Congressional candidate Dr. Manan Trivedi seems to have a suspiciously fine-tuned resume: not only is he a war veteran in a nation at war, but a physician and health care policy wonk to boot. He's running for Congress in the 6th district of Pennsylvania. SAJA blogger Zeeshan Aleem spoke with him by phone about identity politics, serving in Iraq, and his mother's work for the Obama campaign.
Tell us about the history the your district you’re running in, and why you think a Democrat will be able to win it even though it's elected a Republican Congressman for the past four terms.
The district is a Democratic-leaning district -- it has at least 20,000 more Democrats registered than Republicans. The incumbent built up a moderate Republican base, and was a fairly decent campaigner, and would win by the skin of his teeth every year. He had some name recognition, and that’s why he won in a democratic district. Now he’s gone; he’s not running again.
It’s an open seat, and most pundits predict that this is going to go to the Democratic nominee. The shifting demographics of this district has a lot of younger, more progressive people moving in from the Philly region, the demographics are shifting more toward the blue side -- as is the entire north east
We are a nation at war, and we are a nation with an ailing health care system. You have served in the military, and you are a doctor. It’s likely that you have an intuitive grasp of two of the most important – and visceral – issues that dominate the American political landscape.I do feel I have a unique perspective on these two very pressing issues. Health care is something I’ve worked on passionately for the past 15 years, my entire professional career. And I am very much in favor of this health care reform legislation. Regardless of what happens with this attempt at reform, this is just the first step – we need to continue to fight to get a truly efficient, high quality, low-cost health care system in America …
I served in Iraq with the marines as part of the very first ground forces to enter Iraq in 2003; that experience was quite formative for me. I learned a lot about myself, a lot about my country, and a lot about what it really means to go to war. That experience made me determined that we need people in Congress to assure that we never take that decision lightly again, which I think we need in 2002-3, when we made the decision to go to war in Iraq. I don’t think we went in with the right incentives, we definitely didn’t go in with the right armor, and we didn’t go in there with the right intelligence either.