US Elections and The Indian American Community

In recent months, much focus and outreach have been given to the Indian-American community as they play an essential part in U.S. elections. Garnering their support will significantly impact the Biden vs. Trump 2020 showdown, as 1.3 million Indian Americans live in swing states

An estimated 4.5 million Indians live in the United States, of which 1.8 million are eligible voters. They are among the fastest-growing ethnic groups, and Indian Americans are among the most highly educated and economically successful ethnic groups in the United States.

While most of the Indian-American community has heavily leaned Democrat in past elections, President Trump has been making headway with the Indian American community over the last four years. This is primarily due to his strong ties to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In 2016, approximately 16 percent of Indian Americans voted for Trump. However, after the “Howdy Modi” rally in Texas, which drew in 50,000 Indian Americans, Narender Modi proclaimed ‘Abki Baar, Trump sarkar‘ (translation: This time it is the turn of the Trump administration), swaying Indian-American voters to lean right. Trump’s campaign also launched a five-figure digital ad buy, focusing on education and the economy.

Currently, polls are showing that two-thirds of Indian American voters favor Joe Biden. With his recent announcement of Kamala Harris as his vice presidential pick—the child of an Indian immigrant—resonated deeply with the Indian American community (how often do you hear ‘chithi’ on stage?). The Democratic presidential nominee also extended his greetings on the Hindu festival of Ganesh Chaturthi on his Twitter account. 

The Biden-Harris campaign has released ads in 14 Indian languages to court the Indian-American community. The campaign includes slogans like “America ka neta kaisa ho, Joe Biden jaisa ho” (America’s leader needs to be like Biden). In addition to converting voters, the ad messaging helps ensure that the target audience is registered to vote. Polls are showing Biden taking the lead with nearly two-thirds of the Indian American vote, but as 2016 proved to us, we will not know until we know.

The Issues

Biden and Trump differ on many issues, including immigration, COVID, and taxes–as shown in this helpful side-by-side comparison. A few examples are: 

  1. DACA: Trump has been eager to end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and attempted to do so after taking office. However, the Supreme Court ruled against it, motivating the administration to make significant modifications to the program that work against immigrants’ children (Dreamers). Biden wants to continue to provide a path to citizenship for the Dreamers and expand the program beyond those who arrived as children and has made it clear this is a top priority. 
  2. COVID and the Economy: Trump favors re-opening the economy despite a rise in infections, while Biden wants a more cautious approach and is in favor of ensuring that there is enough testing in place. 
  3. US-Mexico Border: The US-Mexico border spans 1,954 miles. The Trump administration has only updated 265 miles of the proposed 450-mile border wall of which has cost $30 million per mile to date. Biden does not plan to take down the existing wall; however, he does plan on pivoting military funding to revising border security at entry points instead of wall-building.
  4. Taxes and wages: In December of 2017, Trump signed the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, giving massive tax cuts to the wealthy and major corporations. This is the most extensive overhaul of the tax code in three decades. Joe Biden has been critical of this act and has proposed rollbacks, including raising income tax and Social Security taxes on incomes over $400,000.  

Mail-in Ballots

With coronavirus, many U.S. citizens are uncertain of how to vote this year. Many states in the U.S. are automatically providing mail-in ballots (not applications) for the elections, including California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and D.C., and many other states will be following suit. However, other states require voters to apply to request a mail-in ballot, and polling stations will remain open across the U.S. Please use this link to see if your state will be mailing you a mail-in ballot or if you have to file an application to request a mail-in ballot. Please also check what date you need to postmark your ballot to allow plenty of time for the USPS to get it to the right place in time. Please note, your state’s recommend deadline may not be enough time. 

Hop on the family WhatsApp and remind friends and family that their votes are more critical than ever this year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.