Bryan Caplan  

Why Are Asians So Democratic? The Respect Motive in Action

Respect for Authority: The Cas... A Reason U.S. Doctors Earn Mor...
Republican critics of immigration often decry Hispanics' lop-sided identification with the Democratic Party.  Due to their low income, the story goes, Hispanics naturally prefer the party of Big Government.  Since Hispanics will never vote Republican, Republicans' only prudent response is to strive to keep them out of the country in the first place.

Only rarely, though, does anyone complaint about Asians' partisan leanings.  Yet the National Asian American Survey, the best data I could find on this topic, finds that Asians' Democrat/Republican ratio is practically as high as Hispanics'.  Survey says:


The Vietnamese aside, every single Asian nationality leans heavily Democratic.  Who's in the survey, you ask?
The NAAS includes adults in the United States who identify any family background from countries in Asia. Survey interviews were conducted in eight languages, including English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Japanese, and Hindi. While heavily immigrant, nearly two thirds of Asian Americans are citizens and more than half are eligible to vote. The registered voters in the sample included 784 of Indian origin, 748 Chinese, 521 Vietnamese, 406 Filipinos, 388 Korean, and 340 of Japanese origin.
Republican critics of immigration could react by saying, "Matters are worse than we thought.  We've got to keep out Hispanic and Asian immigrants."  But given Asians' above-average income and famously socially conservative values (single motherhood, for example, is much less common among Asians than whites), they might want to consider a more thoughtful response.

Consider Indians.  They are now the highest-income ethnicity in the country - and their Democrat/Republican ratio is roughly 4:1.  Accusing them of voting Democratic out of crude self-interest is plainly absurd.  In terms of values and family structure, moreover, Indians make most Americans look like a bunch of hippies.  Why then do Indians vote like Hispanics?

I'm open to alternative stories, but I think my Respect Motive story fits the facts quite nicely.  Indians vote Democratic because they correctly sense that Democrats respect them more.  When the typical Republican see women in saris or statues of Ganesha, or hears about arranged marriages and great Indian restaurants, they react less positively than the typical Democrat does.

If Republicans object, "I respect Indians just as much as I respect anybody else," they're only proving my point.  It's a classic case of damning with faint praise.  When a Democrat truthfully says, "I respect veterans just as much as I respect anybody else," he is forfeiting the votes of veterans by failing to show respect.  You win people over by credibly showing that you think they're better than other people... though in politics as in Lake Wobegon, it's OK for politicians to tell most people that they're better than most people.

Does this mean that Republicans could capture the Indian vote with better public relations?  Not quickly.  If people feel like you don't respect them, it usually takes years of steady admiration to change their minds.  This is psychologically difficult - even humiliating - because you have to show respect to people before they'll even consider respecting you.  And as you struggle to win over your future friends, you face a severe coordination problem: Anyone currently on "your side" who expresses apathy or sarcasm toward your audience undercuts your efforts.

In the long-run, however, efforts to show more respect often pay off.  That's how Republicans won over conservative Catholics.  That's how Democrats won over women.  And that's how Republicans will win over whoever's going to keep them from becoming the party of a dwindling white minority. 

COMMENTS (101 to date)
John Thacker writes:

Republicans won a majority of Asian votes as recently as the '90s.

Steve Sailer writes:

No, the way for Republicans to win over South Asian and Latin American voters is for white people to show they respect themselves more.

Everybody loves a winner. When white people acted like they thought of themselves as the winners that they are, South Asians and Latin Americans tried to be more white. Indeed, back home in South Asian and Latin America, the inhabitants spend vast sums on skin-whitening creams to rise in social status.

It's only when they get here and discover that whiteness is consistently portrayed in the American media as shameful, and that the government hands out jobs and low-interest loans for self-identifying as non-white, that you find Brahmins and caudillos asserting their non-whiteness.

Peter St. Onge writes:

I think it's not that Hispanics/Asians/Africans are democrat, it's that non-Americans in America are democrat. My guess is two reasons:

1. The US is globally extremely right. Almost every other country's electorate is to the left.

2. Democrats have successfully branded themselves as champions of minorities and outsiders.

egd writes:

If Hispanics tend to be poorer, less educated, and have less stable families and social groups than Asians, but both vote equally Democrat, doesn't that suggest your hypothesis is wrong?

