With less than five weeks until the presidential election, Asian-American advocacy organizations are banding together to get Asian-American millennial voters out to the polls through the #IAmAsianAmerican campaign, Colorlines reports.
The campaign aims to register at least 15,000 new voters through a live-streamed, four-city national concert series in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC, on October 16.
"Our inaugural network of entrepreneurs, local businesses, artists and advocates demonstrates the power of our community and how our voices matter and votes count," Uyen Tieu, executive director of the outreach campaign, told Colorlines.
Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial demographic in the country, but are often overlooked in general election campaigns because they only make up 4 percent of voters, while black and Hispanic voters make up about 12 percent each. In fact, organization outreach campaigns like #IAmAsianAmerican are necessary because Asian-American voters are the least likely racial demographic to be contacted by either major party.
Yet changes among Asian-Americans voters reflect many of the issues raised throughout the 2016 election cycle.
According to survey data released in May by the Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote, Asian-American voters are quickly shifting toward Democrats despite being perceived as ideal Republicans. Between 2012 and 2016, the number of Asian Americans who identified as Democrats rose from 35 percent to 47 percent. By contrast, Republican alliances slipped from 18 percent in 2012 to 15 percent this year.
Two factors may explain why Asian-American voters are turning further to the left: Donald Trump and generational differences.
Trump’s rampant xenophobia and Islamophobia, which includes mocking Chinese and Japanese businessmen and insinuating immigrants from the Philippines harbor anti-American sentiments, have likely alienated Asian Americans from the GOP.
When Asian Americans surveyed were asked if they would vote for a candidate with “strongly anti-immigrant views,” 40 percent said they would vote for another candidate, compared with 35 percent who would still support them. Anti-Muslim views also didn’t fly. Forty-three percent of those surveyed would vote for another candidate, compared with 35 percent who would stick by the candidate in question.
The AAPI survey also shows that Asian Americans ages 18 to 34 are more concerned with issues that reflect the Democratic ticket than their older counterparts. Registered Asian-American millennials are more likely to be concerned with income inequality and less likely to be concerned with Social Security and the threat of terrorist attacks as those ages 35 and up.
Asian-American voters provide a window into how the 2016 election will influence the future of both major political parties. The #IAmAsianAmerican campaign hopes to ensure this group won’t continue to be ignored.