Days before the Illinois primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders met with AAPI community leaders.
By Ed Diokno
Sen. Bernie Sanders met with a score of leaders from the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in Chicago.
During the meeting, the first the Democratic candidate held exclusively with AAPIs, he discussed the need for immigration reform, securing voting rights and providing affordable healthcare for all Americans.
Joining Sanders was Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) who resigned from her position of vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee so she could endorse the Vermont senator.
“Our communities have often been the difference between winning and losing,” said Gabbard, the first Hindu American to serve in Congress. “The margin of victory makes a difference.”
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“In times where Islamophobia and xenophobia are running rampant, where Asian Americans are victims of racial profiling, where Black and Brown people are targets of police brutality, Sanders stands up for the marginalized with his policies,” said comedian Kristina Wong.
Sanders will have to meet quite a few more AAPI leaders in the upcoming primaries, especially in states where there are large numbers of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Gabbard will be a help in the Hawaii caucus on March 26, but AAPI voters could also be critical in Alaskan and Washington caucuses on that same day. The AAPI vote will also be influential in the April 19 New York primary and the California and New Jersey primaries on June 7.
That’s assuming that Hillary Clinton hasn’t wrapped up her nomination earlier. Clinton has a head start in wooing the AAPI voters with the launch of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Hillary in January and then the creation of the AAPI Leadership Council a few days later.
After the all the votes were counted in the Illinois primary held last March 15, Clinton and Sanders ended up in a virtual tie with Clinton barely edging out Sanders. In the end, Clinton won 68 of electoral votes, Sanders won 67.
(Ed Diokno writes a blog :Views From The Edge: news and analysis from an Asian American perspective.)
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