Ethiopians – the New Kingmakers in US Politics

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Ethiopians are the new kingmakers in US politics. With their recent success in helping flip the governor’s race in Virginia and in helping defeat representative Tom Malinowski, who drafted a very anti-Ethiopian Bill, HR6600, Ethiopians are becoming a force to be reckoned with in the US.

Formation of AEPAC

Ethiopians are becoming a consequential player in American politics with the formation of a PAC, the American-Ethiopian Public Affairs Committee (AEPAC). Through AEPAC, they have become influential in American politics by fundraising and organizing Ethiopians to vote. 

“The 2022 election was a turning point for the Ethiopian diaspora: 32 of the 35 AEPAC-endorsed candidates won their races. We now have friends of #Ethiopia in legislative offices across the US.” Mesfin Tegenu, AEPAC Chair.
Swing Estate Dynamics Favors Ethiopians

Unlike Cubans, who had a concentration mainly in Florida, or Armenians in California, the Ethiopians are spread out exceptionally well. They have become a significant voting bloc, especially in swing states, by registering Ethiopians and other Africans, including Eritreans. Once Florida went red, Cubans lost their leverage thanks to Governor Desanto, whose success is based on oppressing minority votes and gerrymandering.

Ethiopians Versus Cubans

Ethiopians, unlike Cubans, reside in many critical swing states like Georgia, Virginia, Nevada, Wisconsin, Ohio, and more. By organizing Ethiopians, Eritreans, and other people of African origin, Ethiopians are making their presence felt financially and with their votes. Most of the candidates they supported in the midterm election won, which is essential for any political PAC. This includes 20 house members, four senators, and two governors. Tight races in Arizona, Wisconsin, Nevada, and other states show the importance of any organized group like Ethiopians that has the potential to deliver a bloc of votes. Their candidates include Republicans like Chris Smith of New Jersey and Democrats like Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston, TX.

Georgia is a Battle Ground and the Role of Ethiopians

Now that all eyes are on Georgia, the importance of Ethiopian vote for either party remains critical. In the midterm election, disappointed with Senator Warnock’s ambivalent position on Ethiopia and Hershel Walker’s lack of sophistication in foreign policy forced them to stay neutral. Their role remains critical in the presidential election, where Biden eked out a crucial win in 2020 with 11000 votes to win Georgia. Without the support of Ethiopians, who number close to 100,000, and cohorts such as the Eritreans, Caribbean, and other Africans, Democrats can lose the senate and the presidential races in Georgia. So far, neither Democrats nor Republicans realized the potential impact of the Ethiopian vote. In 2020 Ethiopians voted overwhelmingly for Democrats disgusted with Trump’s vulgar language regarding Africa and his support for the Egyptian dictator, who is acting as the new Gadhafi by aligning with dictators and supporting anti-government rebels in Ethiopia and elsewhere.

Ignoring Ethiopians can be Costly to Both Parties.

Until the demographic of the various swing states changes where Ethiopians reside, Ethiopians will potentially be the new kingmakers in American politics, dwarfing any diaspora organizations. Failure by Democrats and Republicans to realize this new Ethiopian political power could be costly, especially in swing states. 

Dula Abdu is a US-based writer on foreign policy and economics and chair for AEPAC-TX.  

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Post Title: Ethiopians – the New Kingmakers in US Politics
Author: admin1
Posted: 20th November 2022
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