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The Overlooked Minority: The Asian-American Voter

Why the GOP is most reflective of the Asian-American dream.

by
Maya M. Noronha

Bio

November 13, 2012 - 11:04 pm

If the Republican Party is looking to reach out to a growing minority, they ought to focus on Asian-Americans. This election season, 51% of Asian-Americans received no phone calls — from either party — telling them to get out to vote. Asian-Americans are a minority among minorities (3% of the electorate, compared to the somewhat larger African-American and Hispanic voting populations), and Democrats ended up taking the majority of Asian-American votes because Republicans worried more about Hispanic voters. The outreach for the next election should start now, and the Asian-American voter should no longer be ignored.

Americans don’t seem to truly understand Asian-Americans. There was a tremendous backlash against the so-called “Tiger Mom,” an Asian-American parent who promoted high standards for her children, a parenting style for which her daughters actually thank her. Vice President Joe Biden said to an Indian: “You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. … I’m not joking.”

I’m not laughing.

My mother always told me: “If you’re a ditch digger, be the best ditch digger you can be.” There’s nothing wrong with an honest day’s work as a gas station attendant or a cab driver. We’ll work hard and take a job that others might think is beneath them. Asians will take you where you need to go.

Biden may only see first-generation Asian-Americans at low paying jobs, but Asians are often the doctors who save lives and the engineers who patent the latest technological inventions.

According to the 2010 census, those who identify as Asian include 3.8 million Chinese-Americans, 3.4 million Filipinos, 3.2 million Indians, 1.7 million Vietnamese, 1.7 million Koreans, and 1.3 million Japanese. Currently Asian-Americans constitute 3% of the electorate, but that number is growing and Asian-Americans are the fastest growing racial group.

There’s a lot of focus on demographics and the Hispanic population right now, but almost zero discussion of the Asian-American factor. Obama won 70% of the Asian-American vote in 2012. Note that there was an “Asian-Americans for Obama” group but no Romney counterpart.

If you don’t play, you can’t win.

The Republican Party should focus on Asian-Americans because the GOP is most reflective of the Asian-American dream. Many Asian-Americans are first-generation legal immigrants who should be responsive to the Republican message of equal opportunity.  They are highly educated and typically do not benefit from the policies of racial preferences as African-Americans and Hispanics do.

Foreign policy and the economy were some of the most important issues for Asians-Americans, and if there had been some outreach, Asian-Americans may have voted in larger proportions for the Romney-Ryan plan. Indian-Americans in particular are the wealthiest demographic group, but are largely untapped as possible political contributors. Republicans belong to the party of Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley. It’s time the leadership recognized that.

Asian-Americans are here to stay. Reach out to us. We could decide the next election.

Related at PJ Media from David P. Goldman: Stop talking about the Hispanics for a moment — what about Asian-Americans?

Maya M. Noronha is the Deputy Director of the Republican National Lawyers Association.
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