by Wen-Wen Lindroth
Last month, WC member Wen-Wen Lindroth and the DAUK Policy Network & Resolutions Committee organized a fascinating event on shifts in Asian-American identity and voting patterns with Prof. Catherine Liu.
On Monday, March 25th, Dr. Catherine Liu, Professor of Film and Media Studies at UC Irvine, spoke to DAUK about the evolution and current state of the Asian American electorate. Hosted by the PNR identities policy group, Prof. Liu presented her forthcoming paper: “Class AND Race: Asian Americans by the Numbers: The Political Transformation of an American Demographic.”
Some main takeaways: while Asian Americans are still smaller than other ethnic groups at roughly 4% of the total electorate, their presence and impact are increasingly felt, as they became the largest source of immigration into the US around 2009. In California, Asian Americans currently comprise roughly 15% of the vote. Their participation rate is still at low levels among younger voters; however, the fact that Asian Americans now identify as Liberal/Progressive at a significantly higher rate than the overall population (41% for Asian Americans vs. 33% for the general population and 29% for Caucasians) should be seen as an opportunity for the Democratic Party.
Asian Americans are characterized by massive diversity, spanning South, Southeast and East Asian origins. Despite their mythological image as a “model minority” group, inequality and economic vulnerability remain concerning issues. For example, income polarization is intensifying within the Asian American demographic at similar rates to the general population. In addition, Asian American prosperity is more fragile than Caucasian prosperity as a result of higher mortgage debt, poor retirement savings and poorer pension performance.
I invite you to review the slides from Prof. Liu’s talk and the most recent latest survey on Asian American voters from APIA Vote and let us know your thoughts: