Biden is best friend of India

By Ajay Bhutoria

The US presidential  election is decided by the voters of  “battleground” or  “swing states”,  which take the winner to the magic number of 270 in the Electoral College.

The eight states which will decide the 2020 Presidential election include four northern states (Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota), three southern states (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina) and  Arizona. Collectively, these eight states have 127 electoral votes. Some of these diverse states depend on agriculture, others on manufacturing or tourism.  They’ve been impacted by Covid-19 in different ways.

Within each of these swing states, I believe, the roadmap ahead for Vice President Joe Biden and Trump is clear. The president must max out his performance with rural voters while Biden needs a robust turnout in the big cities.

Vice President Biden’s easiest path to the presidency runs through the states Hillary Clinton won in 2016, as well as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. This gets him  to 278 electoral votes. Were  Biden to win every state carried by Hillary Clinton along with the seven battleground states in which he’s currently leading, he would secure 347 electoral votes in a landslide victory.

The interesting point this election is that the Indian American votes may turn out to be the margin of victory in battleground states.

In 2016 Trump had a narrow win in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. This 2020 cycle the Indo Americans / South Asians are doing extensive outreach to voters in 14+ languages through thousands of phone banking calls each week and are determined to turn out the 1.3 million Indo American votes for VP Biden. Per a recent survey, 80% of Indo Americans in battleground states are going to vote for VP Biden. There are 125,000 Indian American voters in Michigan, 156,000 in Pennsylvania and 37,000 in Wisconsin.  Indian American votes will also make a huge difference in states such as Florida (eligible voter base of 193,000), Georgia (150,000), North Carolina (111,000), Texas (475,000), and Arizona (66,000).

Several Indo American organizations are reaching out to the voters through regular phone banking, text banking. We have launched digital social media advertisements through graphics in 14 languages, Bollywood based Get out the Vote videos. The community is engaged and we will see a bigger turnout for Biden-Harris and elect them as our next President and Vice President. Biden will lead us out of 4 long years of darkness into the path of Growth, Love, Equality, and Light!!

The fact remains that except for making some shrill but general statements, Trump has not really done anything substantive to grow a relationship with India, neither on the trade front nor on immigration. He has made it tougher to get green cards or H1 visas.  Trump has revoked India’s Special Trade Partner Status and levied tariffs on Indian imports. He has cut visitor Visa/Student visa and H1 visa  to Indian immigrants. In the first debate, Trump clubbed India with China and Russia, saying India’s Covid numbers cannot be trusted, thereby directly questioning Modi government’s integrity on a world stage and hurting India’s Reputation. India has managed COVID much better than Trump’s mess of a management.

Trump has continued to blame India’s greed for the TS withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and falsely Claimed that PM Modi asked him to intervene in Kashmir. He even lied and falsely claimed that PM Modi asked Trump to mediate the dispute with China. Trump has no trade deals signed with India so far – both times the two leaders met extensively, nothing came of it. The relationship they have is merely confined to photo-ops.

Joe Biden is the best friend India can have to further Indo-US relationship. As Vice President, he laid the foundation of furthering strong ties with India. He has clear policies and direction, which will help effectively resolve issues faced by Indian American community and grow Indo-US bilateral relationships at all levels: People to People, Business/Industry to Business/Industry.

Above all, the Biden White House  will support a permanent seat for India at the United Nations Security Council.

On trade, five years ago, Biden set the goal of $500 billion in two-way trade. And he and President Obama talked about this as being the defining partnership of the 21st century.

Biden Administration will have no tolerance for terrorism in South Asia.

The Biden administration will handle China’s relationships effectively. Joe Biden would sanction China for its plan to impose new national security rules on Hong Kong. His campaign on Wednesday accused President Trump of having “enabled” Beijing’s curbs on freedoms in the former British colony. A Biden administration would “fully enforce” the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, “including sanctions on officials, financial institutions, companies and individuals,”

In India and China’s Quest for Strategic Dominance in the Indo Pacific Region, the Biden administration will be strategic to bring US-India closer.

Hate crimes against the South Asian communities have skyrocketed during the Trump administration. You won’t hear our President saying anything against racial hatred. From grocery stores to workplaces to simply being in their community, many AAPIs, including Sikh, Hindu, and Muslim Americans, have continually faced discrimination and hate, which is further exacerbated by Trump’s dangerous rhetoric and fanning the flames of hate. The Obama-Biden Administration added “Anti-Sikh” and “Anti-Hindu” to the Department of Justice’s hate crime reporting categories. The administration also provided resources and worked with local leaders to combat bullying directed at the AAPI community. Joe will make clear that hate has no safe harbor in this country. And, his Justice Department will prioritize prosecuting hate crimes.

On visas, Biden will support family-based immigration and preserve family unification as a core principle of our immigration system, which includes reducing the family visa backlog. Biden committed that during his first 100 days, the focus will be on streamlining the naturalization process, to make it easier for qualified green card holders to move through the backlog. This will be a huge win for thousands of H1B workers who live in a limbo.

Biden will increase the number of visas offered for permanent, work-based immigration based on macroeconomic conditions and exempt from any cap the recent graduates of Ph.D. programs in STEM fields. And, he will support first reforming the temporary visa system for high-skill, specialty workers to protect wages, then expanding the number of visas offered and eliminating the limits on employment-based visas by country.

Biden will remove the uncertainty for Dreamers by reinstating the DACA program and explore all legal options to protect their families from inhumane separation. As president, Joe will end workplace raids and  Protect other sensitive locations from immigration enforcement actions. No one should be afraid to seek medical attention, or go to school, their job, or their place of worship for fear of an immigration enforcement action.

Clearly, most Indian Americans would say without hesitation that Biden would be a better President and world leader and  better for India on all counts. Biden’s win, as seems likely, New Delhi would find a natural partner who will walk the talk.

In the first debate we saw two vastly different types of leadership. While Joe Biden outlined a vision for a unified, big-hearted America, Trump doubled down on the same blind partisanship and divisive rhetoric he’s been pushing since he was on the campaign trail four years ago.

So much of who we are as Americans is at stake in this election. And while our choice could not be clearer, the road to get there will be tough.

The closer we get to November 3, the more Donald Trump and his allies are showing they will push our democratic institutions to their limits in their relentless pursuit of retaining power. Right now is the time to focus on doing everything we can to elect Joe, Kamala, and Democratic candidates running in key races around the country who will pull us back from the brink.

Biden is not running just as anti-Trump candidate, he has shared his vision to rebuild the middle class and economy, restore  American leadership in the world, deal with systematic racism, economic inequity, support for small businesses, immigration reform and plan for rural America. He wants to  Restore the Soul of our Nation. It is time to work hard to elect Biden as the next President of the United States and Kamala Harris as the next Vice President.

Ajay Bhutoria has been on the National Finance Committee and AAPI leadership council of DNC for over 14 years and played a leadership role on Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016. He has led several successful digital outreach viral campaigns for Biden for President 2020.

Images courtesy of (Photo: White House) and (Photo provided)

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