With less than 50 hours to go for the US presidential elections, Indian-American supporters of both President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden on Sunday intensified their campaigns, particularly in battle ground states, asking the community members to get out and vote and support their respective leaders. Trump, a Republican, is seeking re-election to the White House in the November 3 presidential polls. He is challenged by Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
Unlike in the previous years, the campaigning among Indian Americans have this time restricted their campaigns to mainly the digital domain and phone banking due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the campaigns have planned to intensify their phone calls to Indian-American supporters, send them messages on WhatsApp and reach out to them through other social media and emails.
Indian-American supporters of President Trump's campaign organised a couple of events for the community including a fire chat conducted by Indian Voices for Trump with Nikki Haley, the former US Ambassador to the United Nations. President's two sons Donald J Trump Jr and Eric Trump engaged with the community respectively at a meet and greet event in New York and Atlanta in Georgia. Trump's daughter-in-Law Lara Trump paid floral tributes to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi along with members of the Sikhs for Trump and India Voices for Trump. The Biden Campaign outreach has been mainly in the virtual domain. Former vice president Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris organised a special India Independence Day event for Indian Americans.
Biden and Harris has greeted Indian Americans on the occasion of various festivals including the recently concluded Navaratri. Biden also wrote an op-ed in the ethnic India West newspaper, asserting the strong relationship that he has with the community and his strong ties with India.
At least two recent surveys indicated that majority of Indian Americans support Biden. But they also indicated that the support base of Indian Americans for the Democrats has shrinked a little bit and have started moving towards the Trump campaign. Another survey conducted by Al Mason, from the Trump Campaign, claimed that in battle ground States at least 50 percent of the Indian Americans who voted for the Democrats in 2016 will vote for Trump this election cycle. Engaged in outreach with messaging - to Indian American Voters in the battle ground states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Texas and Wisconsin, Sridhar Chityala, who is on the advisory board of Indian Voices for Trump Coalition, said that his campaign activities are very different from the Democratic party-perfect messaging structured with public views - not political or personal views -which resonates.
"How else do you see 30 Million impressions thus far on the video four 4 More years -plus grass root-level contributions," he said, referring to a Modi-Trump video that was released by Donald J Trump Jr and Kimberly Guilfoyle, a top campaign official, during the Republican Convention in August. Neha Dewan, national director for South Asians for Biden, said "former vice president Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris have made unprecedented efforts to reach out to the South Asian community this election and earn our votes."
Ajay Bhutoria, who flew from California to Philadelphia to attend the launch of Biden's presidential campaign almost 18 months ago, said that Biden and Harris understand the South Asian community best and they will be the best friend for India and Indian Americans. India-US relationship has never been so good as under President Trump and his administration, said Al Mason from the Trump Campaign. "It is under his administration that for the first time ever we had a cabinet ranking Indian American," he said.
"He (Trump) is a reliable friend to India," said eminent community leader Sudhir Parikh. Community leaders from both the campaigns said that a large number of people are working round the clock through phone banking or through other digital mediums to reach out to the community.
While Indian Americans have raised millions for both the campaigns and a number of them have campaigned aggressively for both of them, the actual voting percentage for the community is far below the national average.