There’s one immigrant minority group the Trump campaign is pursuing in earnest: a small segment of Indian Americans. Two weeks after Donald Trump’s appearance at an event hosted by a Hindu nationalist group, the Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC), his campaign released an RHC-produced TV ad, according to Business Insider. The ad, which to be honest looks pretty low budget, will air on 20 channels like TV Asia and Zee TV, which cater to South Asian audiences.
Opening with a message for Diwali, or the Hindu New Year, the video cuts—which honestly is a litabruptly—to Trump’s speech at the RHC event a few weeks ago The adwill air on TV Asia and Zee TV USA, channels aimed at South Asian audiences.in Edison, NJ. Then the jump cuts keep coming: Trump speaking, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Trump, a photo of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai. Then comes the motherlode: some footage of Trump awkwardly forcing out a phrase in Hindi. “Abi ki baar, Trump sarkaar,” says Trump. Or, roughly translated: “This time, we’re with Trump.”
When it comes to Indian Americans, though, Trump is in a hole to begin with. Around 65% of Indian Americans are Democrats or lean Democrat, according to the Pew Research Center, and some 78% of Indian American voters said in a recent poll that they either had an unfavorable view of Trump or—probably worse for his ego—had never heard of him.
What’s more, younger South Asians are among those mounting efforts to oppose Trump. In one such campaign, #VoteAgainstHate, younger South Asian Americans are trying to convince their perhaps more conservative parents not to vote for Trump.
“The biggest concern I have is trickle down racism. That to me is the most scary part of the rhetoric and the type of people that he is emboldening through this campaign,” Vijay Chattha, the executive producer of that video, told Fusion.
So the kids are against it. Many of the people targeted aren’t going to vote for Trump anyway—or vote at all. Then what’s up this effort from Trump’s camp to keep targeting Indian Americans—or, more specifically, Hindu Americans—even as his campaign has laid to waste its relationship with every other minority and immigrant group?
The Republican Hindu Coalition may offer some answers. One of the issues this right-wing group has in common with the American right is it’s tough stance on terrorism. Even some of the RHC’s slogans are cribbed from Republican foreign policy types: “Peace can only be maintained in the world through strength,” says the group’s website. Hindu nationalists like the RHC also espouse a brand of aggressive anti-terrorism rhetoric that—not unlike Trump—is prone to crossing the line into Islamophobia. It’s something Modi, the Indian prime minister, has been accused of before.
The ad is not subtle about making comparisons between Trump and Modi, even biting Modi’s Modi’s 2014 election slogan: “Ab ki baar, Modi sarkaar.”
None of this should come as a surprise: RHC chair Shalabh “Shalli” Kumar has been one of Trump’s most generous donors. He’s contributed at least $898, 800 to the Trump Victory PAC this year. The Hill reported.
So this one minority group Trump is pursuing with his weirdly low-budget ad isn’t even that large a minority. It’s mostly just ideological commonalities between some right-wing nationalists from one country and another—and maybe about a million bucks in campaign donations. In other words, business as usual for Trump.