The US Presidential elections are just nine months away, and Donald Trump tried to use his visit as an opportunity to woo Indians living in the US. In his India visit, Trump had the advantage that no one will criticize him here and ask uncomfortable, difficult questions when he claims what all he did for the US and India-US relations.
This trip would help him because, “About 4.5 million people of Indian origin live in the US today, and despite their relatively small numbers, Indian Americans are a growing political force in the country.” They can typically vote for Democrats, reports BBC news.
In 2016, only 16% of Indian Americans voted for Mr Trump, according to the National Asian American Survey. “Indian Americans do not believe in cutting taxes and making government smaller. They favor social welfare spending,” says Karthick Ramakrishnan, a professor of public policy at the University of California, Riverside, who ran the survey.
Trump received a grand welcome at the ‘Namaste Trump’ event at Ahmedabad’s Motera Stadium, where more than one lakh people gathered in the world’s biggest cricket stadium. Trump didn’t forget to mention the “Howdy-Modi” event in a huge football ground in Texas, where Modi didn’t just get very good hospitality, but how it also boosted Modi’s image.
Before that, Modi spoke at the Madison Square Garden in midtown Manhattan, New York, which was also telecasted at Times square. This built Modi’s image as a leader who is welcomed and well-accepted even by the strongest country in the world.
Similarly, Trump will get an image build-up that how he is being welcomed in India. During the visit, he claimed he did many good works, and how he is a strong leader, how he is signing business deals. Also, Indians living in the US may support him this time, seeing his good relations with the Indian Prime Minister.
Mr Trump has sought to court the American Indian votes in the run-up to the 2020 election. In September, he appeared next to Mr Modi at a massive event in Houston, Texas named “Howdy Modi“, and declared: “You have never had a better friend as president than President Donald Trump.”
According to Mr Ramakrishnan, Trump’s efforts in reaching out to India could help boost his numbers at the margins. “I think there would be some short-term dividends but probably not to the extent that many Republicans might hope,” he says.
Trump also said that one out of four Indians in the US are Gujaratis, and for him, Gujarat is special. It is also a fact that the Gujaratis in the US are very affluent and more connected with PM Modi. So this will again help Trump in his upcoming election.