This US presidential election in 2020 has been markedly different from the ones before it. One of the many reasons why includes Kamala Harris' historical nomination as a Vice President candidate this year.
Something that's been up for debate since the beginning of the elections is Kamala Harris' 'Indianess', her lineage of Jamaican and Indian ancestry, which has been exoticised and dissected over and over. Will it be enough though to win the elections?
Kamala's Indian ancestry as a talking point
The minute we speak about Kamala Harris, we often begin speaking of India. It's a whole press and information system that has carefully curated this idea of the political nominee. Giving us numerous factoids and bits such as where she grew up, her connection to her 'roots', her parentage. In short, the identity we associate most with her.
The Democratic nominee recently created a stir for referring to her aunts as 'Chithis' recently, which sent Indians into a spiral. What these moments do for people is create room for reliability, a shout out we didn't know we needed. Somehow the connection to a political candidate becomes more personal. Her speech on Independence Day reminiscent of her childhood memories created more waves around her Indian connection.
We often forget in the midst of this lies politics. In Bloomberg's recent report, Kamala Harris' maternal uncle says, "Indians love drama, which explains President Trump's popularity in India. But I am confident that she will be equally popular." That should give us a cue.
One of the things, though highly debated makes Trump popular among the American-Indian voting population is his connection to Prime Minister Modi. The undeniable link there had added much traction to Trump's campaigns.
The Joe Biden and Kamala Harris unit have also taken the American-Indian population seriously, with events, speeches and soft promises. What's important to note here is that much of this American-Indian voting population has been seen to be concentrated in the 'swing states' such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and others —to name a few.
Kamala Harris' cultural connection to India, has not only made her popular and a politician to be watched in America. Harris has also been vocal on Indian issues so far. It has also made her an intriguing personality all the way here in India. This time Indians may feel they somehow have a stake in this US elections, a personal reason to follow it.