By Ed Diokno
Thank you John King. The CNN analyst was going over the election results and he was the only commentator to mention the Asian American vote in the California primary. “The Asian vote is the fastest growing vote in the country,” he said. In the last few years, the rate of growth has “matched the Latino vote.”
Besides King’s brief mention, I don’t believe there anybody on television talked about the role the Asian American electorate played in the state’s primary election.
Despite our best efforts on Views From the Edge and at the news site, AsAm News, there is the general impression that the Asian American vote is being overlooked by mainstream media.
Where are the long analytical articles from mainstream media? Where are the Asian American pundits on the Sunday talk shows?
Oh, there were a couple of articles by the L.A. Times that looked at the AAPI demographic, but the San Francisco Bay Area media, with one of the highest concentrations of AAPI in California, didn’t take a second look.
Give credit to the Hillary Clinton campaign. They were wooing the AAPI vote almost from the beginning. She formed an AAPI for Hillary group in California and they set the groundwork for on-the-ground outreach to the community and appointed an outreach director to the AAPI community. She hit all the right buttons of family reunification, education, and immigration reform.
Support from AAPI voters helped her in Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Illinois and California. The AAPI vote is helping change Orange County in California from a traditional bastion of conservatism to a Democratic county.
An overwhelming majority of Asian voters came out for President Obama in 2012. They voted for him at a higher rate than most other demographics, even ones we think of as traditionally Democrat like women and Latinos.
But nearly half of Asian American voters aren’t officially affiliated with any party. Their votes were essentially up for grabs but the hateful rhetoric coming from the Republicans pushed a lot of the unaffiliated AAPI voters towards the Democrats.
Orange County, once the bastion of Reagan conservatism, is undergoing a political shift with the large number of AAPI exerting their political muscle.
In the heart of Silicon Valley, how did Santa Clara County’s AAPI voters divide themselves when they had to choose between two Asian American candidates for Congress, Ro Khanna and incumbent Rep. Mike Honda?
Why is frontrunner for U.S. Senate, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, always identified by media as a “Black” when her Indian American mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, raised her daughters by herself after divorcing their father?
There are more immigrants coming from across the Pacific than from South of the Border and a recent Pew study shows that Asians are expected to surpass Latinos as the largest immigrant group in the U.S.
So the question was raised by Fusion: Why is hardly anyone talking about the Asian vote?