By Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent
The message from the Asian American and Pacific Islander community to the political establishment is loud and clear.
We’re in this game to win.
The AAPI Victory Fund–the first Super PAC of its kind–this week announced its launch at the National Press Club . It’s a signal that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are determined to make their voices heard and will amplify that voice in a language politicians understand-cash.
The number of AAPIs may be less than six percent nationwide, but in key battleground states, those numbers can make the difference between a candidate winning and losing. Yes, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders can provide the margin of victory.
Polls have shown that candidates rarely reach out to AAPI voters with mailers or other touch points. The AAPI Victory Fund will make it difficult for these same candidates to ignore the community in 2016.
Shekar Narasimhan is chair of the Fund and Dilawar Syed is its co-founder and vice chair. Former Secretary of Transportation and Commerce Norman Y. Mineta serves as Honorary Chair of the AAPI Victory Fund.
“It’s time for AAPIs to expect a seat at the table,” said Narasimhan. “As a community, AAPIs have the numbers and financial, technological, and intellectual resources to be an undeniable political force in 2016 and beyond.”
Speakers cited the AAPI Victory Fund as an unprecedented vehicle for influence, targeted strategy, realizing the potential for the AAPI vote by building sustained power behind a common agenda.
“The AAPI Victory Fund occupies a unique space, using precinct level data in targeted states to effectuate change,” said Sec. Norman Y. Mineta. “Speaking as a former elected official, this approach will allow candidates who value the AAPI vote to capture the votes needed to win in elections being decided by the narrowest of margins.”
Unfortunately it will take more than money for Asian Americans to make an impact. Hopefully the AAPI Victory Fund, or something similar, can draw the attention of the media and get invites onto the Sunday political talk show circuit. The viewership of those shows is made up of influential political movers and shakers. Unfortunately, Asian Americans rarely are asked to appear on these programs. Hopefully the money raised by the Victory Fund can amplify the community’s voice so loud that even the media won’t be able to ignore it.
Just as importantly the Victory Fund will put some muscle behind our outrage over the bigoted statements made by candidates who think they can step all over the voiceless for their own political gain. These candidates cannot be allowed to succeed.
“The AAPI Victory Fund will do everything in its power to ensure candidates supportive of the AAPI community are rewarded, said Syed. “And those who indulge in politics of race, division and bigotry face an Asian Americans community mobilized across the country.”
“The strength of the AAPI Victory Fund is its understanding and value in working in coalitions,” said Bel Leong-Hong, co-founder and vice chair of the AAPI Victory Fund. “The Victory Fund’s resources will be leveraged with partners with common goals to elect a presidential candidate that understands our issues.”