Today I came across an old Pepsi ad on YouTube. In it, Imran Khan, the cricket star, is playing cricket and during the break, he looks for a cold bottle of Pepsi among other bottles. After grabbing one, he rubs it over his forehead to dry off the sweat and perhaps also to cool off showing the bottle in good detail. And then he gulps down the dark sugar water. This used to be my favorite Pepsi ad. I always made sure to rub my Pepsi bottle over my forehead before drinking it. Yes, back then we had glass bottles.
And then it occurred to me; Khan was once the western corporations’ model personality in order to sell their products. Today, Khan is standing in the way of a different kind of western business industry preventing them from further selling their products. In the absence of CIA bases in Pakistan, the market would shrink for certain products such as armed drones, spying devices, hellfire missiles, and all other various kinds of weaponry and machinery designed to deliver instant death and destruction.
Siding with the US war on terror has caused enormous losses for Pakistan in the form of deaths, destruction, economic losses, and so forth. Pakistan felt the heat from the war on terror next door in Afghanistan. This time, Khan was again trying to wipe away the sweat off of the nation’s forehead caused by that heat.
However, this time around the wiping was not helping sell the product. It was rather resisting the sale. This is an unforgivable sin because it affects the bottom line of those who matter.
In the US, there are about half a million Pakistani-Americans living and working as doctors, engineers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and so forth. Pakistan is the fourth-largest source of doctors and dentists in the US. Among the countries with the highest number of immigrants making America their home, Pakistan is at number 12. These are some serious statistics.
A large chunk of the Pakistani-Americans today are the ones that grew up looking up to Imran Khan and equated even the consumption of unhealthy sugar water with being cool because Khan glamorized it. And just as they did not forget that Pepsi ad, they are not going to forget that their revered leader was removed by the Biden administration.
The veracity of this claim may be a matter of personal opinion but the undeniable fact remains that the Pakistani-Americans believe it. They will use their voting power against the US Democratic party to punish it wholesale because of what they believe President Biden orchestrated. They are seething with anger and I can confidently state that for the foreseeable future, the Democratic party has lost the Pakistani-American vote.
This demographic may not appear to be of much significance due to their relatively small number. However, Pakistani-Americans are concentrated in states such as New York, which is a Democratic-leaning state. Let us not forget what happened to Hillary Clinton in 2016 in the Democratic strongholds such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
These were three of the Blue Wall states which remained unshaken for decades but then in 2016, the big surprise came. The other US state where the Republican party’s lock has been in question in recent years is Texas. And Texas is home to the second-largest Pakistani-American population in entire America.
With Pakistanis flocking to vote for the GOP in an act of what is called revenge voting against the Democrats, the Texas lock could potentially turn into a Texas flip, if you will. The reason is that Houston is a large vote bank consisting majorly of immigrants. And immigrants tend to agree on foreign policy. The third-largest Pakistani-American population is in the state of California, which is another Democratic stronghold. Again, the demographic is not significant enough to make a dent today but tomorrow is another day.
This article first appeared in The Express Tribune. Click here to go to the original.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Pakistan Week.