For a person who has limited background about Indian-American influence in the US Federal elections, here is a fact- Indian Americans have always been a real voting bloc and it is highly influenced by the kind of trade and political relationship that America shares with India in general. According to a study conducted by University of California, most of the American Indians are said to be inclined towards the Democrats rather than the Republicans. However in recent past, say from around 2017 onward, there a considerable drift in this trend. The most obvious and immediate reason can be the socio-political ongoing in the origin country India.
Currently there are around 1.4 million Indian American voters. In Past elections, most of these voters have voted for the Democrats. According to a study, in year 2016, 77% of Indian Americans had voted for Hillary Clinton. Indians are the second largest number of immigrants to get US citizenship just after the Mexicans. Hence strategically, it becomes inevitable to address to their issues. Though, post 2016 elections, there has been a considerable ideological game that political experts say that Trump had managed to triumph at for winning a the support of this huge demographic sect. After the 2014 general elections in India, the Narendra Modi lead BJP government had projected itself at the forefront supporting the ideological battle which brought Trump in power. One of those issues was the hate politics around Muslim community persisting in both the countries no matter how different the ground level scenarios were. Apart from this, Trump’s Open and Free Indo Pacific trade strategies, benefited India largely. Trump’s constant praise for Modi and vice versa had actually helped winning the support of the generation Y and generation Z Indian Americans in the United States. Everything was going quite smooth till the Coronavirus Global Pandemic knocked down everything across globe. The worst affected is the US.
Everything seemed so well till the Howdy Modi and Namaste Trump events. But the pandemic played an important role in changing the viewpoints of the percentage of Indian Americans who were slightly inclined towards the Republicans. The radical reforms in immigration and visa policies lead many Indians jobless and stranded in middle of nowhere in their career and in a foreign land as soon as the pandemic had hit US. Trump’s government drastically failed to control it leading to an economic disaster worse than The Great Depression. Amidst the job losses and poor resource management, stood a crowd which looks upto America as their second home in future. That was the Indian population working and planning to settle in US.
Not that the millennials or the working class were in support of the Republicans initially but the pandemics situation increased their problems 3x times. Before the pandemic, Trump’s disregards towards the critical issues like that of nullification of Article 370 in Kashmir and protests against Anti CAA and NRC played a major role in setting a certain negative image of the Republicans in the Indian crowd.
Considering the changing situations and the International Relationship of America with India, Trump’s political opponent, Joe Bided has very cautiously tries to win the drifting support of the Indian Americans through projecting Kamala Harris as a representative to their needs. He also strategizes his campaigns dates and used Indian local languages to release his campaigns. So we can understand the critical contribution of Indian Americans in the US Federal Election and understand as to why, Joe Biden is leading so far in the national polls for the presidential election.