That is, Republicans aren't opposed to increased Hispanic (really "Mexican") voters because they're Democrats, but rather Republicans are opposed to the effect that poorer, less educated, and less socially stable individuals will have at the ballot box.

Vipul Naik writes:

This piece by Shikha Dalmia is relevant, in that it contains some speculations and factoids very similar to those you have in your post.

Why Republicans Can't Harness Indian-American Patel Power

Anecdotally, many of the Indians I know currently in the US and/or keeping track of US politics (most of them aren't US citizens or permanent residents) probably share enough values with the Republicans to consider voting for them, but they are very apolitical. My impression is that the ones who support Democrats tend to be more politically active, hence more likely to vote if and when they become US citizens. But this probably comes nowhere near explaining the huge gap.

rapscallion writes:

The question isn't why some groups vote Democratic, it's why any vote Republican. Social democratic and collectivist policies are much more the norm worldwide. It's only relatively small groups, like white, intelligent anglos, who tend toward more libertarian ideologies.

BZ writes:

"You win people over by credibly showing that you think they're better than other people"

Can someone explain to me how pandering to someones racial superiority complex is respectful, and beyond that, a good thing? I totally missed it.

Rohan writes:

Here's an alternate hypothesis. Megan McCardle wrote a piece the other day on the America's New Mandarins.

The Asian cultures are all heavily Mandarin. The ones who immigrate here will work crazy hours at back-breaking labor and menial tasks. But they do that so that their children will become Mandarins, score high on tests, go to a good college and get a solid white-collar job. Very few Asian parents will be happy with a child who goes into construction or a skilled trade.

Perhaps the Asian identification with Democrats is simply the Asians identifying with the party that is most Mandarin in outlook.

Perhaps Bryan could cite some substantive instance or example or illustration of Democrats 'respecting' Indian-Americans. Not to say that this couldn't indeed be the psychological motive of Indian-Americans, substance or not, but it would make it all the more futile and pointless to combat if this perception of (D)s 'respecting' them so much is based on absolutely nothing.

I would say the real reason Indian-Americans and similar (high-achieving/recent immigrant) subgroups have flocked to the (D)s is that they have successfully positioned themselves as the party of non-religious, Smart People technocrats, and that's the sort of philosophy most Indian-Americans are attracted to, for not all that mysterious reasons.

Notice that my theory while plenty cynical at least leaves room for Indian-Americans' sincere opinions about substantive things actually influencing their votes (as, I believe, it does). Under Bryan's 'respect motive' theory it all just boils down to psychological flattery, sincere opinions on actual issues be damned. Who's not 'respecting' Indian-Americans here?

HR Lincoln writes:

Occam may just conclude it's simply a tribal world, and Republicans are the white party. Democrats are the anti-white party. Non-whites are just voting against whitey.

BK writes:

See Razib Khan:

The Republicans are the Christian party. In the past, more Asian-Americans were Christians. Now more are atheist, Hindu, Buddhist, or otherwise non-Christian, and the Republicans lose them.

To win non-Christians at high rates the Republicans would have to take serious losses with their churchgoing base.

MikeP writes:

To what degree are you seeing simply the fact that Asians in the US are selected to be more educated, and more educated people usually lean liberal largely because they believe that planners can bring more social equality?

Add to this the fact that most Asians selected to live in the US are educated in technical fields and have little time to spend learning political economy -- yet they are quite confident in their uneducated perceptions of political economy -- and you see why they lean even further liberal. It has simply never occurred to them to question that position.

Steve Sailer writes:

People of Latin American ancestry were white on the 1950 and 1960 Censuses, then the Nixon Administration created the Hispanic "ethnicity" category.

Similarly, in 1982 South Asian businessmen petitioned the Reagan Administration to reassign them racially from Caucasian to Asian so that they would be eligible for "minority development" low interest loans from the SBA and affirmative action breaks on government contracts.

