Trump campaign releases commercial for Indian-Americans featuring PM Modi

Amidst cheering, Mr. Modi is seen saying Mr. Trump “needs no introduction” and that “his name comes up in almost every conversation.”

Updated - August 23, 2020 03:59 pm IST

Published - August 23, 2020 11:24 am IST - Washington

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump shake hands during the ‘Howdy, Modi’ event on September 22, 2019, at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump shake hands during the ‘Howdy, Modi’ event on September 22, 2019, at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Trying to specifically woo Indian American voters, the Trump campaign has released a commercial featuring footage of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump held in Houston almost one year ago and in Ahmedabad in February.  While the data show that Indian Americans mostly vote Democrat, the Republican party is trying to target voters who are likely to be switch loyalties based on the Modi-Trump camaraderie .

Tweeting out the ad , Kimberly Guilfoyle ,  who heads a fundraising unit for the Trump campaign  wrote “America enjoys a great relationship with India and our campaign enjoys great support from Indian Americans!” This is the first Trump campaign ad is specifically for an Indian American audience.

Also read: PM gets rapturous reception at ‘Howdy Modi!’ event in U.S.

The commercial was conceptualized by Al Mason, a Trump supporter who is advising the U.S. president on the Indian American vote.

The clip shows Mr Modi holding up Mr Trump’s arm on the stage in Houston and a shot of the two walking around the arena, hands clasped.

There is also a clip of Mr Trump’s Ahmedabad address . “America loves India, America respects India….we have come to know the splendour of the four million Indian Americans, they are truly spectacular people,” Mr Trump says in the clip.

Both the GOP and Democrats are appealing to Indian voters, especially those in battleground states, where the number of Indian American voters — at least in some cases — exceeds the difference in vote margins between Mr. Trump and his 2016 opponent Hilary Clinton.

A relatively small number of votes could help the candidate win the entire state (i.e., the electoral college votes for the state). These states include Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin with a total of 1.3 million Indian American voters according to data from CRW Strategy shared at a Democratic Party campaign event.

Republicans such as Mr Mason are hoping that Indian Americans will move in sufficient numbers from the Democratic Party to the GOP in battleground states.

Mr Mason talks about  “grassroots polling efforts” in a July op-ed he authored and said the results of these efforts “show that as many as 50 percent of potential Indian American voters, the vast majority of whom traditionally have voted Democratic in presidential elections, will defect from the Democratic Party and vote for President Trump.”  No details of the survey methodology or numbers were provided however. The Hindu has reached out to Mr Mason for these.

Democrats too have been specifically pursuing the Indian American vote. In the middle of July, Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez spoke at a virtual ‘ Indian Americans for Biden’ townhall and drew attention to the  battleground states. Democratic Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris , also sent out Independence Day greetings during a Democratic event organized for that purpose on August 15 and Mr Biden’s campaign has released a specific set of policies addressing Indian American concerns.

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