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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

October 13, 2005

Written by C.N.

Asian Amerian Political Power in NYC

The Associated Press has an article that describes the growing political power and influence of Asian Americans in New York City:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg quietly slipped away from City Hall one morning last week to meet with York Chan, the powerful community leader known as the “mayor of Chinatown.” A day earlier, Chan sat down with Fernando Ferrer, the Democrat challenging Bloomberg in November.

“Two candidates in 24 hours — that never happened before,” Chan said during an interview in his office above bustling Mott Street in the heart of the Chinese neighborhood. “They used to ignore us.” A lot of things are happening for the first time in New York’s Asian communities, where an explosion of new voters is thrusting the campaign trail into unfamiliar territory.

Until recently, candidates did not put much energy into wooing Asians, but that is changing. Asians as a group are becoming an influential force, joining the established blocs of black and Hispanic voters already crucial to winning office in New York City. “The numbers of Asian-Americans on the voter rolls are increasing by leaps and bounds, and the actual turnout rates are increasing correspondingly, so ignore this group at your own peril,” said John Liu, the only Asian on the 51-member City Council.

The article goes on to explain that due to increased immigration leading to citizenship and a high birth rate, the number of Asian American voters has increased significantly in recent years and decades. This in turn has led to politicians paying much more attention to Asian American voters than in years past.

This is obviously a very encouraging sign and it shows that numbers do bring attention and power. However, as other research has shown, although about two-thirds of all Asian Americans consider themselves Democrats, that number may not be enough to constitute a truly powerful bloc vote, especially in comparison to the bloc voting power of Blacks, about 90% of whom are Democrats.

In other words, while it is nice to see Asian Americans getting more attention and being courted by politicians, until we vote as a relatively united and cohesive bloc, our power will remain fragmented.

Author Citation

Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Asian Amerian Political Power in NYC" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <> ().

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