When it comes to discussing the voting habits of Asian-Americans, one must first acknowledge that Asian-American voters are difficult to generalize because of the diversity of thought and voice within the Asian community. Polls have found that while Japanese Americans and Korean Americans tend to lean towards the Democratic party, Vietnamese Americans are much more staunchly Republican (AAPIDATA). Variations in homeland culture, religious beliefs, and the impact of their surrounding environment all contribute towards different political views that cannot be generalized into simple sentences.
But most troubling is the divide between the politically active members of the Asian-American youth and those who view politics with remarkable disinterest. In particular, there is a tendency for young Asian-American males who have grown up in upper-middle-class families to be dispassionate towards political movements, putting their energy and focus towards their own future without paying any attention to politics unless it directly affects them.
Perhaps this is a byproduct of the collectivist culture of Asian families that prioritize one’s blood relations and close connections over strangers, resulting in a mindset that does not concern itself with the struggles of humanity at large when that energy could be better put towards making sure that one’s loved ones are well-off and happy. A lack of overt discrimination towards Asian-Americans in most parts of America might also contribute towards not feeling a pressing need to see change created in the nation. Furthermore, discrimination towards Asians is also likely to be played off as a joke and not be taken as seriously as discrimination experienced by African-Americans or the Latino community. This combined with the “model minority” label that has been plastered on Asian-Americans might make some feel beholden to living up to high standards that include not causing unnecessary tensions in favor of group harmony or create feelings of powerlessness, their voice and concerns repeatedly being ignored.
However, in recent times, we have seen a boost in the voice of young Asian-American voters, particularly those that stand at odds with their more conservative parents. The rising influence and availability of the internet has had a profound impact on the way that Asian-Americans can communicate with their fellow members and share ideas. As politics interweaves itself into nearly every aspect of daily life from the media one consumes to the environmental choices one makes, it is difficult to avoid being exposed to differing thoughts on the internet. This hopefully draws the interest of more Asian-American youth, breaking the disinterest of those who have yet to find the capacity to care.
Another population that makes up the Asian-American vote that has oft been ignored is the vote of Asian-American women and the power they wield to make a difference. Asian-American women and men tend vote at roughly the same rates, but the political voice of women can be especially valuable in swing states such as Florida (American Women). A study done by YWACA’s YWomenVote found that for the 2020 election Asian-American women are particularly concerned about gun safety, the economy, racial violence, and health care.
As the fastest-growing minority in America, the voice of Asian-American voters will grow ever more important and more impactful in these upcoming elections. Hopefully, the upcoming generation will find further ways to enhance their voice and their political impact on the nation.