Asia Minute: Indians Watching U.S. Presidential Race

Oct 26, 2020

Election Day is a week from tomorrow. While the presidential candidates are focusing on certain states, the entire campaign is getting a lot of attention in South Asia.

President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have exchanged visits marked by joint appearances at large rallies with a political feel. In February, it was Gujarat, India where local media put the crowd size at a sports stadium rally at more than 100,000.

The previous fall, a “Howdy Modi” event in Houston drew a crowd of roughly 50,000 – largely Indian expatriates and immigrants. The Washington Post called it the “largest-ever gathering with a foreign political leader in the United States.”

On the other side of the aisle, the story of Kamala Harris’ mother and her immigration to the United States from India has gotten a lot of play in South Asia.

Both major political parties are paying attention to the Indian-American electorate — including as potential donors.

Foreign Policy Magazine reports both the Trump and Biden campaigns have run television commercials in Hindi and several regional dialects — targeting different immigrant communities around the country, especially in areas with tight races.

The Times of India did an analysis of the Indian-American population in a few key states. The numbers show that local Indian-American population exceeded Trump’s margin of victory in 2016 in several states — including Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.