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Selected Publications

Private: Sumitra BadrinathanDevesh KapurMilan Vaishnav
(2020). “Why Indian Americans are not becoming Republicans any time soon.” The Washington Post


In 2005, writing in the National Review, conservative columnist Jay Nordlinger speculated that a “group of American superachievers” was “ripe” for the Republican Party. They were “entrepreneurial, hard-working, striving, traditionalist, family-oriented, religious, assimilationist, patriotic.” What’s more, he wrote, this group’s principal “‘issues” — “tax reform and regulation … free trade … tort reform” — were also dear to the GOP.

Nordlinger was wrong. The group he was writing about — Indian Americans — has remained loyal to the Democratic Party. Some observers have begun wondering again whether Indian Americans will depart for the Republicans. Last September, President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared the stage at a “Howdy, Modi!” rally in Houston, with about 50,000 cheering Indian Americans in the audience. Meanwhile, Democratic leaders have been critical of Modi’s domestic policies. Will Indian Americans switch sides over this?

In short, no. We find that Indian Americans remain solidly with the Democrats, for several reasons.