Major parties have been wooing Indian Americans, whose numbers in some battleground States have exceeded the victory margin there in 2016
With just days to go for the U.S. election, both major parties have been wooing Indian Americans, whose numbers in some battleground States have exceeded the victory margin there in 2016. Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s outreach to the community included a recent op-ed that talked about his main campaign issues – the botched pandemic response and rebuilding the economy – but also included diaspora specific messages, including his running mate Kamala Harris’s Indian origins.
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“Four years ago in November, one of the last events I hosted at the Vice President’s residence was a Diwali reception. Here I was, an Irish Catholic Vice President opening my home for a holiday traditionally observed by Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains, and that night joined by Muslims, Christians, and Indian Americans of various backgrounds representing the diversity of the diaspora,” he wrote.
On Ms. Harris, he wrote: “Kamala is smart, tested, and prepared. But another thing that makes Kamala so inspiring is her mother, Shyamala Gopalan. We feel Kamala’s pride when she talks about her. She was from Chennai…”
“I know the pride you feel about her nomination because her story is your story, too. It’s an American story. And it’s why I’m asking Kamala to be what Barack Obama asked of me to be: the last person in the room and, together, to represent the belief in possibilities,” Mr. Biden said.
The recent Indian American Attitudes Survey found that the Harris running-mate pick had had a significant turnout effect – 49% of Indian Americans surveyed said the choice of Ms. Harris made them more enthusiastic about Mr. Biden’s candidacy, while 15% said it made them less enthusiastic about him.
In the op-ed, Mr. Biden talked about the Trump administration trying to have the Affordable Care Act overturned in the U.S. Supreme Court during the pandemic and connects Mr. Trump with Wall Street (a recurring theme in the Biden campaign), saying a handful of billionaires have done well in the pandemic.
Mr. Biden also addressed Mr. Trump’s race-related rhetoric and recent policies tightening legal immigration (such as the temporary suspension of the H1B programme and new immigrant visas) in the op-ed.
“We also believe America is a land of opportunity. But it’s likely you and your family have been caught in the middle of President Trump’s crackdown of legal immigration and pathways to permanent residency and citizenship and his decisions on the H-1B visa program. And his dangerous rhetoric about immigrants has empowered white supremacists and even fueled hate crimes against Indian Americans,” he said.
Millions of Americans have already cast their vote early or by mail before Election Day on November 3 when voting will be completed.