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WASHINGTON: The Trump campaign has released an Indian-American specific ad featuring US President Donald Trump‘s India outreach and his friendship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an effort to woo the nearly 2 million potential “desi” votes in the November 3 Presidential election.
Debuting on the morning of the virtual Republican convention that comes of the heels of the Democratic event last week, the ad, the first India-specific one in a US election, features clips of the “Howdy Modi” rally in Houston and the “Namaste Trump” event in Ahmedabad as it talks up ties between the two countries and its peoples.
“America loves India, America respects India, and America will always be faithful and loyal friends to the Indian people” Trump says in a quote taken from the Ahmedabad rally, where Modi thanks him for introducing him to his family and expansively introduces Trump to his “Indian family” — all of India.
There are an estimated 1.8 million Indian-American voters in the US., more than two-thirds of whom are committed Democratic voters, according to Karthick Ramakrishnan, a professor of political science at University of California, Riverside, who has polled voters of Indian-origin from the 2008 election onwards. The ethnic group could be a key factor in several battleground states that will decide the outcome of the results, he said in an interview last week.
“America enjoys a great relationship with India and our campaign enjoys great support from Indian Americans!” Kimberly Guilfoyle, national chair of Trump Victory Finance Committee and President Trump’s son’s partner, said in a tweet releasing the video commercial. Guilfoyle and Donald Trump junior lead the Indian-American voter outreach on behalf of the Trump campaign, amid claims that the Indian-American voters have moved in droves to the Trump side, a claim that Ramakrishnan says is not borne out in his polling.
In fact, Ramakrishnan said, the nomination of Kamala Harris as Joe Biden‘s running mate could potentially be a “game changer” in terms of galvanizing the younger Indian-American demographic (who tend to lean even more Democratic) and offsetting any bump Trump may have got with his rallies with Modi in Houston and Ahmedabad.
During a 2017 meeting with civil rights leaders ahead of his inauguration, Donald Trump suggested that lower turnout among Black voters may have contributed to his victory, according to leaked audio reviewed by The Independent and POLITICO. “Many Blacks didn’t go out to vote for Hillary ‘cause they liked me. That was almost as good as getting the vote, you know, and it was great,” Trump said.
The scrap over the Indian-American vote, which constitutes only about one per cent of the US electorate but could have disproportionate role in a tight election in battleground states such as Michigan, Florida, and Pennsylvania, comes even as Trump zeroes in on specific targeted segments to overcome the big loss in popular vote he experienced in the last elections. Large, heavily populated states such as California and New York, and densely populated urban centers remain solidly Democratic, despite Trump’s efforts to paint a scenario of an urban chaos and degradation under Democratic dispensations and efforts at fear-mongering if Democrats come to power.
Having tried to woo Black voters last time with the argument that Democratic had taken their support for granted and they had nothing to lose if they voted for him, Trump is at it again, targeting racial and ethnic minorities that form the bedrock of Democratic support.
“Many Blacks didn’t go out to vote for Hillary ‘cause they liked me. That was almost as good as getting the vote, you know, and it was great,” Trump said following his 2016 victory, according to recently released audio recording following that election.
Trump Republicans begin their national convention on Monday with many GOP stalwarts, including some who go under the “Never Trumper” banner, staying away and even campaigning against the President they see as an interloper who has hijacked the Republican Party and its principles. But Trump retains strong support among the party rank and file, often boasting of more than 90 per cent support.
That support will be put to test over the next four days as Trump aides and supporters look to outdo the Democratic convention, which, while slickly produced, had moments of tedium that came from lack of live, human interaction. Two producers of “The Apprentice,” the reality show that elevated Trump rose to TV stardom, are said to be involved in the planning of the convention, whose finale will be the acceptance speech by Trump from the portals of the White House — which Democrats say is a breach of rules and protocol.

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