With the departure of Kamala Harris from the presidential race earlier last month and Hawaii’s Rep. Tulsi Gabbard fading fast, Andrew Yang’s support from the AAPI community appears to be growing.
Data compiled by AAPI Data shows that in terms of financial support from Asian Americans and Pacific Islander donors, Yang has shot to the top among all of the Democratic hopefuls with $1,419,644 in donations.
A distant second is former Vice President Joe Biden who raised $845,671 from AAPI donors; followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warner with $738,089 and South Bend. Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, $674,599.
The last time AAPI Data released information where AAPI political donors in the first quarter of 2019, Sen. Cory Booker was the top fundraiser with his strong base of Asian Americans from his home state of New Jersey. Second was Gabbard with an initial contributions from the Hindu community.
In the third quarter, Booker is now seventh in fundraising from Asian Americans. Gabbard has sunk to 11th among the remaining candidates.
Yang’s support is chiefly from small donors, according to the BBC. The big donors — corporations , political action committees (PACs) and people with high incomes have gravitated to moderates Biden, Buttigieg and N Booker. Harris, before she dropped out of the race, also attracted a good portion of her funds from big donations.
Despite winning the hearts and minds of more voters, especially in the third quarter, Yang is still far behind in fundraising. Overall, he is sixth in fundraising compared to the other top candidates.
Asian Americans appear to currently favor Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren when it comes to the Democratic presidential candidates, according to a recent informal survey by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Nevertheless, it has been a good week for Yang, who seems to be outdistancing the more politically experienced Gabbard in raising funds from the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
Yang also increased his favorability ratings according to the Morning Consult poll by seven points after the Dec. 19 Democratic debate. According to that sampling, he now ranks fourth in the race, ahead of Buttigieg and just behind frontrunners, Biden, Warren and Bernie Sanders.
The candidates are beginning to look beyond Iowa and New Hampshire, traditionally the first and second states to cast their votes in a caucus or primary, respectively, and look towards more diverse states such as Nevada and South Carolina and target March 3, Super Tuesday, where California and Texas will hold their voter-rich primaries. Biden, Warren, Sanders, Booker and Buttigieg have created special outreach strategies to increase AAPI awareness and supporters.
Donations from the AAPI community could continue to rise for the New York-born Yang despite some criticism coming from progressive elements of the community concerning his jokes perpetuating the Asian stereotype. He believes his jokes take away the sting of the stereotypes about being good at math and a tendency to become doctors and continues to use them in front of non-Asian audiences.
Since Harris left the race, the door is wide open for Yang’s unconventional campaign to increase his support among AAPI electorate and the South Asian community, especially for the Feb. 22 Nevada Caucus and California’s March 3 primary, where AAPI political agencies have been busy registering new voters.
Once the butt of late night hosts’ jokes, described a long shot, and called an odd ball, Yang is definitely in the mix among the Democratic candidates running for president. For the sake of of our country’s future and for voters who have not made up their mind, Yang’s policies and proposals deserve to be examined more closely beyond the universal basic income, the so-called Freedom Dividend of $1000 for every adult citizen.
Yang has earned the right to be judged by the voters based on his merits and policies that he proposes. He should no longer be ignored, tokenized or marginalized by mainstream media.
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