Indian-American votes important for 'battleground states' says DNC Chairman

By Sriram Lakshman, The Hindu |

With about three and a half months to go for the election day, prominent Democrats urged the Indian-American community to vote this year and support presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden — emphasising his character and history of support for the India-U.S. relationship.

The pitch is particularly significant in “battleground States”, and at a time when the country is highly polarised on key issues including U.S. President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, immigration and racial justice.

Drawing links to the message of civil rights leader John Lewis who died on Friday, Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez urged the Indian community to vote. Mr. Lewis called the vote “the most powerful, non-violent tool in a democratic society”.

While Prime Minister Modi’s personal rapport with Mr. Trump might sway some Indian-American voters towards the Republican party, most of this demographic are expected to vote Democrat, University of California political scientist Karthick Ramakrishnan had said in February.

A lot however has happened since then that has impacted Indians in the U.S. Mr. Trump’s temporary suspension of H-1B visas has impacted mostly Indians and the administration’s recent policy battles over foreign students being permitted to take online-only course loads has left over a million students, including some 2,00,000 Indians, with a great deal of uncertainty about their plans over the next year.

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