Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Reshma Saujani: South Asian Powerhouse, National Candidate To The Tech Sector

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...Image via Wikipedia

The Washington Post: Obama Turns Away From Longtime Democratic Supporters In N.Y.
Obama will travel to New York this month to survey the ruins of the Democratic fundraising hierarchy he helped destroy...... the four-story Sullivan Street townhouse of Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who is an outsider to the traditional fundraising firmament of Wall Street investors. ...... The White House nixed an earlier plan to hold the dinner at the home of Marc Lasry, a major Wall Street figure ..... Obama has dismantled the old apartment circuit traveled by past Democratic standard-bearers ...... He has turned his back on a tradition of aggressively raking in financial sector dollars, but also of soliciting, in intimate settings, the unfiltered feedback of the captains of an industry he is transforming. ....... During the 16 years that Bill and Hillary Clinton reigned over the hub of Democratic fundraising, an expansive network of investors welcomed the president and other top elected officials to a treasure map of fabulous apartments. But first among equals in this closed circle was the husband-and-wife team of Maureen White and Steven Rattner. ....... a New York Times reporter turned billionaire investor turned Obama administration "car czar" ...... big donors are no longer as important in the age of campaign finance reform and Obama's small-dollar Internet model ...... She and Rattner have recently limited their activity to supporting Reshma Saujani in a local congressional race ........ Rattner, a onetime Treasury Secretary aspirant ....... Hassan Nemazee, the finance chairman for the presidential campaigns of Kerry and Hillary Clinton, served homemade Chinese food at his Park Avenue home to practically every Democratic presidential candidate, and was especially close to Joe Biden. Last week, a New York judge sentenced him to 12 years in prison for defrauding three banks of $292 million........ Alan Patricof, who was so close to the Clintons that a spy from the recently exposed Russian espionage ring thought she had scored a major coup just by infiltrating the company that did Patricof's taxes. ......... Obama is in no rush to build a new establishment. ......"There is no new Maureen and Steve, there is no donor leadership, there is no team to join," lamented one prominent Democratic donor in New York .... "There is no place, no home to get together and say, 'What are we doing next? Who is coming to town next?' That is not in the equation." ........ Lasry corralled a dozen supporters willing to pay the $30,000 dinner donation, with the understanding that the event would allow for frank concerns about Obama's policies to be aired in confidence. ........ The guest list, the e-mail said, was limited to 40 so that each person would have face time with Obama. ........pick a public setting instead ...... most of the donors he had brought on board dropped out. ...... In the run-up to the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama seemed to be constructing his own Establishment He Could Believe In ....... the presidential campaign injected new life into the circuit by bringing a wider breadth of contributors into the fold ...... The Obama era in New York is about the democratization of the fundraising circuit and the abolishment of an exclusive hierarchy, not the creation of a new one. ....... the swell in small Internet donations that dwarfed the traditional model

This article below is the best political profile of my candidate Reshma Saujani I ever came across online so far. Her political journey thus far has been impressive. I think you can already glimpse that she intends to take fundraising and campaigning to a whole different level. Her ways are innovative. Her ways are trailblazing. She is the wave of the future. Obama inspired a generation. She will inspire another. This is not just someone running for Congress. Her entire life story has brought her to this point where she is at now. She already is the national leader to the tech sector. The New York tech scene has a lot of catching up to do yet. One way you know that is true is because the top tech names on the other coast are much more into her than the top tech names in this town. The local tech scene has yet to comprehend her understanding of the tech scene as well as the importance of having the right minds on the Hill for the advancement of tech. I hope a lot of that changes when she appears at the NY Tech MeetUp first Tuesday in September.

Some groups I see coalescing around her candidacy are as follows:
  • Young professionals, men and women
  • Women who want to be able to take equality for granted
  • Progressive men
  • Tech entrepreneurs and enthusiasts
  • Meritocrats on Wall Street
  • Women
  • South Asians
  • New immigrants
  • Indians
  • Gujaratis
  • Hillary 08 people
  • Obama 08 people
  • John Liu 09 people
  • Harvard Yale crowd
  • The Anti Maloney Brigade
  • Public school types 
  • Independents 
  • Those who seek to see excellence in DC 

Capital New York: New York's South Asians And The Saujani Test
almost 300,000 South Asians in New York .... second-generation Indian American ...... a telegenic hedge fund lawyer with high-level Democratic ties ..... plenty of admirers among the older Indian donor class of bankers and businessmen and Friends of Bill—they know her through her work on Wall Street, or from her fund-raising efforts when she founded South Asians for Kerry in 2004 or when she joined Hillary Clinton's presidential-campaign finance committee in 2008. ....... "I researched all the prominent South Asians in New York and pretty much stalked them at dinner parties to get them engaged and involved in the Democratic party....This is a group of folks and I've really cultivated and gotten to know since 2002, and many of them think of me like a daughter." ...... see her as a vehicle for their ambition to realize the potential achieved by previous immigrant groups in New York. ....... six congressional candidates who are each trying to become the third-ever Indian-American member of the House of Representatives. ..... somewhere between 18,000 and 25,000 voting-eligible South Asians (about a third of them are Bangladeshi, many of them clustered in Astoria at the 36th Street stop of the N/Q) in the district. ....... only about 50,000 people usually vote in Maloney's primaries. .......South Asians are beginning to act like a political bloc, and that the number of South Asians in New York has doubled in the past decade ...... This top-heavy political power structure among local South Asians was reflected in the strategy of the Clintons, who built a network of Indian donors (with help, eventually, from Saujani) by focusing on high-level access and foreign policy. ....... Saujani, a graduate of Yale Law and Harvard's Kennedy school, stepped into this world when she came to New York in 2002. She participated in voting drives in the Queens part of the district, and met Desai during the 2004 campaign, when she volunteered with his daughter Megha and founded South Asians for Kerry. ........ "We were also fairly slow in getting involved in politics," said Desai, who first got seriously involved in American politics when Michael Dukakis ran for president in 1988. "We were a little behind our progress in every other field, which is science and business and medicine." ....... —the Saujani campaign is something of an exception nationally in that there is a local ethnic base for her to mine ...... Saujani's ability to raise money, more than anything else, is the reason she has stayed on the radar—she is close to Maureen White, who is Steve Rattner's wife, and their daughter, Rebecca Rattner, has worked for the campaign as a paid aide. ........ Saujani has successfully kept a pipeline running to the kind of donors that led the Obama campaign to mock Clinton in 2007 as the Senator from Punjab. Donors in this most recent cycle include Victor Menezes, another former Citigroup executive and a A.I.F. board member, is a former Maloney donor who gave to the Saujani campaign recently; Arvind Ragunathan, a former Deutsche Banc honcho who bundled more than $100,000 during the Hillary 2008 cycle; and Arshad Zakaria, a former Goldman Sachs executive and a partner at New Vernon Capital, who also happens to be brother of foreign policy pundit Fareed Zakaria. ...... Saujani described her ability to mobilize South Asian support as "one piece of a larger strategy, which is getting our Obama-surge voters—people who have not traditionally been part of the political process. Like, we spend a lot of time on Upper East Side moms under the age of 45 who have house parties for us after drop-off." ...... "I've spent a significant amount of my time in Queensbridge and Ravenswood and Astoria housing and in public housing."
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