Indian Americans are mostly Democrats in the U.S according to quantitative analyses but a large number of them voted for Republican Donald Trump in this election, anecdotal evidence suggests. And one of the main reasons that many cite for doing so is Huma Abedin, former Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s close aide, who happens to be a Muslim. Some others voted hoping that Mr. Trump will cut taxes.
Indian American leaders in the Democratic Party - candidates and major donors – have sought to create a larger Asian minority coalition in support of Ms. Clinton with Pakistani activists playing a significant role in the efforts. In Congressional contests of Indian Americans, Pakistani Americans supported them in large numbers. Many prominent Indian Americans with links to the RSS were in the Democratic camp and campaigned for Ms. Clinton. But that was only part of the story.
A visible portion of Indian Americans broke away to vote for Mr. Trump. Almost all of them had voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Trump voters think that it is their patriotic duty towards India. “India and America face the same threat of terrorism from Islamic fundamentalism. And Huma Abedin, a Pakistani with links to Islamic countries in the Middle East, controls Hillary Clinton,” Rattan Kumar, a doctor in Tampa, Florida, explained his reason for voting Mr. Trump. “Trump will take terrorists head on,” he said. Asked whether he knew that Ms. Abedin’s father was an Indian who studied at Aligarh Muslim University, Mr. Kumar said: “That doesn’t matter.” He is a registered Democrat, voted for Mr. Obama twice, fund-raised for Democratic Representative-elect Raja Krishnamoorthi this year and voted for Democrats in all other contests this season.
Iggy Ignatius grew up Catholic in Coimbatore and is now a follower of the Brahmakumari order. He owns a successful real estate business in Orlando. Mr. Ignatius also voted for Mr. Trump. “I voted for Obama twice, but I think he is too weak on terrorism. Trump will be stronger and he will be good for businesses.” Ramesh Babu from Chennai, gave his first vote as American citizen, for Mr. Trump in New Jersey. “His tax policies will benefit people like me more,” he said.
These were not isolated cases and it was easy to come across numerous supporters for Mr. Trump among Indian Americans – in temples, churches and other gatherings. “Many were circumspect with Hilary Clinton and her stance towards Pakistan with Huma Abedin, her confidant who is reported to be closer to Pakistani establishment. Mr. Trump has promised to be the best friend in the White House India ever had,” Sampat Shivangi, a Republican convention delegate from Mississippi said.
Democratic Party always believed that Indian Americans are with and no efforts were needed. The rich Indian donors to the Democratic Party have limited links to the community. While the Clintons went to fundraising events at many of their homes, Mr. Trump himself and daughter Ivanka Trump and daughter-in-law Laura Trump attended Indian community events. It is not only the working class white that the Democrats lost in this election, but also their stronghold among the Indian Americans.