ASIAN VOTING TRENDS: A Microcosm of Power

With a growing 5% of the U.S. population, Asian-American voters are a political force—due to strategic demographic distribution. In close elections, Asian-American voters are a reliable Democratic swing vote. When the Wisconsin primary debate fell on the week of the Chinese and Lunar New Year, it wasn’t lost on Asian voters that Hillary Clinton wore an Asian-styled yellow jacket.

A few weeks later, she was the only candidate to attend the annual dinner of the Asian-American Institute for Congressional Studies, at which President Obama has also spoken. In urban cores like San Francisco, elected Asian officials reflect a significant Asian constituency, especially with district elections. Yet, over time, these unique Asian-American identities and their historical landmarks may disappear—as have too many already. Hopefully, more political influence will translate into preservation of Asian-American culture—to cultivate the American melting pot. An urgent action is to stop the homogenization and gentrification of Chinatowns.

WASHINGTON POST: Why Asian Americans don’t vote Republican

When Joseph Choe, an Asian American college student, stood up to ask a question about South Korea, Donald Trump cut him off and wondered aloud: “Are you from South Korea?”

Choe responded, “I’m not. I was born in Texas, raised in Colorado.” His answer prompted laughter from the audience, and nothing more than a shrug from the GOP presidential candidate.

Media outlets like NPR and the Huffington Post mocked this interaction as a “Where are you from?” moment.

A fellow conference attendee who walked by Choe subsequently joked, “You’re gonna have to show him your birth certificate, man!”

Although Trump probably did not intend to offend, this interaction likely reminded Choe and other Asian American voters that being Asian often translates to being perceived by fellow Americans as a foreigner.

However innocuous Trump’s question may seem, this is exactly the sort of exchange that could, in part, be pushing Asian Americans – the highest-income, most-educated, and fastest-growing segment of the United States – toward the Democratic Party by landslide margins.

A landslide for Obama

In the 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama won 73 percent of the Asian American vote. That exceeded his support among traditional Democratic Party constituencies like Hispanics (71 percent) and women (55 percent).

Asian Americans are regularly made to feel like foreigners in their own country through “innocent” racial microaggressions. Microaggressions are “everyday insults, indignities and demeaning messages sent to people of color by well-intentioned white people who are unaware of the hidden messages being sent.”

THE ECONOMIC TIMES: Hillary Clinton promises better representation for Asian-Americans

Obama & Clinton speak at APAICS

HUFFINGTON POST: Asian-American Vote:
CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Asian American and Pacific Islander Voters

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, or AAPIs, are the fastest-growing racial group in the United States, increasing at four times the rate of the overall U.S. population. While this population is projected to double in size from 17 million people in 2014 to more than 40 million people by 2060, its voting power has already nearly doubled in the past decade.


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