Asian American voters: a powerful force on Election Day

- Usually talk of race and politics is black and white, sometimes Latino. Asians are usually left out of the discussion even though there are more than 1 million Asian Americans in New York City.

With so many nationalities, ethnicities, religious affiliations and even languages under one banner, the Asian American vote had always been a complex one. This election, one unifying factor is expected to draw out Asian American voters in record numbers.

“In this year’s critical election, Asian Americans will turn out more than ever before and matter more than ever before,” said former NYC Comptroller John Liu

Experts said Asian American immigrants were at a time, largely loyal to the Republican Party, given the business-friendly agenda of the G.O.P., but the divisive tone from republican nominee Donald Trump erased the importance of party lines according to community leaders like Mohammed Tohin, member of the city's Bangladeshi community, the fastest growing Asian population in New York.

 “This election is something different. Do we live together as one nation, or are we against diversity,” said Tohin, president of South Asian American voice.

Clear evidence of Donald Trump’s scapegoating of China on the campaign trail are evident:

  1. A recent Fox News segment by political humorist Jesse Watters critics panned for promoting racist stereotypes.
  2. The prosecution of former NYPD officer Peter Liang, who many in the Asian American community considered a sacrificial lamb.
  3. Most recently, an editor of the NY Times with his toddler in their Upper East Side neighborhood being told to go back to China.

“Looking at what's happened in the past several months, as well as downright mockery in the media, Asian Americans are upset. Nothing gets people out to vote more than when they're angry and this is certainly a year where they feel anger and can do something to do about it,” said John Liu.

According to the non-partisan national Asian American survey, Clinton leads Trump 55% to 14% amongst registered voters who are Asian. Those behind the survey said what matters to Asian American voters is more than the traditionally thought of concerns of education and economy.

 “The Asian American agenda is much broader: Environment. Obama care. Condemnation on a ban on Muslims,” said Janelle Wong of University of Maryland.

In some ways, the shift began a while ago, two decades ago less than a third of Asians voted democrat. Two-thirds are expected to vote for Clinton, and experts said this shift may have a lasting impact. 

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