November 23, 2014

Press coverage of AAA Fund & endorsees

Thanks to Asian Fortune and Jennie Ilustre for the extensive shout out on the rise of Asian American candidates. Also, congrats to everyone who ran for their leadership and courage.  -Caroline

Gautam Dutta, executive director of Asian American Action Fund, a political action committee based in the nation’s capital, is optimistic about Honda’s chances in November. “Having beaten his opponent by a 2-1 margin last June, Congressman Honda is in a strong position to win in November,” he said. Triple-A Fund has endorsed Honda and the other Democratic candidates for Congress. It enjoys a good batting average in its endorsements. “In the 2012 elections,eight of our 13 candidates won, a success rate of nearly two-thirds,” Dutta pointed out.

Other Triple-A Fund-endorsed candidates are: US Rep. Ami Bera (CA), running for reelection;U.S. Representative Judy Chu (CA-27), running for reelection; US Rep. Tammy Duckworth (IL-8)), running for re-election; US Rep. Mark Takano ((CA-41), running for re-election; Mark Takai of Hawaii, candidate for Congress; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-2); and Dr. Manan Trivedi, an Iraq War vet who’s running for an open congressional seat from Pennsylvania.

US Rep. Colleen Hanabusa lost in the tight primary for the US Senate to Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz, who was appointed to fill the seat of the late US Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. Pundits say Schatz is a shoo-in in November.

At press time, Dutta said AAA-Fund has not decided on endorsement regarding Leland Cheung, who is running for election for Lieutenant Governor in Massachusetts. Other state races feature Stephanie Chang, candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives; and Pramila Jayapal, candidate for Washington State Senate.


In every election cycle, Asian American leaders note the importance of becoming candidates and also voter turn-out, citing the critical issues at stake. But due to recent news on immigration, for example, the stakes are higher, indeed.

Triple A-Fund Executive Director Dutta said this year is crucial, both for issues of concern to the community and to mainstream America. In telephone and email interviews from San Jose, California, he said, “Important issues that affect our families are at stake. The newly-elected Congress will be in a position to decide a number of critical issues, including immigration reform, education and economic opportunity.”

Midterm elections are notorious for low voter turn-out. “I urge everybody to turn up on Election Day,” said Dutta of Asian American Action Fund. He said voters can show up on Election Day, or mail their ballots through early voting.

 

Post-Mortem #42

Editor’s Note: Guest blogger Dale Edmondson last wrote “Why Do Both Parties Fare so Badly with the Public?” for us during the election.

A few observations (ok, maybe a bit obvious, but still an attempt to get beyond a Jim Carey in Ace Ventura II scream of “Yeeuuukkkkk”)

