The Democratic Party is losing the Asian American vote.
Although this influential demographic previously leaned heavily towards the left, recent trends show changing priorities within this voter bloc, according to a recent New York Times report.
Asian Americans have the power to play a pivotal role in the upcoming elections as they become increasingly politically active, as seen in part by the growing number of Asian American elected officials, like Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and Republican California Rep. Young Kim. Or the possible 2024 matchup between Nikki Haley, who has already announced her bid for president, and Vice President Kamala Harris, who is likely to stay on President Joe Biden’s ticket.
On the voters’ side, Asian Americans, now made up of over 18 million voters, are increasingly participating in elections. In 2014, 28% of the Asian American community voted but the number rose to 42% four years later, according to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Meanwhile, in the last presidential election in 2020, U.S. Census Bureau data showed that 60% of Asian Americans cast their vote, a percentage lower than the turnout among “African Americans but higher than that of Latinos,” the article stated.
“Asian Americans, especially new voters, were part of the record turnout of communities of color in the 2020 elections. Asian American voters played an important role in close races in several battleground states, and our voices must not be overlooked in the political process,” said Margaret Fung, the executive director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, at the time.
Asian American voters heavily leaned Democratic in the past, partly because the party was touted as the party of immigrants, as Debjyoti Dwivedy, an Indian immigrant and chair of the Minnesota Young Republicans, told me previously.
But the political landscape is changing. For one, Republicans are increasing their outreach to Asian Americans, with hopes of bringing in voters who are frustrated with the Biden administration, as Democratic candidates may be taking the voting bloc for granted, according to the Times report.
Recent GOP messaging that seems to have resonated with Asian Americans relates to crime, which is a key Republican talking point. Even Democratic voters in cities like Chicago, New York and San Fransisco appear to be looking for candidates who are willing to take a strong stance against crime.
The second issue is education. The Times report stated that Asian American voters are unhappy with proposals to change admission rules in New York City and elsewhere that favor dropping test scores.
Lengthy school closures, while more manageable for white collar parents, left working class Asian American voters frustrated.
The Asian American voting bloc is politically diverse, which plays out during the election season. For example, in 2020, Americans of Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indo-Caribbean, Arab and Indian descent voted for Biden in high percentages, while a large percentage of American voters of Korean, Cambodian, Filipino, and Chinese descent chose Trump, according to the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. It’s worth noting that while some Asian Americans leaned Republican, Democrats received a majority of their votes, with the only exception being Vietnamese American voters.
Democrats’ arguments around inclusion, especially around politically correct phrases like “the poor” and “Latinos,” come across as offensive and distant to the American working class within this voter bloc. The party, too, “has increasingly come to reflect the views of college-educated professionals,” the Times stated.
At the same time, Republicans and their hard stance on abortion and immigration, as well issues related to white nationalism, is a deterrent for these same voters.
Data from Pew Research Center shows that Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial or ethnic group and are predicted to be the largest immigrant population by 2055, making them a group worth pursing, as the Deseret News reported.
As the group expands, so do their political desires, but whether the Republican Party attracts these disenfranchised voters is yet to be seen in the next election.