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From marginalized to margin of victory: The Indian American voter in Georgia

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Georgia State Senate Runoff

ATLANTA (Diya TV) — The Georgia Senate runoff has become the nation’s most important race as the balance of power in the U.S. Senate is in the hands of the Georgia voters. And while political pundits continue to speculate on national TV, one aspect that hasn’t received much attention is the impact of the Asian American voter.

“You can’t tell the suburban vote story without telling the Asian American vote story,”

IMPACT Executive Director Neil Makhija

Asian Americans are the fastest-growing demographic in Georgia (and nationally), and Indian Americans are the largest Asian American group in Georgia. There are an estimated 238,000 eligible AAPI voters in Georgia, a voting block that is coming into its own according to Neil Makhija, the Executive Director for IMPACT, an Indian American advocacy and political action committee.

“The Democratic Party couldn’t win the Presidency or the Senate without Asian Americans,” said Makhija. “In November, South Asian and Asian American voters were the critical difference between victory and defeat in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. The numbers are striking: Asian Americans increased turnout more than any other demographic, nearly doubling in Georgia. Asian Americans are becoming a core constituency of the Democratic Party, but they can’t be taken for granted.”

A recent poll conducted by IMPACT, shows the general eligible voting population in Georgia grew 9% between 2012 and 2018, however the Indian American voting population grew by 231%.

This year, Georgia saw a 91 percent increase in AAPI voter turnout over 2016, according to an analysis done by the Democratic firm Target­Smart, and exit polls showed Asian American voters preferred Vice President Joe Biden to President Trump by a 2 to 1 margin. 

An additional 42,000 AAPI voters voted in 2020 over 2016 and more than 30,000 AAPI voters voted for the first time ever. Biden won Georgia by just over 14,000 votes. Gwinnett County, located outside of Atlanta, was once a conservative stronghold. It’s now home to the state’s largest AAPI population and more than 30,000 AAPI voters cast their ballots early there this year compared with 9,500 in 2016.

Jennifer Baik, Communications & Policy Associate at APIA Vote says, “The AAPI vote will definitely be a deciding factor in the Georgia runoff races. According to new data from Pew Research Center, roughly 76,000 new voters have registered between October 5th and December 7th, and by the October 5th deadline in 2020, there were a total of 1,88,000 newly registered voters this year.”

IMPACT has launched a historic $2.5 million campaign to turnout AAPI voters in Georgia ahead of the January Senate runoffs.

“We are poised to play a critical role in January for the Georgia Senate runoff races,” Makhija continued. “IMPACT’s historic investment over the remaining weeks of the campaign will harness this emerging power of South Asian and Asian American voters to help deliver Georgia and control of the U.S. Senate for Democrats. This election can play a transformative role for the Biden-Harris Administration and for our country, and Asian Americans realize that — which is why they’re already turning in their ballots in record numbers.”

IMPACT’s new Georgia campaign follows its $10 million campaign in November focused on targeting Asian American voters in Pennsylvania and Arizona, the largest-ever effort to target South Asian voters. 

APIA Vote, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta and the Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS) have been working closely on the ground to activate AAPI voters and get out the vote.  Their efforts to reach Asian American voters include mailers in English, Korean, Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese

Aisha Yaqoob Mahmood, Director at the Asian American Advocacy Fund, and a Gwinnett County native says their group is doing all it can to mobilize the AAPI voters, by knocking on doors, connecting on local issues and doing in-language outreach.

The outreach is coming from both sides. In 2016, Trump became the first Presidential candidate in U.S. history to do TV ad campaigns targeting Indian Americans & Hindu Americans. In this election cycle, we’ve seen the both Republicans & the Democrats make outreach to the Indian American community via digital & TV ad campaigns, in addition to grassroots efforts.

Leoffler’s campaign has launched TV ad campaigns, targeting Indian Americans & the GOP has recruited fromer U.S Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, who is a key surrogate courting voters to vote for Senators Leoffler & Purdue.

APIA Vote says there was 310% increase in 2020 early voting compared to 2016. Baik adds, “if anything, the November elections have solidified AAPI voters as the margin of victory.”

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Senate holds up OPM nominee Ahuja’s appointment

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Senate holds up OPM nominee Ahuja's appointment | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON DC (Diya TV) — Senate Republicans are holding up Kiran Ahuja’s nomination to lead the Office of Personnel Management over concerns about her stance on critical race theory. GOP Senator. Josh Hawley and others in his party are concerned the Indian American would bring race-based training sessions to the entire federal government. Critical race theory recognizes that systemic racism is part of American society and challenges the beliefs that allow it to flourish.

Nishant Joshi is now Alameda California’s new police chief. He’s the first U.S.-born Indian American top cop in that state. Joshi says his parents wanted him to be a doctor or lawyer, but policing fascinated him. The Chief is married to a black woman and is a father to bi-racial children, which is why he says he wants to work on reforms to combat over-policing in communities of color.

El Salvador approved a bill that will eventually allow Bitcoin to be used as legal tender for many aspects of daily life, from property purchases to tax contributions. But the International monetary fund is warning about potential risks, especially volatility to the fragile economy. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Krishnamoorthi, Jayapal introduce the NOVID act

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Krishnamoorthi, Jayapal Introduce The NOVID Act | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON DC (Diya TV) — Indian American Representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi, Pramila Jayapal, and other lawmakers introduced the NOVID Act to dramatically expand the nation’s international coronavirus prevention and vaccination efforts. They hope this will reduce the risk of COVID-19 strains from spreading and will prevent additional domestic outbreaks.

A judge in India ordered state and federal officials to draw up plans for sweeping reforms to respect LGBTQ rights, in a ruling that went far beyond the narrow terms of a case brought by a lesbian couple who said they had been harassed by police. He ordered state and federal government departments to report back with steps they intend to take to comply.

A politician in India’s ruling party was shot dead in Kashmir. Assailants connected to Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based terror group, claimed responsibility for the assassination of Rakesh Pandita, who was a municipal councilor and member of the BJP. Pandita’s killing is the third attack on political leaders in Indian Prime Minister Modi’s party in Kashmir this year.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Bangladesh’s GDP per capita surpasses India, Pakistan

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Bangladesh’s GDP per capita surpasses India, Pakistan | Diya TV News

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (Diya TV) — Bangladesh is richer than Pakistan and India? That’s what the country’s Cabinet Secretary says… at least when it comes to Gross Domestic Product. in simple terms GDP is the total number of value and services produced by a country. Officials say the success is largely due to Bangladesh’s relentless focus on products, such as apparel. and the share of women in the labor force has consistently grown, unlike in India and Pakistan.

Yale University is restricting access to a controversial audio lecture recently given by Dr. Aruna Khilanani. It sparked outrage by some in the community after she’s heard saying it’s pointless to talk to white people about race and described in graphic detail her fantasy to shoot white people to death. The Indian origin psychiatrist responded by saying her words were taken out of context and explained her lecture was intentionally provocative for real engagement.

And Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos along with his brother are blasting off into space. It will be the first human flight launched by his space company, Blue Origin. In an Instagram post, Bezos said space flight was something he had wanted to do “all my life”. Blue Origin is also auctioning off a seat in the capsule, for someone who will join the inaugural flight.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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