Mon. May 20th, 2024

After Indian Americans passed Chinese in U.S. population, experts say Trump and Biden can’t ignore them

By 37ci3 May8,2024

For Sri Vedachalam, 40, this November will also be his first presidential election as an eligible voter. Vedachalam immigrated to the United States in 2005, and although he has always followed US politics closely, he only became a citizen in 2021.

A Virginia resident says she is deeply disappointed by Donald Trump’s handling of Covid-19, as well as his behavior during the January 6 Capitol riots. He is likely to vote for Biden, who he says is working to grow the middle class, reduce inflation and restore jobs.

But one of the major blemishes on Biden’s Vedachalam presidency is his handling of Israel’s war in Gaza.

“I think the United States has a lot of leverage to stop the ongoing war in Gaza, but we’re not doing it,” he said. “It’s hard to see the daily casualties and relentless bombardment.”

Gaza ignites young South Asian voters

Experts say Gaza is the top issue on the minds of South Asians and other Asian Americans this election cycle. One request As of March, two-thirds of AAPI adults said they disapprove of Biden’s handling of the war.

This is even more pronounced among younger voters, with the same report showing that 77% of AAPIs between the ages of 18 and 29 disapprove of how the president is handling things.

Anthony Gnalian, 30, an Indian-American from Pennsylvania, voted for Biden in 2020 and voted Democratic because he was eligible to vote. This year, he says he won’t.

“Donald Trump is not someone I would even consider as a person for this position after the uprising and all the blatantly Islamophobic policies,” Gnalian said. “But I’m more disappointed with the Biden administration. My disappointment is clearly the situation in Gaza.

Describing himself as a single-issue voter this cycle, Gnalian says his support for candidates depends on whether they support a permanent ceasefire. He plans to vote undecided in the primaries and either vote for the Green Party or run for president.

“The Biden administration continues to provide political cover, continue to provide money, continue to send weapons to Israel to continue harming innocent civilians,” he said. “So I saw that the lack of human rights was really terrible.”

Shumer Sheikh, 30, an Indian American and Muslim, says she struggles watching the election. Islamophobia Rising in the U.S. He said he’s always seen a Democrat in the White House as a positive thing, but this year he felt Muslim Americans weren’t being heard.

“All these bad things are happening right now with a Democratic president,” he said. “If our leaders don’t really listen to the voters and the communities that put them in office, what will be different in November, which is very true of President Biden.”

One voter is pressing the Trump-Modi connection

Priti Pandya-Patel, 54, a New Jersey Republican, says one of the reasons she plans to vote for Trump is because of his friendship with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and how it has strengthened relations between the United States and India.

“He’s very proud of India and proud of the Indian community,” she said. “I think we were better off when he was president.”

Patel heads the state Republican Party’s South Asian Coalition, and he says he’s been traveling all over New Jersey trying to get more Indian Americans to the polls. He said he was disappointed with Biden for many reasons, including his feeling that inflation was out of control. He said he worries that homeless people in neighboring cities aren’t getting the resources they need and that undocumented immigrants are getting them instead.

“The cost of living has tripled, everything has increased, but salaries have not,” he said.

As a health care consultant, he says he has seen these changes in the medical field as well. He worries about underfunded hospitals, poor quality care and rampant drug addiction.

“Hospitals aren’t making money, doctors aren’t making money,” he said.

Sikh Americans are busy, running for office

Kavneet Singh, executive director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Foundation, says she sees concerns in her community about issues ranging from artificial intelligence to voting rights and religious profiling.

Many Sikh Americans work in fields not typically associated with the Indian American diaspora. Their long history in the United States includes Sikh railroad workers, truck drivers, and small business owners. Singh says they are concerned about the automation of labor, such as a fair minimum wage, gas prices and driverless cars.

The community is taking these issues into its own hands by nominating candidates, he said.

“I think you’ve seen this generation realize the responsibility they have to give back through public service, and to really start to take a lead in shaping the policies of the states or territories that we live in,” he said.

The rise of the South Asian American candidate

In the past few years, Patel says, he’s seen an explosion in South Asian Americans when they start campaigning for office. Last year a historical number Indian Americans serving in Congress. According to him, they appear at all electoral levels, from the City Council to the state administration.

“Candidates reflect their communities,” he said. “Common South Asian values ​​are really being implemented. These are candidates who care about giving back to their communities. They think about a strong economy, strong education, climate and security.”

Community members are divided on Vice President Kamala Harris, the most prominent Indian-American in public office, whose approval rating among Indian voters has fallen from 62% to 56%. 2022 for 2023. But Patel says her presence on the national stage has spurred people to launch their own campaigns.

“It really affected the national scene where South Asians could be involved in politics and succeed at such a high level in politics,” Patel said. “I think it really inspired a lot of South Asian volunteers and activists; people who are engaged in society but never imagine themselves on the ballot.

The two most prominent Indian American candidates this year — Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy — didn’t do much. impression About the South Asian community. But experts say it proves that while representation can strengthen ties, voters want someone who aligns with their values. For Indian Americans, these values ​​are progressive.

“Our community knows what they want,” Patel said.

But 2024 means fresh faces in the arena, and the new candidates are 24-year-old young, second-generation Americans. Ashwin Ramaswami Immigrants such as Anil Kumar, who worked as a doctor for 30 years and is currently running for US Congress in Michigan, have nominated him for the state Senate in Georgia.

“They’re really a diverse subsection of the entire South Asian diaspora,” Patel said. “They are candidates who are well rooted in their communities and responsive to the needs of their communities.”

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