Why Indian Americans Matter in U.S. Politics

Why Indian Americans Matter in U.S. Politics

In the last decade, Democrats and Republicans in the United States have come to see Indian Americans as a demographic of growing influence. Although they make up just 1 percent of the electorate, Indian Americans comprise the second largest immigrant group in the United States (after Mexican Americans). And their numbers are expanding rapidly: According to the U.S. census, between 2000 and 2018 the Indian American population grew by nearly 150 percent. The community is also the highest-earning ethnic group in the country, with a median income of $100,000 in 2015—nearly double the national average that year. Accordingly, Indian Americans have been tapped as a donor-base for both parties, contributing nearly $10 million towards the Democratic ticket in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential elections.

In the 2020 presidential election, the Trump and Biden campaigns have made concerted efforts to air television advertisements targeting the Indian American voter. Competing Trump and Biden ads, in Hindi and several regional dialects, are running amid Bollywood films and telenovela-style Indian shows on popular South Asian networks in the United States such as TVAsia and Sony Entertainment TV.