By Randall Yip, AsAmNews Executive Editor
It wasn’t that long ago that Asian Americans vented their anger at Donald Trump for demonizing them for the coronavirus pandemic.
Today Republicans have successfully redirected some of that anger at Democrats who they blame for being too lenient on criminals and not supportive of law enforcement.
According to Nainoa Johnson, Director of Asian Pacific American Media for the
Republican National Committee, the party’s internal polling shows crime as the number two issue for voters going into the midterms.
“There have just been so many instances of crime that it seems like it’s spiraling out of control across the country,” Johnson told AsAmNews. “And I think it resonates because it’s an issue that’s very localized and it happens right in front of you.”
A report from the Pew Research Center, however, paints a different picture of crime. Pew cited the latest statistics from both the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics showing no rise in the violent crime rate.
“I think that, you know, there has been a little bit of amnesia,” by Asian Americans about the root causes of anti-Asian hate, said Brad Jenkins, President and CEO of the AAPI Victory Fund.
“There’s been so much data and reporting that shows the direct correlation between Donald Trump’s scapegoating racism every single day, right? The number of times, he’s calling it ‘Kung Fu,’ ‘Wuhan’ and ‘China, China, China’ had very real effects. And our community felt those effects in so many different ways, you know, not just violence, you know, specific violence, but also trauma and bullying,” he said.
His group polled 1900 Asian American voters in all the battleground states July 25 – September 1. It found inflation and the cost of living jobs in the economy, gun control, abortion, health care, climate change are the important drivers of Asian American voters more than crime.
The New York Times recently reported that the GOP has used the issue of crime to inject race into the campaign.
Ads in New Mexico and Wisconsin have labeled a black candidate as “dangerous and different” and darkened a White man’s hands and labeled him as a criminal.
Other ads have depicted the mayhem sparked by Black rioters and Hispanic immigrants illegally racing across the border. Democrats have blasted the ads as racist fear-mongering.
Republicans defend the ads as reflecting voter anxieties.
“We’re the party that has done by law enforcement, you know, through this entire thing. I think a lot of Democrats at this point are kind of covering up their tracks about what they said in the past.” Johnson said, not specifically talking about the ads.
When asked if the Republican Party considers the January 6th insurrection a crime, he deflected the question.
“What we’re focused on is November 8, not January 6, right now,” he said.
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