On Wednesday, Politico reported that Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who is half Indian-American, set back years of efforts by President Donald Trump to win support in the Indian-American community when she joined Joe Biden's presidential ticket.
"Donald Trump has worked for years to make inroads with Indian Americans in ways Republican presidential candidates never have — recruiting volunteers at Indian grocery stores, holding events in five Indian languages and paying for targeted digital ads," reported Anita Kumar, adding that he had also pursued a strong relationship with India's right-wing populist prime minister Narendra Modi. "Joe Biden undercut those efforts in a matter of weeks."
"Within days, Harris was speaking to Indian Americans on India’s Independence Day about her grandfather, who helped push for India’s liberation," said the report. "Then she was boosting the campaign’s launch of a new Indian coalition. And last week, Biden supporters released a video with a song remix from the popular Bollywood movie 'Lagaan' about an Indian village fighting British rule."
"About 1.8 million Indian Americans are eligible to vote this year, many living in contested states, including Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Nevada, where their vote could make a difference," said the report. "Traditionally, Indian Americans have voted for Democrats at a higher rate than other Asians — Trump garnered just 16 percent of the Indian American vote in 2016 — but polling has shown rising Indian American support for the president. Now, 28 percent of Indian Americans support Trump, though 68 percent support Biden, according to the latest Asian American Voter survey released Tuesday."
Trump may still improve on his 2016 numbers, but according to the report, experts now expect "Trump is more likely to increase his Indian American support by 5 to 10 percentage points."
"It was always going to be an uphill climb for the Trump campaign to make significant inroads with the Indian American population,” said political science professor and Asian American Voters Survey director Karthick Ramakrishnan. “That has become near impossible now with Kamala Harris’ appointment.”