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Turkish and Azerbaijani officials accused Pelosi of visiting Armenia and making statements there that would gather domestic support from the diaspora in view of the upcoming US elections. E.g. the MFA of Azerbaijan said

In general, N. Pelosi is known as a pro-Armenian politician, and the presence of pro-Armenian members of Congress in her delegation directly demonstrates this. Taking into account that the period of mid-term elections to the Congress in the United States is coming, it seems that N. Pelosi is using this visit to gain the support of the Armenian lobby circles in the United States and her internal political agenda.

Is that a plausible main motivator though? How much of an impact does the Armenian lobby make in the US elections, e.g. in terms of donations? Or how many swing districts have large Armenian American concentrations? (Whichever of these might plausibly be a factor in the next elections.)

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  • Ummm . . . Vote?
    – ohwilleke
    Sep 20, 2022 at 20:45
  • 3
    FYI: The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that roughly 1.2 million Armenian Americans live in the United States today, most notably in communities in Northern California, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Metro Detroit and Philadelphia.
    – r13
    Sep 21, 2022 at 3:39
  • @r13: So that would be more like "preaching to the choir". Sep 21, 2022 at 3:40
  • Is there possibly some billionaire business man who is a democratic party sponsor and of Armenian descent? That could explain the 'Armenian lobby circles' and Pelosis visit in Armenia.
    – quarague
    Sep 21, 2022 at 6:48
  • The most prominent Armenian community in the US is in the LA area. Kardashians and Cher are of the Armenian descent. Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo, both Democratic US House members from California, are of Armenian descent. Also maybe useful in writing an answer. Looks like most US politicians of Armenian descent are from California.
    – wrod
    Nov 3, 2022 at 13:44

2 Answers 2

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Q: Can Armenian Americans plausibly have a noticeable impact on the 2022 US midterm elections?

The only race that stands out is the Pennsylvania US Senate election between John Fetterman (D) and Dr. Mehmet Oz (R). This election could affect the balance in the Senate.

Armenian Americans again called on Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz to end his complicity in Turkey’s Armenian Genocide denial, at a protest organized by the ANC of Pennsylvania (ANC-PA), timed with the televised debate between Dr. Oz and his opponent, Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman.

Protesters shared their concerns with local, national, and international media in the run-up to the debate, noting Dr. Oz’s refusal to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide, his close ties of Turkey’s dictator Recep Erdogan, and concerns that a Dr. Oz victory would open the door to foreign influence in the U.S. Senate. [Armenian National Committee of America]

However, Armenian Americans are not the only group protesting against Dr. Mehmet Oz.

A coalition of Armenian, Jewish, Greek and Kurdish Americans gathered at Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dr. Oz’s headquarters on Wednesday evening to protest his refusal to recognize the Armenian Genocide and to call upon him to end his complicity in Turkey’s international campaign of denial.

The ANCA has endorsed Dr. Oz’s opponent, Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, who issued a series of statements outlining his support for Armenian Genocide affirmation and education as well as a broad range of Armenian and Greek American concerns. [Armenian Weekly]

Q: Is that a plausible main motivator though?

Possibly (referring to the statement made by the MFA of Azerbaijan). I will note that at least one-fourth of House members are in the Congressional Armenian Caucus and that two resolutions have been introduced in the House favorable to Armenia and critical of Azerbaijan. Those resolutions may be seen as "her internal political agenda".

  • H.Res.240 - Calling on Azerbaijan to immediately release all prisoners of war and captured civilians. Introduced April 2, 2021.

  • H.Res.1351 - Condemning Azerbaijan's unprovoked military attack on Armenia. Introduced September 14, 2022, the day after the stated attack. (Pelosi and other caucus members visited Armenia on September 18th.) See also, Wikipedia, September 2022 Armenia–Azerbaijan clashes.

Q: How much of an impact does the Armenian lobby make in the US elections, e.g. in terms of donations? Or how many swing districts have large Armenian American concentrations? (Whichever of these might plausibly be a factor in the next elections.)

I have been unable to find information on donations.

In reviewing the list of endorsements at ANCA Endorses Pro-Armenia/Artsakh Senate and House Leaders, I found about eight Senate and House seats that are considered close; but have no information on how effective the lobbying or "get out the vote" effort may be.

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Despite the United States being called "A Melting Pot" it's not uncommon for immigrant communities to form clusters in regions for a number of reasons. Armenians first started to come to the U.S. to escape the Ottoman Empire's persecution of Christian Minorities, and on advice of American Missionaries in the regions, who were sympathetic to the plight of the Armenians. While the first settlers came to the United States via Atlantic Transit mostly because of the more reliable port infrastructure and industry and European ports with ships bound for the U.S. were closer enough for Armenians to travel too. However, with the 1850 admittance of California to the union, combined with favorable attitudes towards Armenians from the Russian Empire, it meant that while it might be a longer journey to Russia's Pacific coast, it was far safer than going to a European power as Armenians would avoid a journey through the Ottoman Empire. By 1870, the city of Fresno already had a large population of Armenians (at the time, most Armenians coming to America were farmers and Fresno's primary industry was farming), which meant that when the first large wave of Armenians came in the 1890s, the city of Fresno had some semblance of familiarity (This isn't an Arminian only immigration trope either. Most major ports of entry in the United States have large ethnic neighborhoods or districts because immigrants from certain places tended to rely on support of immigrants from their home country, especially with the language and cultural barriers in place. The Armenian community is likened to the strength of the German American community in it's organization (The German American at this time was quite strong and very active back in the early 20th century. However, world events would soon make German Americans less willing to bring up their German heritage despite the fact that German Americans are the largest ethnic minority in the United States.).

That all said, the Armenian dispora in the United States is still to this day, largely clustered to a few locations in the United States, which in turn concentrates their votes (hence why many politicians of Armenian descent are elected in California.). The Armenian American Lobby is quite influential and is said to be on par with major lobbies like the oil industry lobby, but in terms of advocacy, the lobby focuses more on lobbying for policies favorable to Armenia as well as recognition of the Armenian Genocide (which is easier said than done by U.S. Foreign policy, as doing so would damage U.S.-Turkey relations... and considering Turkey is a NATO ally and allows the U.S. to set up short ranged nukes targeting the U.S.S.R, pissing off Turkey is not something the State Department would like to deal with.).

The reason that Nancy Pelosi would give a speech in Armenia is 2 fold. First, as Speaker of the House, she is one of the major leaders of the United States and in charge of running the legislature, which means she has huge policy making power, especially when you consider that any law that allocates federal spending must originate from her half of Congress, and to say nothing of the fact that she is second only to the Vice President in the presidential line of succession. In addition, Nancy Pelosi is a California representative, specifically San Francisco, which does have a sizable Armenian population, so a speech to Armenia would be smart for her prospects for re-election. While she does not need to worry about losing her 2022 election, other California democrats are and this might help them with Armenian voters in their districts.

All that said, the Armenian vote is not likely to impact the 2022 midterms in a noticeable way, since the population isn't spread out. At best it would affect the California delegation to congress which is the largest in the nation with 52 reps and 2 Senators. But the balance of power will likely not shift with the Armenian Lobby and it's agenda. Even if the House flips, the most likely new Speaker of the House is Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California.

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