2016 Texas Democratic Party Convention. Day 0

The 2016 Texas Democratic Party Convention begins tomorrow. The requisite kickoff parties are underway, but the exciting bits don’t begin until we greet the sun again. We will see how the first state Democratic party convention will function after Bernie Sanders shifted his highly impressive campaign from running against AAA-Fund endorsee and presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to seeking policy changes within the Democratic party. We will see speeches from, among others, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Housing and Urban Development Secretary and rumored potential running mate Julian Castro, and High School Democrats Executive Vice Chair Liana Wang. Perhaps most exciting of all, we will see the election of an Asian American at-large DNC committee member.

Several qualified, very hard-working Democrats are seeking election to this new seat, and there’s one candidate who I see as the clear choice — Benjamin Chou. I’ve known Chou for years; we worked together on a non-profit board. You don’t have to take my word for it. Chou has endorsements from many notable Democrats including Nick Chu, Martin O’Malley, and, perhaps most importantly, Bel Leong-Hong. Chou is an incredible young man from Sugar Land who has worked with CAPAC and in Nancy Pelosi’s office. Young Asian American LGBT DNC member from Texas sure sounds like a way to send a message to Trump and his ilk. Chou wants to be that message and he will work in his capacity in the DNC to end the super delegate system, unify the party, make Texas a swing state, and push for paid campaign fellowships. Chou the vote!

– Justin Gillenwater

Key takeways from AAPI in-language Election Eve poll

Editorial Context: National Election Pool (NEP) is what AP, CNN and the major news services rely upon for exit polling data. It found AAPIs had a huge swing from 2012 and were the group that Republicans made the largest gains with, coming out 52D-48R (revised by them to 50D-49R.) This is slightly controversial as it doesn’t capture the Limited English Proficiency AAPIs in our population. I will also add that some of the debate around how pollsters got 2014 so wrong, some say is because pollsters pegged too closely to the US Census American Community Survey and therefore did not capture the midterm audience accurately (tends to be less diverse and older than voters in presidential years.) Also it should be noted that this in-language poll was taken pre-election.

Here are a few links about how  and why the polls were so wrong. Also any errors/ ommisions in typing were mine as I was taking notes on the call. For pretty graphics look at the presentation. -Caroline

Asian American Decisions did an in-language election eve poll of 2014 AAPI voters found here: http://vote.18mr.org/static/AAD_EE_Presentation.pdf


All findings from www.asianamericandecisions.com & Taeku Lee
1150 voters in 6 languages versus

National Exit Poll was of 129 voters in English, margin of error could be as high as 9%.

2-1 margins in favor of Dems 61-34%.
Although AAPIs have certain progressive values, most AAPIs do not identify as Democrats.

Texas Gov race: Asian Ams went 48-48 for Davis and Abbott.

VA Sen: AAPI 68-29 for Warner. Independents went 65-30 for Warner. Vote margin for Warner was estimated 25-30k votes, larger than Warner’s margin of victory.

Key issues:
Economy/ Jobs 32% (less prominent than 2012-2008)
Education Schools 22%
Health Care

40% of AAPIs indicated healthcare was either the most important issue or one of the top issues.

Immigration was lower down the list. 22% said immigration was not important in voting.

Dem ID 97%
Republican ID 83%
Independent 58D.

Obama approval:
58-33 (15 pts higher than general population via Gallup)

Dem vote share went from 73% in 2012 to 66% in 2014

45I 14R 41D

40I 22R 39D

Partisan split on Obamacare
52 favorable 37 unfavorable

60 support 26 oppose

Rep ID 47 support (more than oppose)

Min Wage
74-18 support

Rep ID: 57 support 32 oppose
Indep ID 67-24 support

Affirmative Action
63-26 support

Dem ID: 86-10 support
Rep ID: 38-48 oppose
Ind ID 56-30 support

Media consumption
37% internet
36% tv
12% paper

1 in 4 rely on ethnic media
1 in 6 rely on Asian language ethnic media

40% of sample was in language polling

56% were not contacted about voting

Contacted about voting by:
22 D only
11 R only
39 both parties
21 community org

65 D
35 R
33% said they were undecided or refused to give a response

Hillary Clinton:
62 favorable
23 unfavorable
2 not heard of
13 don’t know

GOP hopefuls have high unknowns, unfavorables.
Jeb Bush
25 fav 46 unfav 11 unheard 18 don’t know

Christie had 43% unfavorables.

