Washington: The Republican party's anti-immigrant stance post 9/11 has pushed Indian-Americans towards Democrats, the author of a new book on voting patterns has said as US presidential primary elections moved to states which have significant Indian-American populations.
"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.
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 sizeable presence, can tilt the equation one way or the other.
Referring to a survey, Mishra, who is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Drew University in New Jersey, said, "So more than 80 per cent 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 specialises in immigrant political incorporation, Indian diaspora, global immigration, and racial and ethnic politics.
Explaining the reason why Indian-Americans are voting overwhelmingly in favour of the Democratic party, Mishra said it has to do with developments post 9/11.
"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.
"The second factor is that the Republican Party has moved much closer to evangelical Christianity kind of outlook where Christianity is as the center of their mobilisation. And so anyone who is not Christian is feeling little bit more uncomfortable with their rhetoric.
"Even though as a party they are open to everyone, but when you look at their rhetoric during the elections and hear some of the candidates, there is much more Christianity rhetoric. This also pushes Indian-Americans towards the Democratic party," Mishra argued.
Mishra said despite two Indian-Americans – Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley – having gained 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.