Indian Americans emerge as key constituency in battleground states

Trump and Biden

Election 2020: Clash of Trumpers vs Never Trumpers.

Democrats led by Joe Biden and his Indian American running mate Kamala Harris have made their case against what they called Donald Trump’s “chaotic and divisive” presidency.

Now it’s the former TV reality star’s turn to outshine them with a part digital part in-person four day Republican convention and convince voters why he should get four more years in the White House.

Unlike the 2016 convention which had more than 2,400 delegates, no more than 336 delegates will gather in-person in Charlotte, North Carolina, Monday to formally renominate Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Centered around an overarching theme of “Honoring the Great American Story”, it will feature everyday Americans who will testify how Trump has positively affected their lives.

Trump, who kept up a constant tirade against “the radical left” Democrats led by “Sleepy Joe” and his “even worse” VP pick Harris, is expected to feature prominently during each day of the event from Washington.

Starting with “Land of Promise,” on Monday the convention will revolve around the themes of “Land of Opportunity,” “Land of Heroes” and “Land of Greatness” over four days.

OPINION: Contrary to conventional wisdom, Trump hasn’t been great for India — Biden will be  (August 19, 2020)

While Trump is likely to accept his nomination in a speech from the White House in front of an audience on Thursday, Pence is set to deliver a speech from Baltimore’s Fort McHenry a day earlier.

The fort is the site of a famous naval battle in the War of 1812 that inspired the words of the US national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner.

Besides first lady Melania Trump and his adult children, speakers at the Republican convention are expected to include South Carolina’s former Indian American governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

Trump wasn’t there at last week’s virtual Democratic convention where Harris’ historic nomination overshadowed Biden’s. But the conclave seemed more like an indictment of Trump than a celebration of their own.

Speaker after speaker from former President Barack Obama whom the brash billionaire replaced, to Hillary Clinton, who lost the 2016 battle to him, cast him as unfit for the world’s most powerful office.

Biden himself vowing to end the “season of darkness” under the “current president” without ever naming him, warned against giving “four more years”  to “ a president who takes no responsibility, refuses to lead, blames others.”

And Harris hailed by Biden as his “great vice president” and a “powerful voice for this nation” branded Trump as “a president who turns our tragedies into political weapons.”

READ: Joe Biden extolls Indian Americans as ‘pillars’ of the country for their courage and sacrifices (August 17, 2020)

Still sore at losing to Trump in 2016 despite polling three million more votes Clinton cautioned against November becoming another “woulda coulda shoulda” election. She asked Democrats to vote in overwhelming numbers so that Trump “can’t sneak or steal his way to victory.”

Indian American voters: So did Harris, the first black and Indian American woman vice presidential pick who has made the two million strong community a key constituency in battleground states wooed by Democrats and Republicans alike.

On India’s Aug. 15 Independence Day at a virtual campaign event for the Indian American voters, Biden and Harris promised to “stand with India,” if elected.

Not to be left behind, the Trump campaign issued a 107 second video commercial seeking “4 MORE YEARS” with clips from the “Namaste Trump” event in Ahmedabad in February and “Howdy Mody” show in Houston last September.

“America enjoys a great relationship with India and our campaign enjoys great support from Indian-Americans!” tweeted Kimberly Guilfoyle, national chair of Trump Victory Finance Committee releasing the commercial.

Railing against the Biden-Harris ticket last week, Trump himself bragged that Harris “is of Indian heritage. I have more Indians than she has.”

READ MORE: Road to the White House

Indian American voters have traditionally leaned towards Democrats, but Trump supporters have claimed a shift towards the President by as much as 50%.

But a leading Indian American pollster questioned their claim saying, “We don’t know how scientific their survey is and what methodology they used.”

“From the data and evidence that we’ve seen so far, Indian Americans still have a strong Democratic Party leaning,” Karthick Ramakrishnan, AAPIData founder, told the Times of India.

“They have been voting Democrat as long as we’ve been collecting data since 2008, and there is nothing to indicate that has changed in any significant way,” said the Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at University of California, Riverside.

Ramakrishnan also thinks “Kamala Harris’ nomination is a game-changer but it really depends on how the Democratic Party plays this.”

“Trump can say he is a friend of India and friend of (Indian Prime Minister Narendra) Modi, but it is not from our survey data that this translates into support for the Republican Party,” he said.

Ramakrishnan also believes 1.8 million Indian American voters “are crucial in several swing states that Trump won by a whisker in 2016, including Michigan and Pennsylvania.”

READ MORE:

Indian Americans welcome Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s VP pick (August 12, 2020)

Kamala Harris as Biden’s VP pick seen as ‘groundbreaking’, ‘historic’ (August 12, 2020)

Kamala Harris: the first African American and Indian American woman senator (November 30, 2019)

Kamala Harris exits the presidential race (December 3, 2019)

Indian American senator Kamala Harris tops Biden’s VP list (July 29, 2020)

Indian American group wants Kamala Harris as Biden’s VP pick (August 4, 2020)

Black racial justice movement leader bats for Kamala Harris (August 5, 2020)

Indian American Senator Kamala Harris leading Biden’s VP stakes (August 11, 2020)

Kamala Harris makes history again as Biden’s VP pick (August 11, 2020)

Kamala Harris as Biden’s VP pick seen as ‘groundbreaking’, ‘historic’ (August 12, 2020)

Kamala Harris’ Indian family thrilled (August 12, 2020)

Kamala Harris tells how her immigrant parents shaped her politics (August 13, 2020)

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