In a long-awaited move, the AAPI Victory Fund Jan. 17 announced its endorsement of Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden.
Indian American Shekar Narasimhan, co-founder of the AAPI Victory Fund, told India-West that the organization had met with several of the candidates in the crowded race. “We asked the community what their priorities were and determined the top two concerns were having a candidate who can beat (President Donald) Trump and one who would listen to our community.”
Biden is hugely popular among Indian Americans, who gave the former vice president the bulk of their donations in the third quarter of 2019: about $246,000. Fourth quarter campaign contribution results will be available after Jan. 30.
Narasimhan said the group felt good about long-shot candidate Andrew Yang, who is Asian American, but — after seeing tensions escalate in the U.S.-Iran relationship as the U.S. killed Iran’s second-in-command, Gen. Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike, reportedly at the behest of Trump — “We started asking ourselves ‘who best has the interest of our country?’”
“Joe Biden can lead this country in a way in which we gain back our sanity and our stability in the world,” stated Narasimhan.
The organization will now organize on-the-ground rallies and digital events, invest in in-language media buys, among other efforts, “to get Biden to the finish line,” he said.
In a press statement, the AAPI Victory Fund said: “We make this endorsement with enormous respect for the three AAPI candidates and others who entered the presidential race. There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done in the next ten months, and AAPIs are more engaged than ever.”
“We are committed to continuing our work for 2020 victories and delivering one million new voters for Joe Biden to win the presidency and for Democrats to increase their House majority and to take back the Senate,” stated the organization.
Launched in 2015, the AAPI Victory Fund aims to mobilize Indian Americans and other Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to participate in the electoral process.
Biden For President campaign manager Greg Schultz told India-West by e-mail: “We are thrilled to have the AAPI Victory Fund as a partner in this monumental task of making Donald Trump a one-term president.”
“Time and time again, Joe Biden has proven himself to be the only candidate who can build the broad diverse coalition necessary to defeat Donald Trump. With the AAPI Victory Fund’s support, we are one step closer to doing just that,” said Schultz, noting that AAPIs are one of the fastest-growing communities in key states for the 2020 election.
Narasimhan told India-West he is disappointed that no person of color is among the “top four” in the presidential race, which is currently led by Biden, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. California Senator Kamala Harris, who dropped out of the crowded field on Dec. 3, citing poor polling and fundraising, had “the best chance at building a broader coalition, but she couldn’t do it,” said Narasimhan.
“Our community needs to be better organized, and needs to build the infrastructure to propel an AAPI candidate to visibility early on,” he said.