Posts Tagged ‘Armenians’

Did Ethiopians Influence the Senatorial Race in GA?

Thursday, December 8th, 2022

Ethiopians and the diaspora may have decided the winner in the senatorial race in Georgia. The margin of victory between senatorial candidates Herschel Walker and Senator Warnock was less than 96000. It was close to the number of Ethiopians living in the Atlanta metro and a lot less than the total African diaspora population in Georgia.

Even though there was controversy about whether to support Senator Warnock or not, it was obvious that many Ethiopians decided to support Warnock over Walker given his connection to the King’s legacy and lack of interest by the Republican Party in attracting diaspora and minority votes.

It is alleged that close to 100000 Ethiopian live in Atlanta alone. The total population of the diaspora that claims roots in Africa including Ethiopians, Eritreans, Nigerians, and People from the Caribbean is estimated to be over a quarter of a million.

Thus one can conclude the margin of victory in a swing state like Georgia may have come from the diaspora population. Ethiopians and their cohorts organized under an umbrella organization AEPAC (American-Ethiopian Political Action Committee) can have a strong impact and make a strong presence in politics in the USA. The political influence of AEPAC and the diaspora is bound to increase going forward in a number of swing states. It is also worth remembering that in 2020, President Biden won Georgia by less than 12000 votes.

Ethiopians have shown their power in recent elections. They played an essential role 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 an important player in American politics because of the formation of a PAC, the American-Ethiopian Public Affairs Committee (AEPAC). Through AEPAC, they have flexed their power in American politics by making a contribution and organizing Ethiopians and other Diasporas.

During the midterm election, most of the candidates AEPAC supported won. Out of 35 candidates, AEPAC supported 32 won their race. This includes 20 house members, four senators, and two governors.

The demographic situation and the political divide in the US empower organized groups like the American Israelis, Cuban and other groups.

The Ethiopians have a strong advantage given they are spread out exceptionally well throughout the US. Unlike Cubans who are concentrated in one state, Florida, Ethiopians on the other hand are located in major swing states like Georgia, Nevada, Ohio, Colorado, Virginia, and more.

Both the Democratic and the Republican parties need to be cognizant of this fact in order to control congress and the white house. Of course, the diaspora population needs to hone on this message to both parties so that they give due credence and acknowledgment to the diaspora, especially to AEPAC

Ethiopians – the New Kingmakers in US Politics

Sunday, November 20th, 2022

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.