  1. Running against something rather than for something wins but lacks staying power. For quite a few cycles, elections seem characterized (oversimplistically but with some validity) as not a mandate for one, but rather a repudiation of the other. This election smacks of that. Rs don’t seem to have won because of a strong message on a widely approved policy agenda (by and large they didn’t offer one) but by running against the perceived status quo. Ds have done the same. That certainly wins elections. But it doesn’t give staying power – especially since the winner of last round becomes, in the public mind, the status quo. In this context, all victories look temporary, and lasting change proves elusive. Still…
  2. Running against something still beats running without any real message. In 2010 and 2014, Ds seemed not to stand for that much. They did not tout what accomplishments they had (possibly because their accomplishments don’t look that great when things overall remained unfixed). Instead they kind of cringed, didn’t really defend their work, didn’t really articulate why they were better alternatives, and hoped not to get slammed too much by the oncoming tide. There were reasons for this, but we saw how it worked out. In a lot of ways they’ve been seen as running not to lose (and when you play to not lose, too often, you do. Rather than offering a vision or a grand purpose, all they had was a “that guy is worse” narrative – one which they often didn’t even press very effectively (eg Braley). And when they did,
  3. “Even if you don’t like me, the other guy is worse” can work but has limits. Kay Hagan did about the best with this strategy and nearly pulled it out in a less blue state than CO or IA. But it only takes you so far, especially against an angry electorate that may feel that, Groundhog-day style, anything different is good, and has as its default “throw da bums out.” The negative approach has been disfavored at least in part out of fears of depressing turnout, and though it may be the best option (given that elections are in truth a choice between candidates far more so than anything else), it hardly inspires. On top of that..
  4. Ds can’t reliably count on Rs to scare away the center. For the last few cycles, Rs have shifted so far right as to frighten everyone not only conservative, but extremely conservative. That’s provided Ds a refuge of sorts, and an excuse not to really change their own side too much. Rs, however, saw this, and responded. With the arguable exception of Ernst (who won anyway given the tide, but by less and with a weaker opponent), the worst of teabaggery was harder to see. Whether newly reformed non-extremists like Gardner have moved to the center in truth (which would be a very good thing for a country that desperately needs a reasoned, compromising, more moderate while still right-side Republican option, but would also be a complication for Ds electorally) or whether their facial moderation was a smokescreen remains to be seen. But for election purposes, they succeeded in being seen as at least plausible/non-scary alternatives to the status quo. Which highlights the underlying problem that…
  5. When things suck, voters don’t seem to much care why. Here, the R attacks on things not being good resonated at least in part because they’re true. Things aren’t good for most people. Wages are falling, employment is low, the list goes on. Of course, the Rs offer little that shows promise of actually making things better, and show every sign of making things worse, as they did the last time they held power. But voters don’t seem to look that deeply. The Rs’ comparative lack of ways to do better, much less ways that have not been tried and failed before, didn’t seem to matter that much – at least, not to those who voted. Which underscores that
  6. Who shows up, wins – and Ds too often don’t. Turnout was down yet again. Maybe part of that is dispiritedness of the base due to scandals, lack of transformative change etc. Or maybe part is generally lower rates of participation -on average years. Regardless, Ds still haven’t found a way to crack this. That leaves Ds in a horrible place (although they did manage to do differently in 06). It also leaves decisions made by an increasingly small fraction of the electorate. (Of course that, compromises the force of any general themes directed at general voting public, including the ones here- but that’s a separate point). It’s hard to say democracy itself is failing when it’s voters’ own choices not to show up at all, and it’s hard to complain about something one has the power to fix but does not. Still, self-inflicted wound though it may be, the situation is a wound for the country, and one that results in decision-making that does not reflect the wills of most of the people. However,
  7. Low turnouts also highlight the prospect for change. Given how depressed turnout seems to be, it would take a correspondingly small shift in voter mobilization to dramatically swing outcomes. That would require shifts in individual desires to make such a change, as well as increased feeling that change would even matter or that either candidate is worth supporting. Such things may be daunting tasks, especially in an overall climate of disappointment on all sides and dislike of the other side being a prime motivator. Shifts like that do remain possible if the underlying factors prompting apathy can be addressed, and should be considered among the many other elements going into what to do next.

– Dale Edmondson

Republican Opponent Jim Cunneen Endorses Rep. Mike Honda

Editor’s Note: The below is a reposting of “Former Republican Opponent Jim Cunneen Endorses Congressman Mike Honda” from our friends at Mike Honda for Congress. We endorsed his 2014 campaign. Mike is an AAA-Fund Honorary Board member.

Mike Honda for Congress

Silicon Valley, CA – Today, prominent Republican Jim Cunneen endorsed Congressman Mike Honda in California’s 17th district following Vanila Singh’s 3rd place finish in the June primary. Former Assemblymember Cunneen was Congressman Honda’s Republican opponent during the 2000 Congressional election. Cunneen is also a former President and CEO of the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, and has held executive positions at Applied Materials and Cisco Systems (both headquartered in CA-17).

“I am proud to support Congressman Honda this November,” said Cunneen. “I’ve admired Mike for as long as I’ve known him. In the Assembly, we worked together on technology and education issues. Most of all, Mike’s integrity and good character have served our region well. His hard work and seniority has consistently delivered for Silicon Valley, including his bipartisan work to secure funding for the BART extension that is delivering thousands of jobs. As a previous supporter of Republican Vanila Singh, who is no longer in the race, I ask that other Republicans join me and switch their support to Mike Honda, who will continue working hard to represent all of us in Silicon Valley.”

Mr. Cunneen joins local Republican elected officials that have endorsed Congressman Mike Honda, such as: Sheriff Laurie Smith, County of Santa Clara; Vice Mayor Jim Davis, City of Sunnyvale; Vice Mayor Jerry Marsalli, City of Santa Clara; Councilmember Patrick Kolstad, City of Santa Clara; Councilmember Tara Martin-Milius, City of Sunnyvale; Trustee Khoa Nguyen, Berryessa Unified School District; Commissioner Cyndy Mozzetti, Fremont Planning Commission; Director Bernard Stewart, Washington Township Healthcare Hospital System; and Former Mayor Denny Weisgerber, City of Milpitas.

The latest public poll available in this race, commissioned by CBS and cited in Ro Khanna campaign memos, has Honda currently leading among registered Republican voters (19% to 18%). The poll also shows a huge lead for Congressman Honda in key demographic groups for the district, such as Moderates (44% to 26%) and Democrats (57% to 21%). Full poll results are available here.

Voters in California’s 17th Congressional District made it clear on June 3rd that they overwhelmingly support Congressman Mike Honda to any of his opponents by 20%, despite being outspent by Ro Khanna’s campaign by a more than 2 to 1 margin. The Honda campaign now has more resources than Khanna, and is in a good position to continue building upon this lead.

Clay Pell for Governor

Clay Pell for Governor

Exciting news about 1 of my childhood heroes when I heard Michelle Kwan’s husband Clay Pell is running for Rhode Island Governor. Yes, that’s the same Pell as in the famed scholarship program, the Pell Grants, which has funded the college education for a number of our readers including yours truly.

Putting aside Kwan’s star power, here’s why I’d vote for him if I were a Rhode Island voter:

  • accepting neither lobbyists’ nor PAC’s monies to avoid legalized corruption/bribery
  • Harvard undergrad & Georgetown Law School show the best education
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary for International and Foreign Language Education at US Department of Education; White House Fellow 2011-2012; director of strategic planning for President Obama’s national security team; active duty Coast Guard officer
  • more important than the still good party support is his on-the-ground support; if polls speak to some political industry insiders, then he’s also +9% there
  • he doesn’t lie, whether you want to use experience reading news about him, his PolitiFact page, factual defense of the usual dumb accusations during campaigns, etc.
  • doing what progressive & smart economies are doing, funding professional internships
  • this past Tuesday’s debate showed how he’s not a career poltician in style, thought & treatment
  • sure his Republican opponent is an Asian, but Allan Fung is conservative and harmful to the state proving how supporting the greater good may take us outside our Asian roots

Learn more about Clay at ClayPell.com, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Or update the race’s Wikipedia or Ballotpedia pages.

Election 2014: Update 1

I also update my original “Election 2014” post, but highlight yesterday’s elections below.

I congratulate Mike Honda and Ami Bera for finishing in 1st place in their primaries for Congress! Ted Lieu also successfully made it to the general election in his important race to replace Rep. Henry Waxman. We also congratulate our official endorsees who lost hard-fought races, Swati Dandekar for Congress in Iowa and Suja Lowenthal for CA State Assembly. They’ve made their communities a better place by stimulating dialog.

Our other endorsed candidates all also did great:

Shameless pitch: to fully support these candidates to victory, we need YOUR support at our June 18 reception. Early bird SPECIALS expire this Friday!

Honda leads Khanna by 20 points, despite being outspent 2:1

Editor’s Note: The below is a reposting of “New Poll: Honda leads Khanna by 20 points, despite being outspent 2:1” from our friends at Mike Honda for Congress. We endorsed his 2014 campaign. Mike is an AAA-Fund Honorary Board member.

Mike Honda for Congress

Silicon Valley, CA – With just over a week remaining until the June 3 primary in California’s 17th Congressional District, a new public poll released today shows that Honda has twice as much support amongst voters in California’s 17th District than his closest opponent.

The poll numbers are: Mike Honda 40%, Ro Khanna 21%, Vanila Singh 8%, Joel VanLandingham 6%, with 24% undecided and a sampling error of 4.4%.

Today’s release of the poll follows yesterday’s release of the last FEC fundraising numbers before the primary. Those reports showed that Ro Khanna has spent $2.7M through May 14 – more than twice as much as Rep. Honda’s campaign so far. The report also showed that Honda’s campaign outraised Khanna’s campaign again, and that Honda has more cash on hand going into the General Election.

Campaign Manager Doug Greven said: “This poll shows that voters overwhelmingly prefer Congressman Honda and want him to continue his record of delivering for the district. Mike Honda has a strong 40% in a four way primary race, while Ro Khanna has squandered what was once a $1.3M advantage last year to barely get half the support that Congressman Honda has.”

If Khanna advances past the primary, as the poll suggests, he will be starting the general election in a tremendously weak position against Rep. Honda, who has spent less than $100,000 in advertising so far, compared to over $1 million from Khanna’s campaign. The Honda campaign has always maintained that it will have the resources necessary to win in the November election.

The poll was conducted between May 20 and May 22 by SurveyUSA and paid for by KPIX-TV San Francisco, which is owned by CBS. Full results are available online at http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=74be73a6-5bf7-45d7-b9df-1194cf911807

Update: Honda won the June 3 primary! Thank you to everyone who helped in any way, we celebrate together!

Ro Khanna Donors Want Refunds

Editor’s Note: Below is by Richard Chen speaking for himself not as Editor.

