Donald Trump is not a stranger when dealing with Indians, and his business undertakings in Pune and Gurgaon are clear evidence of that existing bond. During the 2016 election, there was a surge of support for him from the Indian Community spearheaded by Shalli Kumar, who raised campaign funds and arranged a large gathering in New Jersey in honor of him.
However, he seems to have withdrawn from the scene, but several groups associated with Sangh Parivar organizations are battling for Trump’s re-election. The idea of ultra-nationalism promoted by Trump and Modi appeared to have unified this minority segment of the Diaspora that may cast their vote for Donald Trump on November 3rd. Then again, there are independent-minded voters who may vote for Trump solely based on policy decisions on issues such as lower taxes, less regulations, law and order, less aggressive foreign policy and unnecessary foreign interventions resulting in costly wars.
Indian Diaspora in the U.S. is a diverse community representing different regions, languages, cultures, and faith. According to the latest statistics, 51 percent of the Diaspora consists of Hindus, and the rest includes Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, and other faiths. Therefore, the effort by some Hindu Organizations in U.S. that are in the tank for Prime Minister Modi to paint a monolithic view of the Indian Diaspora for the election purposes to the American public is not only disingenuous but grossly misleading. The Trump-Modi friendship does not appear to be an important yardstick in the Indian American electorate’s decision-making process.
The importance of the Indian American vote in this upcoming election is another point of debate among election enthusiasts. Most Indian Americans live in major cities and states such as New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois, and Texas. Most of these States are solidly Blue States, and the Asian Indian votes will have little or no impact other than adding on to the popular vote totals. Texas may remain in the Republican column this time around, although it may trend more towards Democratic Party in future elections as Demographics change.
However, the more significant aspect of this election cycle is that a record number of Asian Indian candidates are running for elections nationwide. It is quite noteworthy that the community has essentially become an integral and visible part of the American political arena in the short span of a few decades.