Will failed Prop. 209 rollback help GOP with Asian voters? It depends

Will failed Prop. 209 rollback help GOP with Asian voters? It depends

obama.asian.voterWith Asian-Americans making up 14 percent of the state’s electorate, there is a small but real chance that this past month’s developments in the Legislature could prove the biggest story in California politics in years. I refer to Asian Democratic lawmakers pulling their support from the usual broad Democratic coalition’s push to to use a ballot initiative to go back to the pre-Prop. 209 days on college admissions.

These didn’t pull any punches, echoing what they were hearing from their constituents: Asian parents didn’t want racial quotas keeping their deserving kids out of the UC and CSU campuses of their choice. Their framing: What you define as “social justice” is punishing Asians in the name of atoning for historical white racism.

But will this sharp single-issue split lead to an Asian political realignment? Or just to a shakier Democratic coalition in which Asian-Americans are still largely reliable members?

The latter is far more likely because of how damaged the GOP brand is with Asian-Americans. A new Politico analysis written by three academics opens with the painful account of Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts’ awkward, patronizing and goofy comments to an Indian-American doctor nominated by President Obama to be surgeon general, then says the following:

“… this is exactly the sort of exchange that makes Asian Americans — the fastest growing ethnic group in the country — more likely to identify themselves as Democrats than Republicans, and by stunning margins. In the 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama won 73 percent of the Asian American vote, exceeding his support among Hispanics (71 percent) and women (55 percent).”

If GOP can’t understand problem, that’s telling

Politico points out something that I find amazing: Republicans …

“… seem generally mystified as to what they might be doing wrong. …  Asian Americans as a group have certain characteristics that would ordinarily predict a Republican political affiliation, most strikingly their level of income, which on average, is higher than any other ethnic group in the United States. …

“Other conservatives have pointed to less tangible characteristics of Asian Americans, such as an emphasis on discipline in child rearing and a penchant for entrepreneurship, that ought to make them Republicans. ‘If you are looking for a natural Republican constituency, Asians should define “natural”,’” notes the American Enterprise Institute’s Charles Murray. “And yet something has happened to define conservatism in the minds of Asians as deeply unattractive.”

Yes, “something has happened,” but it’s hardly a mystery. Republicans are perceived as looking down on nonwhites. GOPers may say it’s unfair, but nothing else explains their huge underperformance with Asian voters. The academics agree, and offer some hard evidence, not just anecdotes.

“First, there’s race. The feeling of social exclusion stemming from their ethnic background might push Asian Americans away from the Republican Party. Many studies, like Henri Tajfel and John Turner’s work on the psychology of intergroup relations, have shown that one’s identification with a broad category of people—be it on the basis of language, ethnic or racial solidarity or some other trait—is important politically. Republican rhetoric implying that the (non-white) ‘takers’ are plundering the (white) ‘makers’ has cultivated a perception that the Republican Party is less welcoming of minorities. …

“And many Asian-Americans do feel like they don’t get equal treatment. According to the 2008 National Asian American Survey, nearly 40 percent of Asian Americans suffered one of the following forms of racial discrimination in their lifetime: being unfairly denied a job or fired; unfairly denied a promotion at work; unfairly treated by the police; unfairly prevented from renting or buying a home; treated unfairly at a restaurant or other place of service; or been a victim of a hate crime. We found that self-reported racial discrimination was positively correlated with identification with the Democratic Party over the Republican Party.”

Making the case for Kashkari: 2 plus 2 is 4

Neel-Kashkari-300x300Now if this doesn’t make it obvious to California Republicans that letting Neel Kashkari be their gubernatorial candidate for the inevitable November GOP loss to Jerry Brown, nothing will. I wish he didn’t vote for Obama in 2008 and I wish he didn’t see his role as “bailout czar” in the big-government TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) as such a badge of honor.

But if you want Asian-Americans in California to take a fresh look at the GOP — and if you’re a Republican, you do, you do, you do — then the political math is about as difficult as two plus two equals four.

Strategery: Sometimes you just have to go there.


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  1. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 19 March, 2014, 09:57

    Asians, in California at least, tend to have far higher levels of education than the average citizen. They are also members of an identifiable ethnic minority that has been on the receiving end of xenophobic bigotry for well over a century in this state.

    Since the modern Republican party, conservative movement, libertarian fringe relies on those same anti-intellectual and xenophobic themes to rally its collective clown posse, most Asian people are able to see right through any claims that your party or side want to be “inclusive” in any real or meaningful way.

    Asians have higher levels of educational attainment than average, which also means they will be far more likely to vote for Democratic candidates than Republicans unless and until the Republican party once more purges itself of the same fringe kooks that William F. Buckley chased out of it, much as St. Francis did with the snakes of Ireland, over a half-century ago.

    Reply this comment
    • Donkey
      Donkey 19 March, 2014, 10:32

      So you have concluded all on your own that Asians have no inclination towards individual freedom Skdog?

      That educated and intelligent humans seek the statist ideals of control.

      Your statement:”Asians have higher levels of educational attainment than average, which also means they will be far more likely to vote for Democratic candidates than Republicans…” is taken for grated, one thing a rational educated person can see is the RAGWUS cabal is unsustainable, and that Asians will soon figure out that their hard work is going to others that didn’t earn the fruits of their labor. 🙂

      Reply this comment
      • SkippingDog
        SkippingDog 19 March, 2014, 20:09

        Intelligent and highly educated people quickly grasp the basic fact that the “freedom” you claim to prize is really nothing more than a hustle to remove the basic framework of social insurance and the regulatory structure that reduces the ability of those who have the most assets to invoke their own will and receive benefits and influence contrary to the public good.

        Reply this comment
        • Donkey
          Donkey 19 March, 2014, 22:06

          You are nothing but a self-serving commie. Your idea of safety is to hide behind a badge and gun, claiming that doing so protects others, when in reality it’s all bout protecting your corrupt RAGWUS.

          In every great nation it is only a matter of time before the parasites take control of the producers, as they give crumbs to the poor that they lie to every day as a gesture of loyalty. 🙂 🙂

          Reply this comment
          • SkippingDog
            SkippingDog 20 March, 2014, 22:42

            Looks like I hit center mass with my last comment….

  2. Queeg
    Queeg 19 March, 2014, 12:03

    When did we stop all being Americans?

    This race crap really gets old.

    These articles are shameful….

    Reply this comment
    • Chris Reed
      Chris Reed Author 19 March, 2014, 12:44

      It’s shameful to point out that Asian-Americans don’t like racial-spoils politics and that this is an issue roiling the Legislature?

      I don’t care for “race crap” if by that you mean victim politics and/or race-baiting. This isn’t such an example. This is one minority group breaking with other minority groups on UC and CSU admission policies.

      A.k.a., news.

      Reply this comment

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