How's all that Republican "respect" working out for the GOP?

MikeP writes:

Thanks, Steve Sailer.

I have wondered why South Asians are grouped with East Asians when the greatest thing those peoples and cultures have in common is that their lands end at the same impenetrable mountains.

Indeed, if what puts Chinese-Americans and Indian-Americans in the same category is that their ancestors came from the same land mass, then whites should be in that category too! After all, Europe is separated from Asia by mountains just as India is separated from China by mountains. The only reason we consider Europe separate from Asia is that Greeks 3000 years ago thought it was a big deal to cross the Aegean Sea.

Steve Sailer writes:

All else being equal, it's advantageous in contemporary America to be officially nonwhite. Not surprisingly, you get more of what you pay for.

Back home in Latin America and South Asia, everybody wants to be considered whiter (that's why toxic skin-lightening potions are such bigsellers there). But, here, it pays off to be considered nonwhite.

Here's a quiz: Can you pick out the "white Hispanic" from all the Hispanic Hispanics?

Brian writes:

Any theory of why Asians vote the way they do has to be consistent with all the data given above.

If it's a matter of "respect," why are the Vietnamese 2:1 in favor of Republicans. Is there any chance that Republicans specifically favor Vietnamese as a group over others? Can any American, Democrat or Republican, tell the Vietnamese from others? I doubt it.

If it's a matter of religion, as some suggest above, why are the Filipinos, who are overwhelmingly Catholic, 2:1 Democrat?

If it's primarily a matter of white vs. non-white, why aren't the typically darker Indians much more skewed Democrat than the others?

The key insight, I think, is that people vote not out of "respect" but for their self-identity. They vote not so much for specific policies so much as for parties that they perceive are most like them.

Asian cultures tend to be highly paternalistic and favorably disposed to strong government and active bureacracy. Democrats are the party of big government, an identity that appeals strongly to Asians.

And what about the Vietnamese? Well, they are the ones who fled an unwanted Communist takeover, big government run amok, in a sense. They are inclined to vote for the anti-Communist party, which is the Republicans. This is similar to what happened with Hispanic support for Republicans, which was really centered on the anti-Communism of the Cubans and Spanish. With the breakup of the Soviet Union, the makeover of Communist China, and the general easing of Communism as a threat, Republicans lost their main recruiting tool among populations that naturally favor big government.

Nathan writes:

I'd like to see the Vietnamese numbers broken down by age. I suspect that 1st-generation immigrants will be in favor of the more anti-communist party, while their more apolitical bicoastal kids will lean left.

Doug writes:

Let's say you were to immigrate to a new country which is essentially divided between two hostile tribes engaged in perpetual low-intensity warfare. We'll call them Hutus and Tutsis. You have no previous allegiance or affiliation with either tribe.

Let's also say that one tribe, Tutsis, holds a hegemony on all organs of education and opinion, virtually the entire government bureaucracy and all of popular culture. Many of the most prestigious institutions in the country consist of 95%+ Tutsis. Tutsi organizations like "Harvard University" and "The New York Times" are widely respected by even ardent Hutus.

Now of course there are Hutu organizations and no shortage of powerful Hutu people. But, unlike the reverse, there are virtually no prestigious institutions where Tutsis are excluded. I.e. some prestigious and powerful institutions, like "General Electric" or "Goldman Sachs" may be 2:1 Hutu at most. But any with a 10:1 ratio or more are virtually guaranteed to be far inferior, second-rate and low status institutions or organizations. Examples of these pariahs are "Oral Roberts University", "Fox News" and "Amway."

This leads to a strange asymmetry where it is certainly possible to succeed in this society while being Hutu, it almost never hurts to be Tutsi. For example just the other day there was a Tutsi ceremony called "The Academy Awards" that almost exclusively honors Tutsis. Despite this, this ceremony is observed and recognized by Hutus around the country.

A rational, self-interested immigrant to this society would of course choose align himself as a moderate, but reliably loyal Tutsi. Unless you're a Tutsi extremist, leaning Tutsi will almost never hurt your career or standing except in all but the most malformed, backwards and irrelevant Hutu organizations.

