As with all Americans, Iranian-Americans will face many obstacles when it comes to the upcoming presidential election. The voter has the choice of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, a third party candidate or to abstain altogether. Approximately 30% of Iranian-Americans who were eligible to vote in 2012 refused when Election Day arrived. The figure is thought to be much higher now.
The arguments against Clinton or Trump gaining presidency power are relatively the same across the board. However, some Iranian-Americans appear to have some added disapproval when it comes to Clinton's remarks aimed at Iranians and their country over the last few years. Some people have even gone as far to say that voting for Clinton is as diabolical as a Mexican supporting Trump. Below we take a look at what the upcoming U.S. election means for Iranian-Americans.
Firstly, let us discuss Clinton's opinions on Iran. Many Iranian-Americans still have vivid memories of Clinton's remarks during a debate back on October 15. Iranian-Americans and many others will remember her branding Iranian-Americans as enemies. Although it's thought that she was referring to the government of Iran, the words that she used caused an uproar as they could have meant anything from Iranian Diaspora to the huge mass of Iranian's living in Iran. Her words offended more easily than normal given the significant heightened Islamophobia at the time.
Clinton also caused grave offense before the debate when she spoke on Good Morning America in 2008 during the period of the presidential election. She said that she wanted the Iranians to be aware that if she became president, the country would attack Iran. The comment was made concerning whether Iran would ever invade Israel, which is common yet silent knowledge regarding U.S. foreign policy. Although Clinton admitted her words were harsh, she said that they were necessary to ensure that Iran understood that there would be definite consequences if they decided to act recklessly. However, many Iranian-Americans took the comments personally. Especially those that have relatives living in Iran and often visit. Clinton still stands by her words but chooses them more wisely in recent times.
On the other hand, Clinton is also recognized for her endorsement for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also referred to as the Iran Deal. Donald Trump relentlessly detests the nuclear deal; so much so that reports say it is the reason why he ran for office.
Regardless of Clinton's policies, the whole abstention holds great irony when you think back to Iran's presidential elections in 2005. A lot of Iranians boycotted the elections. Iranians argued that President Mohammad Khatami was disillusioned concerning his poor reform plans and failure to fight against the tensions that came with the 1999 student uprisings. The boycott mainly led to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gaining the presidency despite people knowing little about him. In 2009, people felt a severe backlash when Iranians all choose to vote for Mr. Hussein Mousavi, a reformist candidate, which led to further complications.
Some argue that minority groups are choosing not to vote for Donald Trump. However, there are both Iranian-Americans and Latinos that intend to give his their vote. The outcome of the next election may be a surprise to many.