Trump campaign creates alliances to woo Indian-American voters


PTI, Aug 15, 2020, 4:46 PM IST

Washington DC: US President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign has launched four new coalitions as it seeks to boost its appeal to Indian-American, Sikh, Muslim and other South Asian communities ahead of the general election.

An estimated 1.3 million Indian-Americans are expected to vote in the November 3 election, including nearly 200,000 in Pennsylvania and 125,000 in Michigan, both must-win battleground states.

The coalitions – ‘Indian Voices for Trump,’ ‘Hindu Voices for Trump,’ ‘Sikhs for Trump’ and ‘Muslim Voices for Trump’ – will engage community members nationwide to fight against Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ socialist agenda and ensure prosperity and security for four more years, the campaign said in a statement on Friday.

Biden, the 77-year-old former US vice president, will challenge incumbent Republican President Trump, 74, in the general election.

Earlier this week, in a major breakthrough for Indian-Americans in US politics, Biden picked Kamala Harris, 55, as his running mate to woo the Black voters and the influential Indian diaspora who could play a key role in his bid to defeat Trump in the presidential election.

Harris, whose father is from Jamaica and mother an Indian, is currently the Senator from California.

“These four campaign coalitions represent groups that strongly support the values of President Trump and the Republican Party: freedom, democracy, and the ‘American Dream’,” said Ashley Hayek, Trump 2020 Director of Coalitions.

“As Joe Biden promises to impose high taxes, undermine family values, and make our streets less safe, we stand with President Trump and his mission to Make America Great Again,” she said.

The co-chairs of the Indian Voices for Trump are Merlynn Carson, Harmeet Dhillon, Mrinalini Kumari, and Al Mason, who is also co-chair of the Trump Victory Indian American Finance Committee.

“Indian-Americans are thriving under President Trump’s commitment to honour the comprehensive global strategic partnership with India, which includes the preservation of democracy, freedom, law and order and the advancement of quality education and economic empowerment,” the campaign said.

“The choice for president is clear for Indian-American voters: four more years of a Trump Presidency will further build on our US-India partnership and secure a prosperous future for all Indian-American families,” it added.

Among other members of the advisory board include Hemant Bhatt, Shridhar Chityala, Rick Desai, David Dhillon, Danny Gaekwad, Danielle D’Souza Gill, Suhail Khan, Prem Parameswaran, Sunil Puri, Maya Puri, Khushboo Rawley, Dr Sampat Shivangi, Saroj Singh and Dr Vanila Singh.

Advisory Board Co-chairs and members of the Hindu Voice for Trump have not been announced yet. Its website shows Trump celebrating Diwali in the White House.

“Hindus for Trump honours contributions by millions of Americans of Hindu faith,” the campaign said.

“The inclusive economy, commitment to building up US-Indian relations, and fierce support for religious liberties for all is unmatched. Re-electing President Trump will reduce obstacles to religious freedoms for Hindus in America,” the campaign said on its website.

“Sikh Americans for Trump recognises the selfless service of Sikh Americans in building up their communities. Four more years of President Trump means four more years of religious freedoms and economic prosperity for Sikhs in America,” it said.

The website carries a picture of Union Civil Aviation Minister and Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri, presenting a bust of Mahatma Gandhi to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump during their visit to India in February.

Muslim Voices for Trump will energise and mobilise the Muslim community in re-electing Trump by sharing the many successes of his Administration, the campaign said.

“Re-electing President Trump will ensure the protection of religious liberties, economic prosperity, and educational opportunities for Muslims in America,” it said.

In a statement, Pooja Patil, chair of many educational institutions, said suddenly both the Indian-American Democrats and Trump supporters in battleground states have realised that they can be “kingmakers.”

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