“The political parties start looking and saying, ‘who is this community? How do we engage them?’” Dr. Shah said. Among immigrant groups in the 2016 election, Indians had one of the highest voter turnout rates.
Even more striking are the sheer numbers of Asians now running for office themselves.
When he first arrived, “no one considered that an Indian American would ever run for office,” said Dr. Shah, who ran for a county seat this election, but did not win. “But that’s really changed.”
In Loudoun County alone, at least six Asian-Americans — all South Asians — ran for state and local offices on Tuesday with mixed success, said Mark L. Keam, a Democratic member of Virginia’s House of Delegates.
Mr. Keam, an immigrant from South Korea, said the rise in political participation is generational — a surge in interest among Asian-Americans born and raised in America whose idea of civic participation is very different from those of their immigrant parents. This trend is just now reaching escape velocity, he said.
“The growth that looks like a hockey stick curve just kicked in, with a huge mass of people participating in politics,” he said in an interview. “And it just so happened at the exact moment when a xenophobe with a huge megaphone ran for president on a platform of building a wall, banning Muslims and confronting China.”
In Centreville on Thursday — smack in the middle of House District 40, where the nonwhite population has jumped by more than fivefold since 1990, driven by immigrants from South Korea — several people said Mr. Trump was the reason they voted this week.
“People are just sick and appalled at this president,” said Dr. Charles Huh, a gastroenterologist, as he waited for takeout at the food court in Lotte Plaza Market, a Korean grocery store. “He’s the best thing Republicans have done for Democrats in a long time.”