WASHINGTON — The Indian American community largely supports Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton because of the unique relationship she has built with the community and India, according to one of her major backers.
"Historically, Indian Americans, like other Asian Americans and a lot of other immigrant groups, have been big supporters of the Democratic Party," Frank Islam, an India-born entrepreneur and philanthropist told IANS.
"It has been more inclusive and more welcoming toward all immigrants," he said, adding, "I doubt any other American politician has been able to build the kind of relationship with the Indian American community — and India — as Clinton."
"Additionally she has been a champion of the middle class for decades," Islam said.
"As president, she wants to provide better health care and better jobs for all Americans."
"Hillary has been a staunch ally of India, and she recognized that Indian Americans have enabled the U.S. to be a stronger and healthier nation," he added.
Roughly 70 percent Indian Americans plan to vote for Hillary Clinton compared with 7 percent for her Republican rival Donald Trump, according to most recent polls cited by the Washington Post.
"I am a big fan of Hindu and a big fan of India," Trump told a rally organized by the Republican Hindu Coalition in Edison, New Jersey over the weekend.
He also praised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a "great man,” saying the two nations would be "best friends" and "there won't be any relationship more important to us.”
"Indian Americans, as a community, have shunned Donald Trump, and rightfully so," asserted Islam.
But he conceded that "Trump has touched the nerve of angry and uneducated white working class voters."
"His message on job losses is resonating with these people," he said, adding, "Clinton is making every effort to reach out to this demography."
"With her strong economic message, I am confident she will succeed converting a significant section of this group to her side."
Islam was also confident that Clinton will offer "true friendship" to India and "take the U.S.-India relations to the next level.”
Noting that "since 1992, the U.S.-India relations have gotten better and better under every president, whether a Democrat or Republican," he said, "I have no doubt that the ties will continue to be nurtured under a Clinton administration."
"There will be focus on trade and economic partnership, on cooperation in the area of defense and counter-terrorism, and on climate change and other global issues," Islam said, noting there is bipartisan support for India in the U.S.
Islam, who is on Hillary Clinton's national finance committee, found it hard to say how much money the community has raised for the Clinton campaign, but he himself is on pace to raise close to $1 million for it.
Republican Hindu Coalition's founder Shalabh Kumar is one of rival Trump's biggest fundraisers, according to the Washington Post.
Together with his immediate family, Kumar has given almost $2 million to super political action committees that support Trump, it said.