In Japanese, you say sayonara; in Korean, you say jagbyeol insa; in Hindi, you say alavida; and in Chinese, you say zàijiàn. When translated, this is how you say goodbye in these respective languages–and that’s what Asians are saying to the Republican Party.
The Republican share of the Asian vote has been on a precipitous decline since the 1992 presidential election, the last race the GOP nominee was able to garner the majority of the Asian vote. Since then, it’s been a race to the bottom in national elections. The low point came in 2012, when 73 percent of Asians casted their ballots for Barack Obama. It’s shocking given how Asians view hard work, the importance of family, and their meteoric rise in American society.
Asian Americans: Are they the classic Republican voter? Yes and No
According to Pew, Asian Americans are the best educated demographic in the country. They have the highest household income in America, and they’re the fastest growing racial group. This is great progress since Asian Americans initially were comprised of low-wage, low-skill workers that lived in ethnic neighborhoods and subject to racial discrimination.
The Los Angeles Massacre of 1871, the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, the Rock Springs Massacre of 1885, and the Immigration Act of 1924 are all prime examples of such discrimination and racially motivated violence.
Since then, Asian Americans have enjoyed enormous success in climbing the socioeconomic ladder. According to Pew, they’re the demographic with the largest median household income.
They have also have a strong emphasis on family; 54 percent say that having a successful marriage is one of the most important things compared to 34 percent of all American adults who agree with that view. It’s also a very effective anti-poverty program, but that’s a post for another time.
Sixty-seven percent of Asian Americans also think that being a good parent is one of the most important things in life.
Given the emphasis on the importance of family and raising children, Asian Americans are the demographic that’s most likely to be married, their children are less likely to be born to unwed mothers, and those kids are more likely to be raised in a two-parent households.
Asians are also incredibly hard workers. Sixty-nine percent believe that hard work will lead to better economic conditions. On the flip side, Asian families have been criticized for pressuring their children too much in their schoolwork. Can you hear the Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom?
Across the board, Asians feel that America is the land of opportunity. They consider it a better place that helps the poor (we’ll get to that later), to raise a family, practice their religion, and express their political beliefs. Where they feel America is a little light is the emphasis on family ties.
Asians are hard working, family-oriented, highly educated, and have made lives better in this county; they’ve clinched the American Dream. So why, then, aren’t Asians shifting toward the right?
Well, for the most part they do support a larger, more active government, especially when it comes to helping the poor. “On balance,” Pew notes, “Asian Americans prefer a big government that provides more services (55%) over a smaller government than provides fewer services (36%).” The general public, on the other hand, prefers the opposite, 52 percent to 39 percent. Asian Americans are also not as socially conservative on the issues of gay marriage and abortion. “By a ratio of 53% to 35%, Asian Americans say homosexuality should be accepted by society rather than discouraged,” the same survey finds. “And on the issue of abortion, 54% of Asian Americans say it should be legal in all or most cases, while 37% say it should be illegal.”
Navigating Through The Immigration Debate
At Americans for Prosperity’s Texas Online Conference last year, Dr. Martha Wong, the first Asian American elected to the Texas House of Representatives, and a Republican, said that Democrats are just better at minority inclusion. In the Houston area, they’re at every gala, family dinner, and festival. Democratic lawmakers have one staffer whose sole job is to track and document all cultural events in their respective districts.