The Republican Establishment has long assumed that they would someday get back to winning the Asian-American vote, like they did in the 1992 Presidential race. After all, Asians are the model minority, prosperous, business-owning, legal immigrants, often victims of Communism. If they aren't going to vote GOP, what major immigrant group will?
"Asian Americans traditionally vote slightly more conservatively than their neighbors do - exactly as optimistic Republicans assume. The problem for the GOP, however, is that Asians tend to have highly liberal neighbors. Currently, 45% of all Asian-born immigrants live in three heavily Democratic metropolitan areas: San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City."And, American-born Asians are increasingly driven by the political climate on elite campuses, with their obsession with minority victimhood.
Ben Adler of Politico.com reports "Asian-American youth trend Democratic." He begins with the example of a University of Southern California Chinese-American co-ed who is changing her registration from Republican to Independent. USC used to be the epitome of the private college for the, shall we say, "well-rounded" children of wealthy Republicans: the "University of Spoiled Children" we called it when I was at UCLA 1980-82. When the USC football team would come on the field for the big game against UCLA, we Bruin fans would all pull credit cards from the pockets of our Calvin Klein designer jeans and wave them in the air in the direction of the USC fans. Ha-ha! What a clever jibe at the wealth of the USC students! (Of course, now that I think of it, all us UCLA students back during the Carter Administration apparently already had credit cards to wave at the USC students, so maybe the class contrast wasn't quite as obvious as we had imagined at the time.)
Carmen Wong, 21, is a Chinese-American senior at the University of Southern California. Her parents are Republicans and she used to be one, too, but she recently switched her voter registration to independent.
Although Wong is fiscally conservative, she is socially liberal and has turned against the Iraq war. She would vote for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for president, and sheâ€™s not sure who sheâ€™ll support if he is not the Republican nominee. But she likes Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
Wong epitomizes a recent trend among young Asian-Americans: their widespread abandonment of the Republican Party.
The Institute of Politics at Harvard University recently released data from an online survey of 2,525 18- to 24-year-olds. Among the surveyâ€™s more notable statistics are those concerning party affiliation among Asian-Americans: 47 percent identify themselves as Democratic, 15 percent Republican and 39 percent independent â€” making them more Democratic than any other ethnic group except African-Americans in the survey.
Betsy Kim, 44, a Korean-American who is executive director of the American Majority Partnership, the Democratic National Committeeâ€™s constituency outreach program, sees a clear generational shift toward Democrats among Asian-Americans.
Kim said that Asian-Americans her age and younger lean Democratic because â€?Democrats do more to benefit communities of color.â€?