According to extrapolated U.S. Census data and other independent surveys in 2009, there were an estimated one million Iranian-Americans living in the U.S. And, ‘Greater LA’ may in fact house more than 500,000 Iranians. According to the state of California, there are over 40 cities in California where Iranian-Americans comprise more than 2% of residents. In Beverly Hills and Glendale Iranians-Americans form more than15% of the population; and in Burbank, Calabasas, and Turlock more than 5% of the population.
Oh, and by the way, they vote. Yes, finally, Iranian-Americans are voting! So, when the vote is ‘close’ in any California district – and it swings – you can bet Iranian-Americans had a lot to do with it.
Dana Rohrbacher (R), in CA 48th District, (former head of the House Foreign Relations committee) lost by 17,000 votes (by a 6% margin). A District he had ‘owned’ for decades. And in CA’s 10th, 39th, 45th and 49th District that the Democratic Party’s ‘flipped’, the margin achieved was close to 2% of the vote!
Where are these districts?
Well, the 39th, 45th, 48th and 49th – are ALL in LA and its suburbs. Or as Iranian-Americans call it Tehrangeles! And the 10th District, is where Turlock is i.e. Iranian-American population of 5% (remember the margin of the win was 2%).
It’s simple math, Iranian-Americans made a critical difference.
Historically, Iranian-Americans split their vote, but not this time. Iranian-Americans, are the most affluent Immigrant group, ever in the history of America. They are ‘generally’ very successful – with a great majority working in professional fields – Medicine, and Engineering; with an unusually large percentage in their own businesses. This naturally would suggest a tendency to vote for the Republican party. Also, Iranian-Americans have never quite forgiven Jimmy Carter for toppling the Shah and engineering the rise of the Mullahs in Iran (that eventually backfired on him).
But they are immigrants too. And most recently, they have been targets of Republican politicians’ humiliating attacks and actions. Trump has banned ordinary Iranians from travelling to the US! Trump back tracked on the JCPOA agreement with Iran and has in effect sanctioned ordinary Iranians. Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham has called Iranians liars and stated that he would be embarrassed if he had any genetic link to Iranians. But interestingly, Dana Rohrbacher, Republican member of the House of Representatives, from California’s 48th District has been a staunch backer of Trump and Trump’s anti-Iranian stance. Many Iranian-Americans I have spoken to feel humiliated, attacked, even saddened by this Republican party bigotry. And if you know Iranians, like I do, you will appreciate that they will always place their pride above their ‘wallets’! No amount of tax reductions or financial bribes will ever persuade Iranians to support Republican Party candidates going forward. They are not whores.
Also, slowly, but surely, Iranian-American’s have learnt of how the Republican Party interfered in Iran and aligned with the Mullahs (to extend the Tehran Embassy Hostage crisis) and sell arms to the Mullahs (Iran-Contra affair)! And now that the Mullahs are charting a more independent tack (with closer alliances with the Russians and Chinese), the Republicans are migrating to Albania to support a widely hated, and discredited band of undemocratic Marxists, who have repeatedly sided with Iran’s enemies (the MEK) as the leading candidates to ‘rule’ Iran! The Republicans have basically lost ALL credibility when it comes to Iran!
And most interesting, many Iranian-Americans have now lived here for over 25 years and understand that Democratic Presidents manage the U.S. economy more responsibly than Republicans. It was Bush Jr. after all that tanked the economy in 2007. Clinton and Obama were much better stewards. And Trump is behaving much like Bush Jr. – with a few years of growth, but no real sustainable plan for the impeding downturn. Trump is patently a crook, who has filed numerous bankruptcies – his financial record is flawed. In California, especially, the seeds of his recklessness are visible with massive negative impact on the state’s agriculture because of tariffs on China.
Everyone knows, Trump has no real interest in toppling the Mullahs and is playing ‘domestic’ politics with Iran and Iranians. It’s all bullshit. It’s all a game – and Iranians are the victims. If they had their will, Iranians would become Yemenites and there would be mass famine and disease across Iran … and they wouldn’t even flinch an eyelid! It’s very clear Republicans hate all non-whites (as they see it) – especially Iran and Iranians!
Thankfully, Iranian-American’s have wizened up. My hat off to you! I am prouder of being an Iranian-American today – than ever before!