Why aren’t Asian-Americans, even higher income Asian-Americans, voting Republican?

28 Nov

Charles Murray weighs in, arguing that demographically they should.  He writes:

something has happened to define conservatism in the minds of Asians as deeply unattractive, despite all the reasons that should naturally lead them to vote for a party that is identified with liberty, opportunity to get ahead, and economic growth [earlier, Murray points to their “family-orientation”]. I propose that the explanation is simple. Those are not the themes that define the Republican Party in the public mind. Republicans are seen by Asians—as they are by Latinos, blacks, and some large proportion of whites—as the party of Bible-thumping, anti-gay, anti-abortion creationists. Factually, that’s ludicrously inaccurate. In the public mind, except among Republicans, that image is taken for reality.

But a post over at the Monkey Cage argues that most Asian-Americans live in Pacific states that are predominately blue anyways (regardless of income).  The comments section below that post is really helpful and I commend it.

For my part, I agree with one of the commentators “Christ” who said this:

Could you walk me through your resolution to the endogeneity problem here?

Yes, lots of Asians live in California. But from 1948 to 1988, California was a fairly “red” state (R in all but 2 elections). So was New Jersey. So was Nevada (R in all but 3, compared to 4 Democratic wins). Why couldn’t I argue that an increase in voting-eligible Latinos & Asians is what made the Pacific reliably “liberal” in recent elections?

The underlying argument seems to be that urban = liberal & Asians = urban, therefore Asians = liberal. But this relationship doesn’t hold for other “minority” groups (Latinos in New Mexico; African-Americans in Alabama).

Isn’t the story here just political/social? Liberals pursued inclusive ethnic strategies while Conservatives pursued an exclusive (“Southern”) ethnic strategy, creating reliable ethnic voting patterns. If Conservatives want to break these patterns, they need to change their frames of social exclusion; ie they need to accept Asians as “insiders”, rather than just appealing to their pocketbooks.

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