Mike Honda at San Jose High School

To follow up to how important it is to have Mike Honda and not Ro Khanna representing CA-17, the juicy headline “Ro Khanna Hasn’t Been Elected Yet, But Some Donors Already Want Refunds” gets at too many issues:

  1. if you’ve someone who’s taking big tech money then doesn’t want to be associated per PR with money heavy tech giants, you think he’ll represent all the people of Silicon Valley?
  2. if he’s already keeping monies he knows from the donors wasn’t intended to be used against Mike Honda, what’ll he do with money he gets from corrupt lobbyists as will happen if elected (banish the horrid thought of such representation)?
  3. if he’s so defensive in office against his own donors and potential subjects, imagine what he’d do on his own while in office?

All the ways not to conduct a campaign suggest someone who’ll do even more unethical to corrupt doings in office.

In lighter news, happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! I’ll be reposting/reTweeting our partner’s hand picked posts and events to our Facebook and Twitter as always.

And don’t forget to phone bank for Mike Honda in DC daily until June 3.

Daily Until June 3: Phone Bank for Mike Honda

Rep. Mike Honda (CA-17) is a longtime supporter and friend of the AAA-Fund. His work has directly matched and aided our own mission and goal. We encourage all to support him as he has supported us all in all his work.

Phone bank for Mike!

Mike Honda at San Jose High School

Join Mike Honda’s campaign and help re-elect him to Congress. Phone banks are held at the DCCC building, 430 S. Capitol Street S.E., Washington, DC. Every Wednesday from 6:30pm-9:30pm until the June 3rd primary, with additional times announced for the general election. Sign up here.

Congressman Honda is running to represent CA-17, the Silicon Valley district. He has been delivering for his district for over a decade in Congress. As Chair Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and Vice-Chair of the DNC for 6 years, Mike has been a leading voice in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community & a progressive champion for underserved and under-represented communities & a fierce advocate for the middle class, fighting for legislation that nurtures the tech industry in his Silicon Valley district and grows our innovation economy. His service has been recognized by his many endorsers, including President Barack Obama, Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, CA Attorney General Kamala Harris, and the California Democratic Party, among others.

His opponent Ro Khanna has amassed a questionably funded war chest and high-paid consultancy team which threatens to end Mike’s career of delivering for CA-17 and fighting for the progressive values we hold dear. We’ll even pardon Khanna’s unsavory ethical questions. Working on behalf of people like you inspires Congressman Honda’s work every day. Thus we hope you will help Mike in his time of need.

To volunteer, fill out this form or contact 503-974-6026 or hondavolunteer@gmail.com. Forward this to anyone you think would be interested in helping Mike.

Thank you!

Update: A new signup is also available!

Colleen Hanabusa (2/2)

Colleen Hanabusa

Naturally, President Obama endorsed his own Hawaii state campaign head Brian Schatz for US Senate over the proven lead Colleen Hanabusa. I wrote 2 months ago about how Hanabusa provides not just any leadership or the party’s most well connected leadership but the most principled, focused & ideal leadership. Ignoring sustained junk politics like her age (which is a plus, but mean politics never sees that), we can all see the President will back his campaign staff while other Democrats back Hanabusa as it’s an all-Democratic field which leads to disillusionment over the political process that leads to political fragmentation & polarization that makes Congress what it is today.

Also, Obama’s been so unwilling to help any US Senate candidate except 1 other (then again, it’s desired). Unfortunate but understandable.

Today’s Honolulu Star Advertiser poll asks, “Should President Obama have endorsed his candidate in Hawaii’s Democratic race for U.S. Senate?” where you can vote your say. You know my say.

Update: Poll results agree, Obama should’ve stayed out of it.

2014 Elections

Editor’s Note: Richard’s writing below means he’s tracking it but not that the AAA-Fund gives an endorsement. Official endorsed candidates are here. But in other news, I stopped updating here as of Oct. 31 & ask what you think, comment below.

Asian American Pacific Islanders in Election 2014

I’m following:

Elected already

  • Suchada “Sue” Langley – elected Chair of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, the largest committee in Virginia. Dr. Langley is a retired USDA economist and Thai American.
  • Clarence Tong – elected Chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee. Clarence works in the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs (CI) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). He is Chinese-American & was the Communications Director and Policy Director for Congressman Joe Sestak (D-PA), who lost to and will run in 2016 against Sen. Toomey.

And lost:

  • Reshma Saujani for New York City Public Advocate – don’t know her but her campaign is too Machallivian for my taste and she lost last year; more here and at her self-touting book

I update this post regularly (12 edits so far); all comments welcome below.

Good to do for any/all would be to tag politicians’ Wikipedia pages for Category:Members of the United States Congress of Asian descent or to edit this Wikipedia article.