November 27, 2014

Tammy & Bryan welcome Abigail O’kalani Bowlsbey

Editor’s Note: Duckworth is a 2-time AAA-Fund Endorsed Candidate.

Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. (H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY)

We congratulate Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth and her husband Bryan Bowlsbey! Their statement:

My husband Bryan and I are thrilled to announce that we are the proud parents of a baby girl. Abigail O’kalani Bowlsbey was born on November 18. Bryan and I were deeply honored that Senator Akaka acted as Hawaiian elder and selected her middle name. We are grateful for the love and support of our family and friends. We also appreciate the respect for our privacy during this important moment in our lives.”

More at HuffPo.

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.

 

After the 2014 Elections: Event Report

Editor’s Note: We report on our event “” (Facebook Events) which we publicized extensively on our Facebook, Twitter & here.

Asian American Action Fund, Post-Election 2014 event

While the main thought on everyone’s mind in D.C. after the November 2014 election was how Democrats will cope with such massive losses, exit polls gathered by different organizations raised a different issue: the AAPI vote was slowly heading towards the Republican party. The AAA-Fund’s Young Professionals Initiative focused on exploring the reality of this conclusion. With over 70 people in attendance and a great panel, which included consultants and policy experts, the evening’s discussion spoke to issues of AAPI electability, voter turnout, and the engagement of the community in the elections. Panelists include: Joon Kim (New Partners) (@joonkim0123), Carrie Pugh (NEA) (@Carriepugh), Alissa Ko (Ready for Hillary) (@aliko03), and Raghu Devaguptapu (Adelstein Liston) (@DevaRags).

Event organizers also reminded the audience of the AAA-Fund’s work, as well as its young professional organizing efforts.

Plans were announced to host a Young Professionals Initiative planning meeting in December to further the AAA-Fund’s YP efforts and start planning events for the new year.

A huge thanks to all AAA-Fund Board members who made the event possible, the panelists, and Local 16 for providing a great space!

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

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.

Partisanship:
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

2012:
45I 14R 41D

2014:
40I 22R 39D

Partisan split on Obamacare
52 favorable 37 unfavorable

Immigration
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

2016:
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.

 

Last Weekend in VA, NC, CA

Proect the Vote Virginia This weekend is the last before the Tuesday election. If you’re reading, here’s what you can do this weekend. The stakes are high as, frankly, all the important races for us (Bera, Honda, Takai) are all within the margin of error or possible losses.

  1. Phone bank, canvass – either virtual (from home) or in person phone banking for critical Senatorial candidates like Kay Hagan of North Carolina (contact Jamie Maniscalco to volunteer) or Asian Pacific American candidates like our friends Mike Honda, Ami Bera, and Mark Takai. This phone banking is strictly for GOTV not for fundraising. Canvassing for critical VA races like John Foust in Virginia (contact Emil Trinidad to volunteer) or Kay Hagan in NC (closest key Senate race within driving distance). If interested in the APA candidates, contact Jian Zapata to volunteer.
  2. Protect the vote In VA: for my fellow lawyers, you could be especially helpful here but no need to be an attorney to do this. See training and details below from (contact Georgina to volunteer) and contact her above if you are interested. Also for more info on this, our resident expert since she has been leading several protect the vote efforts over the years is Erika Moritsugu.
  3. Protect the vote in VA for limited English proficient populations: for my bilingual speakers, you can help answer the voter hotline. No need to be a lawyer for this. Spanish speakers are especially needed and some Asian languages. Contact Georgina to volunteer.

For those of you who have helped in prior campaigns, you know the good feeling the day after the election knowing that we did all we could to fight for the candidates whose values and policies we support or that we protected the fundamental right of our fellow citizens to vote.

Find a way to use your weekend better!

AAA-Fund Announces Endorsements: Ige, Trivedi, Cho, Jayapal

Editor’s Note: Time is low until the election so use Twitter for David Ige as Governor of Hawai’i, Roy Cho in New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District, Dr. Manan Trivedi in Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District. Pramila Jayapal. Go vote Tuesday.

