At noon today Georgia is expected to certify its recount of the votes on November 3rd. Biden’s margin in Georgia has shrunk a little to 12,781. At the same time, it looks like Nevada will be certifying a Biden victory with a margin of less than 3,500 votes. And in Arizona, Biden’s margin is under 11,000 voters. In Wisconsin, Biden’s margin is roughly 20,000 votes. And so on…
In the crazy election system in the United States, states with small populations matter. And, even more importantly, small ‘swing’ ethnic groups within these states matter too.
Simply stated, Iranian-Americans count. Iranian-Americans matter.
The United States of America is the country with the most Iranians after Iran! It has been estimated that there between 700,000 to 900,000 first generation Iranian-Americans, with over 80 percent that have now become naturalized US citizens. The Iranian interest section (i.e. Iranian embassy) in D.C. has information on 900,000 Iranians in America. And the ‘whole’ Iranian-American community according to major Iranian-related media companies i.e. TV stations selling advertising appears to be closer to 1.5 million Americans from viewership data.
Roughly half of the Iranian-American community resides in California. And, by the way, have already shown themselves to be a key voting block in key elections in the that State. But, in fact, there are significant numbers of Iranian-Americans spread out across the U.S.. And, from firsthand experience, I have literally dozens of first and second cousins spread out in these key states. Not all Iranians live in California.
As you may know, in the 2020 census, categories that capture Iranian-Americans have been eliminated. And, the US census bureau has removed its ethnic community-based search functions and databases. So, precise numbers are hard to come by.
But we can easily determine the size of the Iranian-American populations in each state by simply looking at the businesses that support them.
There are perhaps a dozen Iranian restaurants in Vegas alone. Hafez, Zeytoon, Sholeh… Not to be forgotten are Iranian restaurants in other cities in Nevada i.e. Aladdin in Reno etc.
I have been to several Iranian restaurants in Atlanta – Rumi’s Kitchen, Shiraz Café, Persepolis on several business trips. But I remember doing google searches and seeing at least a dozen Iranian restaurants in the metro-Atlanta region alone.
Bottom-line, there are significant populations of Iranian-Americans in all these key states. And by significant, I mean upwards of 20,000!! You couldn’t support all these Iranian businesses if this wasn’t true.
Iranian-Americans are the most highly educated immigrant group to have migrated to the U.S. With almost 2/3rds having college degrees, and roughly 1/3rd having a further advanced degree. Their per-capita wealth is the highest also, of all immigrant groups in the U.S. Iranian-Americans ‘fit’ the profile of Democratic party voters i.e. they are college educated ‘whites’ (and don’t live in trailer parks with Trump flags on their porches). But, also given the anti-Iranian rhetoric of the Trump administration (and the travel ban that targeted Iranians) and frankly of many Republicans like Lindsey Graham (calling Iranians liars), and Pompeo’s constant anti-Iranianism – I would argue there have been compelling arguments for Iranian-Americans to reject Trump and the Republican Party. Republicans have glopped all Iranians everywhere with the Mullahs that the U.S. put in power and that they have secret relations with!!
Contrary to what most Republicans believe, not all people are totally self-interested and transactional. Iranian-Americans, especially, place their dignity and pride above tax cuts. Iranians are a proud – very proud nation. You can’t just buy them by offering lower taxes. Also, they have a high degree of sophistication and political awareness.
For example, while the majority of Americans hate Iranians because of the Tehran Hostage crisis in 1980, most Iranian-Americans know that it was a scam conducted by Reagan’s campaign staff to humiliate Carter and win the Presidential election. Iranians are very aware of Oliver North’s secret dealing with the Mullahs, the arms sales, and the wholesale transfer of cocaine to the U.S. from Nicaragua to create mass incarceration of African-Americans and transform American politics. Like I said, Iranian-Americans are highly educated, and very aware. And, very pragmatically, given their wealth, they know how the U.S. economy always does better under Democrats (by every measure) than Republicans. They won’t be fooled with fake patriotism and lies.
And, now, they vote. And, without doubt, the majority voted for Democrats this cycle.
So, in summary, by attacking Iranians, Iranian-Americans, and Muslims Trump actually f***ed himself. They voted against him. And their vote was enough to swing the election.
I am sure, Trump F***ed himself in other ways too (like telling his supporters to vote in person etc.). But without doubt, sewing ethnic hatred, and polarization is a bad idea in a country where its ‘core’ electoral system is designed to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority. Yes, Republicans will tell you that the U.S. is a Republic, not a Democracy. And in their OWN definition of America’s political system, they need to appreciate the critical role of ethnic minorities in political outcomes. In this country, whoever can produce the greater coalition of voters, the broadest consensus wins.
Trump has paid a heavy price for his polarizing rhetoric.