Biracial Harris’ candidacy would be historic and inspiring for both Black Americans and South Asians.
An Indian American civic group that is spending $10 million to help elect community members in 2020 elections wants presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to select Kamala Harris as his running mate.
“Her vice-presidential candidacy would be historic and inspiring, not only for Black Americans, but for millions of voters of South Asian descent,” says Neil Makhija, executive director of IMPACT.
“Biden should select someone who can help him bring together a racially diverse Democratic coalition that represents the future of the country,” he wrote in an opinion piece on CNN Monday suggesting “Harris was that person”.
“Harris’s story is the story of a changing, inclusive America,” Makhija wrote noting, “She was born to a Black father and an Indian mother.”
“Her parents were both immigrants: her father, Donald Harris, from Jamaica, and her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, from Chennai, in southeastern India.”
“I saw early on that immigrants are often rewarded when they serve narrow roles but treated with skepticism when they aspire to leadership,” said the son of Indian immigrants, citing his own experience.
“A Biden-Harris ticket would send a message that no door is closed to Indian Americans in public life, at a time when we’re beginning to flex our political muscle,” Makhija wrote.
“Asian Americans, more broadly, are the fastest-growing racial or ethnic voting bloc in the country,” he noted.
Around 1.3 million Indian Americans are expected to vote in this year’s election, with nearly 200,000 in battleground states like Pennsylvania and 125,000 in Michigan, Makhija said citing the research firm CRW Strategy.
“Indian Americans register and vote at high rates, even though we remain underrepresented in elected office.”
“In 2016, 77% of Indian Americans voted for Hillary Clinton,” Malhija wrote citing CRW stats, “But Democrat support in 2020 is not assured.”
“Trump has built an alliance with the populist and Hindu nationalist Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the pair have appeared together at packed rallies in both Houston, Texas and Ahmedabad, India,” he noted.
“The Trump reelection campaign has been running social media ads seeking to win over Indian voters, praising Indian Americans as business and technology leaders and touting Trump’s tax cuts,” Makhija said.
“The Trump-Modi fans in Houston may not represent me or the bulk of Indian American or South Asian voters,” the activist lawyer wrote. But “selecting Harris would signal that the Democrats are not going to cede this ground.”
“At a time when our nation is fighting for its soul,” with thousands protesting in streets nationwide, “Joe Biden needs a running mate who can tie all of our threads together,” Makhija wrote.
“Harris knows the Black American experience. She knows the South Asian American experience. She knows the immigrant experience.”
“She knows the aspirational power of the American dream,” Makhija wrote telling Biden, “She is the running mate for this moment.”