AAAF logo

For Immediate Release
Oct. 24, 2014
Contact: Gautam Dutta (415-236-2048)

Washington, DC: As the 2014 general election draws near, Asian American Action Fund is proud to endorse a number of rising stars: David Ige (Hawai’i Governor), Dr. Manan Trivedi (Congress), Roy Cho (Congress), Pramila Jayapal (Washington State Senator).

“We urge you to support these outstanding leaders however you can – by voting, donating, and volunteering,” said AAA-Fund Executive Director Gautam Dutta. “Your involvement can make all the difference in this year of close elections,” Dutta added.

David Ige seeks to become the next Governor of Hawai’i. An experienced lawmaker and an electrical engineer by training, David currently serves as a State Senator. Service to his country runs in the family. After the outbreak of World War II, his father Tokio Ige joined the famed 442nd Regiment, and was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Last August, David scored an historic upset over the incumbent in the Democratic primary. David, who holds an undergraduate degree and an MBA from the University of Hawai’i, has focused his efforts on diversifying Hawai’i’s economy.

Roy Cho seeks to represent New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District. Roy is the son of Korean immigrants and a product of New Jersey public schools. His dedication to public service includes work in the New Jersey Governor’s office, for a U.S. Senator on Capitol Hill, and for an executive at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He is also a founding board member of the education nonprofit New Jersey Needs You, which focuses on helping first generation college students from low-income areas land internships, graduate from college, and gain employment afterwards.

Dr. Manan Trivedi seeks to become the first Asian American to be elected from Pennsylvania (6th Congressional District). He is the son of Indian immigrants and became a naval officer to serve as a Battalion Surgeon from 2001 to 2003. Manan was among the first United States ground forces to enter Iraq. For his service, he earned the Combat Action Ribbon, the Navy Commendation Medal, and his unit was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. While in the Navy he served as Health Policy Advisor to the Navy Surgeon General. He currently works as a health policy consultant and a part-time primary care physician.

Pramila Jayapal seeks to become the first South Asian to serve in the Washington State Senate. She is a first time candidate running to represent Washington’s 37th Legislative District. Pramila was born in India and immigrated to the United States, by herself, when she was 16 years old. In the wake of September 11, 2001, she founded One America, which fights hate crimes and civil liberties against minority communities including South Asian populations. Pramila was also an early board member of Chaya, a nonprofit organization to help South Asian survivors of violence. She also serves on the Mayor of Seattle’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee to help raise the minimum wage in the city.

The AAA-Fund is a national Democratic political organization whose goal is to increase the voice of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in local, state and federal government, by encouraging AAPIs to volunteer on campaigns, raise money for candidates, and run for political office.

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GOTV in DC for Mike Honda 10/22-11/3

Editor’s Note: Rep. Mike Honda is a long-time AAA Fund endorsee and a AAA Fund Honorary Board Member.

Mike Honda for Congress

We and CAPAC Leadership PAC have both endorsed Mike Honda for Congress. Congressman Honda currently represents the 17th District of California in the U.S House of Representatives. He is the Chair Emeritus of CAPAC, and is a senior member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. Congressman Honda has served in the House since 2001, and has given a voice to not only to the AAPI community, but for all the underrepresented minorities in our country. He needs your help to continue protecting and fighting for greater equality in minority health, education, and access. Rep. Honda also served as the DNC Vice Chair for 9 years, as the only AAPI there in leadership, urging resources and outreach to the AAPI community around the country.

The race in Silicon Valley has tightened and the most recent CBS poll shows Rep. Honda leading by only two points. The election will come down to turn-out and we need your help! The Mike Honda for Congress campaign has set up six phone banks in DC to reach key voters, and to help the Get Out To Vote campaign in the days leading up to the election.

Consider volunteering for one of the times listed below.

A few hours will really make a difference!

RSVP online or contact Kelly Honda at honda.kelly@gmail.com or 559-593-0723 for more information.

Wednesday, October 22 7:30- 9:30 pm
Tuesday, October 28: 7:30- 9:30 pm
Wednesday, October 29 7:30- 9:30 pm
Saturday, November 1: 4:00- 6:00 pm
Sunday, November 2: 4:00- 6:00 pm
Monday, November 3: 7:30 – 9:30 pm

Location:
Democratic National Committee
430 South Capitol St SE Floor 2
Washington, DC