Following the devastating defeat of Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton by Republican nominee — and now President-elect — Donald Trump, national media outlets are now racing to figure out where it all went wrong. Some pundits have used national exit polling data to place the blame on voters of colour, noting that Black, Latino, and Asian voters supported Clinton at slightly lower margins than they voted to re-elected Barack Obama in 2012. Trump’s victory, they argue, is the fault of non-White voters whom they essentially blame for not acquiescing to their own electoral capture.
There are a couple of obvious issues with that damning narrative. One is, of course, that national exit polling data are wrong about Clinton’s support among AAPI voters.
On Tuesday, America will mark yet another Election Day. For Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), this coming election seems particularly relevant.
The AAPI electorate is among the fastest growing voter population in the country. In the last two presidential general elections, AAPI voters voted overwhelmingly in favour of Barack Obama. In several states during the 2012 election, AAPI voters voted for the incumbent president in large enough numbers to have likely swung their states into his column. With Election Day fast approaching, many of us have been reminded of the power of our vote. We have been the target of exhortations to turn out to the ballot box on November 8th. It has been widely speculated that AAPI voters and other voters of colour – who collectively support Democratic nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by three-to-one margins – are likely to win the first female president of the United States her place in the Oval Office.
It seems obvious that greater electoral numbers for AAPIs should yield concomitant greater political power for our community. America is a representative democracy, wherein constituents are promised a seat at the table by a simple sociopolitical contract: our votes are offered to politicians as a quid pro quo promise of beneficial policy changes. More votes might therefore be assumed to invite better policies. Indeed, some AAPI groups – most notably 80-20 — deploy such thinking as rationale for their mission to create a national AAPI voting bloc comprising 80% or more of all voting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; the group’s leaders seek to leverage that bloc for or against specific candidates.
But what if this thinking is flawed; or, at least, incomplete? What if sheer voting numbers do not alone guarantee greater political power for voters on the fringes of American politics? How do AAPI voters, and other voters of colour, build political power when we must cast our votes in a system structurally resistant to prioritizing issues of race and racism?
We first started informally chatting about Hillary Clinton’s trusted aide Huma Abedin on Friday after the latest email scandal erupted. Seeing Huma and her estranged husband Anthony Weiner once again make headlines quickly inspired us to create this list of South Asian actresses who would be fantastic at playing her. While that was fun, watching Huma be dragged through the mud (AGAIN) hasn’t been.
By Guest Contributor: Lakshmi Gandhi (@LakshmiGandhi)
Huma Abedin is a senior aide to former Secretary of State (and Democratic nominee) Hillary Clinton.
Here is a list of things Huma Abedin is not:
A rarity among national polls, a new political poll jointly conducted by NBC News and SurveyMonkey has included much-anticipated survey data for likely Asian American voters.
The NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll reports that 66% of Asian Americans would vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton if the 2016 presidential election were held tomorrow, compared to only 23% who would vote for Republican nominee Donald Trump.
These results are consistent with the findings of an AAAJ, APIAVote and AAPIData poll published in May, which showed that Trump had a 61% unfavorability rating among Asian American and Pacific Islander likely voters. By contrast, that same poll found that 62% of surveyed AAPIs had a favorable opinion of Hillary Clinton.