Jersey City, New Jersey: “Indian-Americans are overwhelmingly supporters of Democratic party. But unlike African-Americans these groups are open to persuasion,” Sangay K Mishra, author of the book ‘Desis Divided: The Political Lives of South Asian Americans’ said in a recent interview.
The new book about voting patterns in the United States authored by Mishra seeks to explain how the Indian American community has switched its party support over the past decade and a half. Mishra’s book delves into how the Republican Party’s anti-immigrant stance following the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. has leaned the Indian American community towards Democrats.
Explaining the reason for Indian-Americans voting overwhelmingly towards Democratic party, Mishra said it has to do with developments after the recent terrorist attacks on American soil. “Post 9/11 the whole racial hostility has really pushed them towards the Democratic party, because the Republican party has the consistently taken anti-immigrant position. Post 2001, they have moved away from the Republican Party, which is seen more as a party which is opposed to immigrants, which is opposed to immigrant integration,” he said.
At a time, when candidates are fighting for each delegate in closely-contested primary elections in both the parties, Indian Americans in some of the key states like New York, New Jersey, Maryland and California, where they have a sizeable presence, can tilt the equation one way or the other, the author said. “Indian Americans are overwhelmingly supporters of the Democratic Party. But unlike African Americans these groups are open to persuasion,” Mishra said.
Mishra said despite two Indian-Americans – Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley – gaining top positions in the Republican party, this has not made much difference. “The way in which election has developed in the last few months, Republicans have not shown any inclusive side of their party. Anti-immigration, anti-Muslim rhetoric has been very very high. Given this kind of rhetoric, I do not expect much shift in the way the Indian Americans are voting,” Mishra said.
Referring to a survey, Mishra, an assistant professor of political science at Drew University in New Jersey said, “So more than 80 percent of Indian Americans who voted, voted for Democrats. That goes against the idea that Indian Americans since they are affluent they tend to vote more Republican.” Mishra specializes in immigrant political incorporation, Indian diaspora, global immigration and racial and ethnic politics.