Why do Asian Americans vote Democrat? It’s a question that writers at both the Washington Post and the New York Times have been asking this month. It’s an important question because the Asian-American population is growing, and it’s an interesting one because by many measures, Asian-American voters look like stereotypical Republicans. As Thomas B. Edsall wrote in the NYT:
In some ways, Asian-American voters, combining personal wealth, entrepreneurial success, high incomes, traditional family values and a strong work ethic, would seem to be ideal recruits for the more conservative political party. Nonetheless, the Republican Party has steadily lost their support.
Asian Americans, as Edsall points out, have a higher median income than whites, Hispanics, or African Americans, are more likely to have a college degree, and have a lower percentage of out-of-wedlock births. They are also more likely than the average American to agree that “most people can get ahead if they work hard” (according to Pew). And yet, 73 percent of Asian Americans voted for President Obama in 2012. What’s up with that?
This is where Edsall and Cecilia Hyunjung Mo, who addressed the Asian-American Democratic phenomenon in the Washington Post, miss the elephant in the room. Both observe that in 1992, only 31 percent of Asian Americans voted Democrat and conclude that the GOP has “lost” the demographic. But as Mark Krikorian pointed out on Twitter:
Why Did Asian Amer. Abandon the GOP? https://t.co/KF2HMOPxdS They didn't switch parties; immigration changed makeup of Asian-Amer electorate— Mark Krikorian (@MarkSKrikorian) November 5, 2015