Ivanka Trump is expected to be the special guest at Rajadhani Mandir in Virginia for this year’s Diwali celebrations. But her efforts to reach out to the Indian-American community may not yield results.
Indian-Americans across United States are gearing up for Diwali Celebrations next week. Libraries, Temples and other community spaces are hosting Diwali special events and selling tickets fast. Even the United States Postal Service (USPS) commemorated the festival of Diwali by dedicating the Diwali Forever stamp on Oct 5, 2016. The first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony took place at the Consulate General of India in New York City.
Photo Courtesy: United States Postal Service
Ivanka Trump to be the special guest in Loudoun
Loudoun County in Virginia is going to have a special guest this Diwali. Republican Presidential Nominee, Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump. Ivanka Trump is a successful businesswoman and a prominent member of her father’s presidential campaign. She is expected to participate in the Diwali celebrations in Rajdhani Mandir, one of the oldest Hindu temples in the county. Besides Trump’s growing business interests in area, can this Diwali swing Virginia in his favour?
Both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections have indicated that the candidate winning the Loudoun County wins Virginia. Virginia has 13 crucial electoral votes in the 2016 Presidential bid. Traditionally a republican strong hold, Virginia has turned blue in the past few years.
Photo Courtesy: Twitter
Can Trump turn around Virginia?
Political experts argue that if there is one state Trump cannot win, its Virginia. One major factor is the demographics of the region. According to CNBC, Virginia’s non-white population has grown from 22 percent to 28 percent between 2009 and 2013. And the population is also getting younger. The size of the population ages 18-29 has jumped from just 15 percent to 19 percent since 2009. Both younger voters and non-white Americans are simply less statistically likely to vote for any Republican
Besides, non-white population born in the United States, Loudoun County’s foreign born population has increased fourfold and grew from 11.3 % to 24% between 2000 and 2014. India, El Salvador, Philippines, China, Korea and Vietnam comprise nearly half of the Loudoun’s foreign population. India tops the list with 19.7% of the foreign born population.
The growing number of Indian Americans in Loudoun County can be attributed to the Dulles Technology corridor, which houses all major technology and defense company headquarters or major offices. The corridor has access to a highly educated work force in Loudoun County. According to U S Census 2013, Loudoun County has 57.6% adults above the age of 25 with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Loudoun is also the wealthiest county in the US with a median income of $117.876.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau, current population estimates show there are about 20,000 to 25,000 Indian-Americans living in Loudoun. Education, wealth and diversity of the Indian American community have also stirred a backlash in the form of anti-Hindu vandalism. The Washington Post says that in 2014 alone, between July and October, the county authorities responded to 17 hate incidents involving Indian Americans.
The Republican Party and its nominee in this election have been called out for their anti-immigrants stand and for inciting hate and anger in non-white communities on several occasions. It is in this context that Ivanka Trump’s visit will be scrutinized and also be used by the Indian American community as an opportunity to demonstrate their diversity, acceptance and desire to be treated with dignity. Indian-Americans around the US have traditionally supported the Democratic Party and have done so in Virginia for the past two presidential elections in 2008 and 2012. Can Ivanka’s Diwali with the Indian community change that? May be not.