Republicans make inroads with a key group of voters: Asian Americans. The GOP has made inroads with an important group of voters, namely Asian Americans, and as the party is shifting its message towards diversity and immigration, it has become increasingly attractive to Asian Americans. This is all the more remarkable since Republicans haven’t always been all that great partners with Asian Americans, a fact reflected in the lack of public support they received from Asian Americans during the mid-1990s. In part this may be because Asian Americans have historically been the most Democratic of all American ethnic groups. But much of the reason is due to the Asian American experience: they’ve been a politically and culturally disenfranchised group.
Like most Americans, Asian Americans have grown up in a country in which they were often either the only Asian Americans in their communities, or there was almost no Asian Americans in America at all. It is hard to find a major American city that is not majority Asian American, and this is in part due to the fact that Asian Americans experienced ethnic isolation. As a group, they have only ever been a fraction of the immigrant population. Many were subjected to exclusionary immigration laws and then subsequently denied citizenship, not having the right to vote and enjoy many of the same rights as the non-immigrants (though they did have voting rights).
The Asian American experience has certainly had a lasting impact. Today, even an entire generation of Asian Americans are finding that identity politics are often detrimental to their individual career development and personal success.
Asian Americans’ political clout has largely been confined to the Democratic Party. This was a legacy of the American Civil Rights movement, which largely excluded Asian Americans and Asian immigrants from voting rights and power, although not from leadership positions. So Asian Americans, who have historically voted overwhelmingly Democratic, often didn’t have the right to vote and did not have the same opportunities as non-immigrants. With the political clout of Asian Americans having been limited to the Democratic Party, for a long time now, there has been an expectation that they would be politically inactive, even as non-immigrants. For example, Asian Americans have historically not been a politically competitive group, a fact reflected in the fact that they have only ever elected