The views and opinions expressed on this site and blog posts (excluding comments on blog posts left by others) are entirely my own and do not represent those of any employer or organization with whom I am currently or previously have been associated.
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.
I am relieved to report that after a hard-fought and expensive campaign, President Barack Obama has been reelected as President of the United States, having defeated Republican nominee Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts. Many of the major media outlets and blogs will describe in detail the different factors that led to President Obama’s victory and what his victory means for him in terms of moving forward with his agenda in his second term.
For now, I just wanted to share a few interesting exit poll data and quick observations about this 2012 Presidential election as it relates to Asian American voters and compare it to the President’s 2008 victory. The exit poll statistics below come from both the New York Times and CNN.
How Asian Americans Voted
In the 2008 election, 61% of Asian Americans voted for President Obama. In this 2012 election, that percentage increased to 73% as reported by both the New York Times and CNN. In fact, this number is higher than the percentage of Hispanics/Latinos who voted for President Obama (71%).
Although I have not heard of any high-profile Democratic campaign to appeal to Asian Americans, I think this is a pretty remarkable performance by the President. Increasing his support among Asian Americans seems to suggest that even without a direct and sustained appeal that was specific to Asian Americans, the vast majority of Asian Americans still resonated with President Obama’s platform and message.
I also think that increasing his support from Asian Americans should also dispel the belief that Asian Americans are only concerned with economic success and financial issues. In other words, if the majority of Asian Americans thought that fixing the economy was the single most important issue in the election, more than likely they would have voted for Romney, since most surveys found that more than half of Americans thought that Romney would be better at fixing the economy.
Instead, it seems that most Asian Americans, while still concerned about the economy, also considered other policy and social issues to be important as well, which may include immigration reform, wealth inequality and economic justice, civil and LGBT rights, etc. Perhaps this is due to the demographic trends within the Asian American population and how Asian Americans are gradually become younger and more U.S.-born than in years past.
In the end, President Obama getting 73% of the Asian American vote should also demonstrate rather convincingly that most Asian Americans are solidly liberal. While the ideological pendulum will always swing back and forth and the percentage of Asian Americans who vote Democratic will fluctuate, data from the past several elections confirm that Asian Americans are a pretty solid Democratic constituency.
Along with the Hispanic/Latino community, this should be a wake up call for the Republican Party going forward — if they want to have a fighting chance to consistently capture the White House and Congress in upcoming elections, they need to reverse their swing to the far right and move more toward the center if they want to avoid alienating the growing Hispanic/Latino and Asian American communities.
Along with many other Asian Americans, I will savor this victory for now, but also look forward to using this reelection to enact policies that will move the country forward and make life better for Americans from all backgrounds.
Roundup of How Asian American Candidates Fared
Here is a listing of some articles from Asian American media and bloggers on how Asian American political candidates fared in the 2012 election:
Here are some more announcements and links out that have come my way relating to Asians or Asian Americans. As always, links to other sites are provided for informational purposes and do not necessarily imply an endorsement of their contents:
The Alaska Federation of Natives, in partnership with the National Congress of American Indians and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, has launched “Native Insight: Thoughts on Recession, Recovery & Opportunity,” a writing competition designed to encourage Native Americans to share their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities in the current economic and political landscape.
The competition is open to Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and American Indians of all ages. Deadline: September 15, 2009. Award Amount: $10,000.
East West Magazine, the premiere lifestyle magazine focusing on celebrating the cultural experiences of Asian, South Asian, and Middle Eastern Americans, is getting ready to re-launch into a print issue this fall.
We’re holding a cover design contest, where artists can create a work of art that answers the questions “What is your interpretation of East West today” and “What does the merging of cultures look like to you?” The art can take any form, as long as it’s not black and white, and will be featured as our magazine cover.
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: Volunteers Needed for Asian American Election Protection and Poll Monitoring and Defending Asian American Voting Rights
New York City Primary Elections — Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Boston, MA Preliminary Elections – Tuesday September 22, 2009
General Elections — Tuesday, November 3, 2009
In past elections, Asian Americans have faced a series of barriers in exercising their right to vote. For example, poll workers were hostile and made racist remarks, poll sites had too few interpreters to assist Asian American voters, and translated voting materials were missing. When the media reports on election results by specific groups, Asian American voters are often overlooked.
In response, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund has conducted a non-partisan survey of Asian American voters to document Asian American voting patterns. AALDEF has also monitored the elections for compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act, which mandates bilingual ballots and forbids anti-Asian voter discrimination.
On September 15 and 22, 2009 and November 3, 2009, AALDEF along with several other Asian American groups will be monitoring the elections and conducting non-partisan voter surveys at polling sites in Asian American neighborhoods across New York City and Boston, Massachusetts. We need your help.
Volunteers are needed to administer a multilingual voter survey in 3-hour shifts and document voting problems on Election Day. Polls are open from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM in New York and 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM in Boston. There will be a one-hour training session for all volunteers (90 minutes for trainings taking place at law firms). All volunteers must be non-partisan during the time they help.
To sign up as a volunteer and for a training schedule, go to www.aaldef.net. Thank you!
For more information, contact:
Glenn D. Magpantay, Bryan Lee, or Julia Yang
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
99 Hudson Street, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10013
Asian American Bar Association of New York
Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts
Chhaya CDC – NY
Greater Boston Legal Services: Asian Outreach Unit
Hunter College/CUNY, Asian American Studies Program
Korean American Association of Greater New York
Korean American League for Civic Action – NY
Korean American Voters’ Council of NY/NJ
Muslim Bar Association of New York
The Sikh Coalition – NY
South Asian Bar Association of New York
South Asian Youth Action! – NY
YKASEC: Empowering Korean American Community – NY
APIAVote is now accepting applications for interns in the Washington, D.C. office. The APIAVote Internship Program strives to encourage and cultivate young AAPI student leaders to explore a career in the public sector or the political arena. This internship program will also provide hands on experience and training on how to organize and implement civic engagement activities to increase the participation of AAPIs in the electoral process.
General Internship – Year-Round
The internship program is tailored per organizational needs and intern skills. Interns may work on any of the following areas: Communications/Technology (new media and traditional), Field (working with APIAVote partners in field campaigns), Policy (research and advocate for policy recommendations), Training (Norman Y. Mineta Leadership Training Institute), or Youth (engaging and organizing our youth coalitions.)
College or graduate student
Oral and written communication skills
Dedicated to promoting civic participation of AAPIs in the electoral and public policy processes
Applications must include:
Resume including Education, Work Experience, Political Experience, Extracurricular Activities, Awards/Honors
Copy of most current academic transcript
One page typed essay on your interest in the internship program and describe “What does civic engagement meant to you?”
Two letters of reference
Send your complete application via e-mail or snail mail to:
APIAVote, Attn: Alvina Yeh
1666 K St NW, Suite 440
Washington, DC 20006
Rolling Deadline – Fall, Winter & Spring Internships