With a likely Joe Biden vs Donald Trump redux in the impending 2024 US presidential elections, the Indian-Americans — comprising slightly more than 1 per cent of the total US population and less than a per cent of all registered voters — will be in the spotlight once again, courtesy their growing political, social and economic clout.
While they are concentrated in states like New York, New Jersey, California and Texas, Indian-Americans have begun to matter more in the closely-contested states, and their votes might turn out to be decisive in case of swing states like Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
In general, Indian-Americans have largely sided with the Democrats, but like in the last elections, both Democrats and Republicans will leave no stone unturned to attract a community that can play a pivotal role — from campaigning to endorsing candidates to fundraising for the elections.
According to media reports, for his 2024 campaign, Biden is bringing together a newer generation of diverse leadership along with experienced advisors who helped him win the White House in 2020.
The South Asians for America (SAFA), a grassroots organisation dedicated to education, advocacy, and mobilisation of the South Asian community, recently announced that they will endorse both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in the 2024 run.
“By re-electing President Biden and Vice President Harris, we hope to continue to strengthen our democracy at home, advance our democratic values, and continue to strengthen our global alliances in an ever-changing global landscape,” said Neha Dewan, National Director of SAFA.
Biden’s major fundraisers, which include Indian-Americans, had helped raise at least $100,000 for his 2020 campaign.
To name a few, a likely list includes prominent Indian-American community organisations and leaders like Ajay Bhutoria, Frank Islam, Raj Shah, Ramesh Kapoor, Indian-American Impact, Indiaspora and AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) Victory Fund.
Trump, meanwhile, had won over Indian supporters with events like ‘Howdy Modi’ and for his open support and friendship for India in the past.
During his re-election campaign in 2020, he had launched four new coalitions — ‘Indian Voices for Trump’, ‘Hindu Voices for Trump’, ‘Sikhs for Trump’ and ‘Muslim Voices for Trump’ — to amass support from these communities.
This year, Shalabh ‘Shalli’ Kumar, a fierce Trump supporter, has been appointed the national chairman of a new Republican Hindu and Indian American coalition, according to a Republican National Committee announcement.
The two coalitions, apart from building and mobilising Hindu and Indian American communities across the US, will assist the indicted leader in his 2024 campaign. An official word is awaited, though.
Apart from Chicago-based industrialist Kumar, who was also the financial backer and chair of the 2016 Indian Americans for Trump Campaign, loyalist Kash Patel, who joined the Trump administration in 2019, continues to serve as a key political advisor to Trump.
Patel’s staunch loyalty towards Trump scored brownie points from former advisor Roger Stone who remarked that the former president named his dog “Kash” as an “homage” to Patel.
Since Trump formally announced his re-election bid in November, Patel has been reportedly mentioned on right-wing media as a potential contender for attorney general or CIA director, according to ABC News.
“If Trump’s back in, I’m back in,” Patel, a former federal prosecutor and senior intelligence official, had said in a December interview.
Other top Trump supporters include, Danny Gaekwad, who has raised funds for all Republican presidential candidates since George W Bush, Sridhar Chityala, who is on the advisory board of Indian voice for Trump Coalition, Rick Desai, Dr Sampat Shivangi, Shridhar Chityala, and Prem Parameswaran to name a few.