Indian Americans, constituting about 2% of the U.S. population, have gained unprecedented political prominence, with five in the House of Representatives, nearly 50 in state legislatures, and two in the presidential race. For the first time, two Indian-Americans, Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy, are vying for the Republican presidential nomination, while Vice President Kamala Harris could become the first female president of color if President Joe Biden doesn’t complete his term.
Factors such as a new generation coming of age, reactions to Trump’s election, and Obama’s presidency fostering diversity in leadership contribute to this upswing in Indian-American political participation. However, despite growing representation, Indian-Americans largely align with the Democratic Party, as evidenced by a recent Pew Research Center survey.
The entry of Haley and Ramaswamy into the Republican presidential bid was anticipated to change this perception, but their hard-line positions on race, identity, and immigration have left many Indian Americans disconcerted.