Indian Americans democratically more active, participative: Political science Prof Karthick Ramakrishnan

WASHINGTON, Feb 8: Despite being less than one-and-half per cent of the US population, Indian Americans are more active and participative in the country’s democratic political process, Karthick Ramakrishnan, a professor at the University of California, has said.
The professor of public policy and political science observed that Indian Americans, as a group, are growing fast growing and tend to have the highest voting rates among Asian immigrants.
“Part of the reason is that Indians come from a pretty vibrant democracy. They also have a high proficiency in english, which helps. Also, more ad more are getting engaged in politics.
“So when you have candidates running for office, they’re more likely to get donors who support them,” Ramakrishnan told PTI in an interview.
Author of several books, Ramakrishnan is also a founder and director of the UC Riverside Center for Social Innovation and has been the Associate Dean of the School of Public Policy. He studies the political behaviour and engagement of immigrants to the United States, in particular Asian Americans.
“In terms of Indian American Engagement and politics, part of it is due to their voting, increasing campaign contributions and more people running for office,” he said in response to a question.
Of the over 4.5 million Indian Americans in the United States, a little over 40 per cent are eligible to vote which brings the community’s voting population to a little less than two million.
In terms of the voting rate in 2020, 71 per cent of Indian Americans exercised their right to vote, Ramakrishnan said, asserting that was quite a big number compared to Asian Americans overall, which was 60 per cent.
“For a group that’s more recently arrived, it’s quite remarkable. The proportion of them that ended up voting is quite high,” he said, noting that in battleground states, Indian Americans, even small in number, can play a decisive role.
In recent years there’s been a tremendous increase in terms of the number of Indian American candidates running for office, the number of donors and voters, Ramakrishnan said.
“So I think it’s still on a pretty strong upward trajectory in terms of what the future of Indian American political involvement looks like,” he added.
He observed that Indian Americans have been Democrats consistently for a while.
“Even though you might have some prominent Republicans like Nikki Haley, Indian Americans mostly are Democrats. If you look at their voting and donation patterns, and who runs for office, they tend to be among the strongest Democrats among Asian populations,” Ramakrishnan said.
“Indians are more likely to experience discrimination. And this, especially after the 9/11 period, saw that the Democratic party was much more friendly and credible when it comes to addressing discrimination than the Republican party.
“Then in the Republican party, you’ve had a strong strain of anti-immigrant sentiment as well as Christian nationalism. That has turned a lot of Indian Americans away from the Republican party,” he said. (PTI)