The Trump-ization of the GOP and the Asian-American vote

Loved this Jamelle Bouie article because I think it his a really important and under-appreciated aspect of the Republicans’ anti-immigration fervor.  It is not just Hispanic voters who are turned off by this.  The evidence seems quite clear that the rhetoric is offensive to pretty much any non-white Americans.  Sure, Asian-Americans are a pretty small part of the electorate, but in a close election, they sure matter.  Bouie:

How do we know that Asian voters care about immigration? Let’s look back to the previous presidential election. So little of how Barack Obama won in 2012 was a surprise. He captured young voters and cleaned up with single women; he struck gold with Latinos and won the entire black vote, again; and he was weak, as expected, with most white Americans. However, there was one shock: Obama scored anenormous win among Asians. His 73 percent share of the Asian vote was a significant increase from the previous election and a bright spot in his overall performance.

It would have been one thing if, like blacks, Asians were Democratic stalwarts. But they weren’t. A solid 44 percent supported George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election, and a sizable minority—35 percent—voted for John McCain in the 2008 election. The reason is straightforward: As a whole, Asians are closer to the social and economic mainstream than other minority groups. They are the “highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States,” notes the Pew Research Center. “They are more satisfied than the general public with their lives, finances and the direction of the country, and they place more value than other Americans do on marriage, parenthood, hard work and career success.”

In 2012, Asians were primed to follow the national trend and vote a little more Republican. But they didn’t. Just 26 percent voted for Mitt Romney, the lowest GOP total in 20 years. What happened? What turned a small Democratic edge into an outright advantage?

Again, the answer is immigration, and specifically, the sense of exclusion that came from the GOP.

The more the GOP says– no-so-subtly– “we’re the party for white people” the more all racial minorities will be driven away, no matter where they stand on other issues.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

6 Responses to The Trump-ization of the GOP and the Asian-American vote

  1. nilfmonkey says:

    The GOP does seem to be limiting its potential voter base more and more. Now, the word “republican” leaves a bad taste in the mouths of virtually all racial minorities, religious minorities, LGBT and a good chunk of white voters.

  2. R. Jenrette says:

    Yes, many white voters like me are turned off by racist rants that gin up the passion turned to hate in the crowds. This kind of talk supports that hatred and turns it into political power.
    Have you noticed that when Trump comes to a pause in his stream of consciousness talk, he covers the pause by invoking out of the blue one of his blatant panders like saying that the Bible is the greatest book of all or that Billy Graham is a great man or kissing, patting and fondling the American flag which was captured on video.
    And when the crowd roars its approval, don’t you wonder what he’s really thinking? Like “how obvious can it get before they realize what I’m doing?”

    • Jon K says:

      the conspiracy theorist part of me (usually a very very small part of me) wants to think Trump is doing this on purpose to sabotage the GOP primary. The rational part of me thinks that Trump is just doing what he is doing because it stimulates his narcissism. Your post reminded me of a good one Dr Greene posted on Trump where he talked about ‘drinking the wine and eating the little crackers to gain forgiveness’. He is such an obvious demagogue I have to change the channel now when I see him or I get really irritated. As someone who is center-right in orientation I am dismayed by the damage he is doing to the already damaged GOP. The fact that Jeb! is referring to ‘anchor babies’ is a clear example of the damage Trump is inflicting. Demographics don’t lie – Republicans can’t win the Presidency anymore if Hispanics start voting in a bloc like the African Americans do. This isn’t 1950 or 1980 and a party of angry white men just can’t have the influence it used to. Pretty soon that will be all that is left in the GOP if things continue on their current course.

      Maybe the GOP needs/deserves to have another experience like they did the last time the hard right took over the party. That resulted in Barry Goldwater saying “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice… and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue”. Nixon later wrote that he was ‘almost physically sick’ when he heard those words. That is because he knew the Republicans had just thrown away the election. That debacle led to a reorganization and the reemergence of rational repubicans in 1968. Maybe we need that to happen again to shut the tea party people who are always saying “we didn’t win because we weren’t conservative enough”.

      • rgbact says:

        Its actually way worse than 1964. Goldwater was running against the likes of Nelson Rockefeller, so there was a legitimate fight to be had against liberal Republicans. This time, we’ve got the biggest and best conservative field ever…..and the yahoos want to nominate a reality show clown. I’ve been saying it for awhile…….America is seriously getting dumber. No other country does this.

  3. ohwilleke says:

    Immigration, social security and gun control are the two big issues that have turned my Asian-American, evangelical Christian in-laws against the GOP, despite an adult lifetime supporting the GOP pre-retirement.

    • Steve Greene says:

      Interesting. Given that I don’t think the GOP has moves as much on social security and gun control, it would seem that Immigration policy has played a big role. And as Asian-American and Evangelical Christian, that’s a great example of what we call “cross-pressured.”

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