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Sat Jun 22, 2019, 03:35 PM

Democrats can't afford to ignore Asian American voters in 2020

By Lindy Li

Given that Asian American voters could provide the margin of victory in battleground states such as Nevada, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan, Democrats must make a concerted effort in 2020 to encourage them to vote and to convert the Trump supporters among them.

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, as good a time as any to reflect on the political power of a community that doesn't always get the same attention as other minority groups. Asian Americans are incredibly diverse, making generalizing on topics, like voter patterns, difficult. The fastest growing in the country, this population includes Vietnamese, Filipino, Korean, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and other ethnicities. And each of these groups demonstrates a different level of support for President Donald Trump. For example, according to an October 2018 APIAVote poll, 64 percent of Vietnamese Americans approved of Trump, while only 14 percent of Japanese American voters did.

Granted, Trump did not win the general Asian American vote in 2016, securing just 18 percent. And this figure, too, cloaks sharp internal differences, with 4 percent and 24 percent of Pakistani and Chinese Americans supporting him, respectively. Meanwhile, 32 percent of Latinos supported the GOP in 2016. And yet, the question for many remains: How does one explain why anyone of immigrant heritage would support a man who makes xenophobia a centerpiece of his agenda?

For my own family and other immigrants from countries with painful communist pasts, America was more than Winthropís "city upon a hill." America symbolized opportunity, freedom and boundless promise ó in short, everything our birth country was not. So when Democrats shifted noticeably leftward, many of these immigrants were aghast.

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