi to rework it for Trump: “Ab Ki Baar Trump Sarkar.”
“It is impossible to imagine what it was like when Kumar went to Trump Tower to video Trump saying the slogan,” he said. “There at least 15 takes for five words with Conway and Stephen Miller walking in and out handing Trump papers, talking in his ear.”
At one point, someone tells Trump: “It rhymes with car.”
Once the video was cut, Kumar pushed it out everywhere he could reach Hindu-Americans, Kahrs said.
Trump’s message to the Hindu-Americans, channeled by Kumar, was that he cared about them as people, not just numbers or a group with a shared interest, he said. It also did not hurt that most Indian immigrant to the United States hail from Modi’s home province of Gujarat and have deep loyalty to the prime minister.
“Kumar remembered that he agreed with Reagan, but he did not support Reagan until he believed Reagan cared about him,” he said.
“Somehow Jimmy Kimmel got a copy and he made treated it like it was the stupidest thing he had ever seen, but he ended up pushing it out further to more Hindu-Americans, who knew exactly what it meant: Trump, like Modi, was tough on crime, corruption, and terrorism.”
Kimmel did a segment on the commercial on his “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” show and before the campaign was over the segment had more than two million views on YouTube. To Kimmel it was all a joke, until it was not a joke and Trump was president.