They are the fastest growing racial group in the United States and a growing voter demographic, with nearly 4 million voters in 2012. Nearly three-quarters of these voters favored President Barack Obama, and a spring 2016 survey of Asian American and Pacific Islander voters showed that they are leaning Democratic in both the presidential and state races, by a factor of 2 to 1 or even higher.
While far from a monolithic voting bloc, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders care about immigration reform, access to health care, and affordable college. Forty percent of voters said that they would oppose a candidate who was anti-immigrant or anti-Muslim in their views.
Cue Donald J. Trump. With over a month until the presidential election, his campaign just launched its new Asian Pacific American Advisory Committee. When asked about the seemingly last-minute nature of the campaign, a Trump official explained that the timing was planned to coincide with the first presidential debate. The GOP also released a video featuring Asian Americans (half-heartedly) sharing why they would vote for Trump.
Following his steady record of flops with black and Latino voter outreach, it is unclear how Trump’s committee will convince Asian-American voters to choose someone who promises the opposite of what they hope for on several issues. The grab bag of elected leaders, judges, and professionals listed on the committee was not accompanied by any concrete policy platform, unlike the Clinton campaign’s specific platform for AAPI communities that puts immigration reform, affordable health care, and access to college front and center.