Q & A:
Immigration sounds like it’s less important as an election issue than for the Latino community. Not single most important issue. 2014 is not a big change for AAPIs.

High no opinion rate that shows up in most polls. Party ID high portion of AAPIs either ID as independent or say they don’t know how to answer that q. Also for 2016 a high undecided portion. Tend not to share vote choice and partisanship in phone surveys until close to closing days.

Immigration linked to pathway to citizenship, were there other options provided for immigration reform? Big change between 2008 and 2012 in terms of big increase in AAPI support for immigration reform with pathway for citizenship. in 2008 it was 1 in 3. 2012 increased to majority. 2014 still a majority.

Since this is partnership between Asian American Decisions and Latino Decisions, any additional info on Young Kim & Janet Nguyen, 2 AAPI Republicans who won over Latino Dems in Orange County & implications?
Oversamples CA TX VA representative of AAPIs throughout the state. Didn’t ask horserace questions but will look into more info.

If you are only tapping English-only AAPIs, then that’s only one slice. NEP weighting moved from 52-48 D then they moved it to 50-49. This survey is pegged to Census weights. Still waiting to see why NEP they changed the weight. NEP is low sample size and they haven’t designed a way of getting an accurate picture of how AAPIs voted.


For Rent: Cooking with Curry Not Allowed

Editor’s Note: Welcome K.J. Bagchi to our blogteam! Read his excellent & informative first post “Fisher v. Texas: Exposing a Divided Community” yesterday.


Apparently not everyone is a fan of the smell of curry. The Department of Justice has filed suit against a property owner in Texas who is accused of violating the Fair Housing Act by denying housing opportunities to people of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent because she found their odor offensive. According to the suit, the property owner gave instructions to her leasing offices to deny leases to South Asians for many reasons, one of which was the claim that they “left the walls smelling of curry after they moved out…”.

Fisher v. Texas: Exposing a Divided Community

Editor’s Note: Welcome K.J. Bagchi to our blogteam! K.J. Bagchi is currently a Legislative Counsel at the Council of the District of Columbia. He’s been active in the South Asian community during since his undergraduate years at UC Davis where was a writer for a campus-based South Asian focused publication, Awaaz, and during law school at the Seattle University School of Law where he was a board member of the South Asian Law Student Association. He looks forward to writing about issues that effect our community with an emphasis on younger generations in the APA community.

Students UCLA, Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

On October 10, 2012, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in Fisher v. Texas, a case that could be critical to determining what role race will play in the admissions policies of public universities. The case came before the Court after two white college applicants were denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin. The women contend that their race played a factor in the denial because of UT’s admissions policy of considering race as one of many factors in determining who is admitted.

Many national groups whose focus includes representing the best interests of certain racial minority groups or racial minority groups in general submitted amicus briefs in support of UT’s affirmative action policy. These groups included the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Organization for Mexican American Rights, Inc., Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, and Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). However, among the organizations that submitted briefs arguing for an end to UT’s affirmative action admissions policies, only one organization was founded specifically to protect and promote the civil rights of an ethnic minority group. That organization was the Asian American Legal Foundation (AALF).

Reading through the briefs on both sides of the case from the organizations representing the interests of the Asian Pacific American community, the distinct illustrations each side draws about the effects of abolishing affirmative action in admissions policies is unambiguously clear. Interestingly enough, the brunt of the arguments from each side do not focus on the effects of affirmative action on society in general, but specifically on the APA community itself. While AALF argues that affirmative action policies disadvantage APA applicants in the long-run and points to data to cement their point, AALDEF retorts AALF‘s claims directly by stating that UT’s individualized review allows for the consideration of many other indicators of a disadvantaged background that benefit subgroups that are frequently hidden by the aggregation of data into a single “Asian” category. AALDEF also cites supportive statistics.

Some have argued that diversity of thought within any group indicates growth. The fact that arguments on racial policies will no longer circulate only around considering the effects on white versus non-white populations shows that the APA community is beginning to change how policy effects on a populous will be analyzed. In due time, nine justices on the high court will determine which APA organization’s arguments contain more persuasive substance, ultimately effecting APA public university applicants all around the country.

— K.J. Bagchi

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