Republicans, Democrats view community support as key to White House.
Republicans and Democrats alike are wooing over 1.3 million Indian American voters seen as key to winning the Nov 3 race to the White House between President Donald Trump and his presumptive Democratic rival Joe Biden.
A pro Trump community group organized a virtual rally Sunday where an activist claimed that the community is moving towards the Republican Party in significant numbers thanks to Trump administration’s support to India on key issues.
There are an estimated four million people of Indian origin living in America with about a third – 1.3 million — eligible to vote, who have largely favored Democrats in presidential elections.
But this time, a large number of Indian American Democrats would be moving towards Trump, Al Mason, co-chair of the Trump Victory India American Finance Committee, told the rally, according to media reports.
“So far Republicans have had only 20 per cent of the votes. Fifty per cent of those (Democratic) votes are going to come into the president’s column,” said Mason citing his own research.
This sudden massive shift in this vote towards the Republican Party is because “Indian Americans love Trump,” he said.
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Mason cited as an example Howdy Modi event in Houston last September where Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi went round a packed stadium holding hands.
“You are the most powerful group of Indian-Americans,” he said, and Trump “knows how important you guys are. He knows how important India is and how important the Indian American relations is.”
The virtual rally Hindus4Trump organized by Americans4Hindus, a non-partisan independent political action committee, was watched by a record 100,000-plus Indian-Americans on social media and online, the group claimed.
Democrats too believe that the Indian Americans can help Biden defeat Trump thanks to their demographics in battleground states.
“The Indian American vote — the AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) more broadly — can be an absolute difference maker,” Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said at a virtual town-hall Sunday.
Trump’s narrow wins in three Rust Belt swing states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania in 2016 helped him score a stunning victory over his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Trump won these three states narrowly by 0.2, 0.7 and 0.8 percentage points, respectively — 10,704, 46,765 and 22,177 votes.
Together, they gave him their cumulative 46 electoral votes contributing to his 304-227 victory in the electoral college and the presidency even though she was more than three million votes ahead in popular vote.
There are 125,000 Indian American voters in Michigan, 156,000 in Pennsylvania and 37,000 in Wisconsin, according to an analysis by AAPI Victory Fund that had hosted the town-hall with South Asians for Biden.
Urging Indian Americans to support Biden, Perez said their vote could also make a difference in other battleground states such as Arizona (66,000), Florida (193,000), Georgia (150,000), North Carolina (111,000), and Texas (475,000).
“We know that there are important sectors of the Indian American community throughout our country, throughout our battleground states,” said Julie Chavez Rodriguez, a senior adviser to the Biden campaign.
“And we want to make sure we were engaging and connecting directly” with them, their key leaders in these battleground states, she added.
Former US Ambassador to India Richard Verma, Biden Unity Task Force Economic Policy Advisor Sonal Shah, Former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, and Center for American Progress Action Fund CEO Neera Tanden also addressed the virtual town hall.