But failure to demonstrate at least general sympathy to the Tutsi side will almost undoubtedly lock you out of many career options and generally draw attention to you in most corners of polite society.

How do we know internet nativists aren't Democratic Party operatives?

Steve Sailer writes:

Bryan has the psychological dynamics 180 degrees backwards. The Republicans problem with Asian and Latin voters is not that Republicans don't respect the newcomers enough, it's that Republicans don't insist effectively upon respect for the whites who back up the vast mass of their party. If Republicans pushed through reforms insisting upon equal treatment by race -- e.g., abolishing affirmative action, ending the special "ethnicity" that only Hispanics possess, and so forth -- then lots of Latins and Asians would decide that they are more or less white and thus are natural Republicans.

Instead, when Republicans act ashamed of being largely white, newcomers rapidly figure out that they are likely losers in the coming struggles, so they put the boot in, too.

Fazal Majid writes:

The issue Asian families probably care most about is discrimination against them in university admissions, similar to what jews faced until the late 40s, and thus look favorably to ending affirmative action.

You'd think that would make them lean Republican, but everyone is dancing around a simple fact: Republicans are the only party where white racists are welcome, and just as a few token Marco Rubbios do not compensate among Hispanics for the stridently nativist (i.e. thinly veiled anti-hispanic) rhetoric from much of the GOP, a few token Bobby Jindals do not work on Asians either.

8 writes:

During the Cold War, immigrants were often Republican because they were fleeing communism. I would guess Taiwanese-Americans still lean Republican, as the Vietnamese do. (Remember a few years ago the school in Virginia put up the current Vietnam flag instead of the old one, and it caused a ruckus?)

john marzan writes:

[Comment removed pending confirmation of email address. Email the to request restoring this comment. A valid email address is required to post comments on EconLog and EconTalk.--Econlib Ed.]

Steve Sailer writes:

The Republican Party is the party of white people, and, these days, white people look like doomed losers: wimps who don't have the self-respect to stand up for themselves. Sure, white people built this great country that everybody else wants to get in on, but they don't show any pride in themselves anymore. Whites are constantly terrified of offending anybody else, and they lack organized pressure groups to defend them.

So, of course, in the wake of Obama's re-electiln everybody else kicks white people while they are down. They are an easy target. That's the way of the world.

Curt Doolittle writes:

Because the republican party has become the party of white people.

It's in the data. It's pretty obvious.

Doug writes:

" Whites are constantly terrified of offending anybody else, and they lack organized pressure groups to defend them."

Although the Republican party is the "party of white people" and Democrats the "non-white party" a lot higher proportion of the latter vote Democrat than the former Republican. Whites may go majority Republican, but still less than 60% voted Republican. In contrast blacks went 95%+, hispanics 75%+, South Asians 80%+, East Asians 70%+, etc.

In general we can observe this pattern in many other traditional Republican/Democrat fault lines. Republicans are the party of Christians and Democrats non-Christians. Yet 80%+ of non-Christians vote Democrat and only 55% of Christians. Democrats are the party of the lower class, and Republicans the upper-class. Yet almost everyone below the poverty level votes Democrat, but the ultra-rich are evenly divided. Democrats are the party of academia and education, Republicans are the party of business. But finding a Republican professor is as rare as a unicorn, but Democratic CEOs abound.

Furthermore there are many many organizations and activities that are overwhelmingly white. Christian Lander documented tons of them at Stuff White People Like. For example NPR, both in terms of employees and listeners, is overwhelmingly white. It's also overwhelmingly leftist. The vast majority of the New York Times staff and readers are white. The only thing they had fewer of in the audience at the Academy Awards than minorities were Republicans. Ironically even Barack Obama's election campaign had trouble finding minorities, at least at the higher levels.

I guarantee you the white people in these institutions are some of the most selfish, ambitious and unscrupulous human beings you will ever meet. They're not supporting the left because they're meek, afraid and oblivious to their own interests. They're supporting the left because its good for their status and careers. Even if their was an NAAWP to counter-balance the NAACP, Frank Rich would have zero interest in joining.

George Clooney's doesn't care if a bunch of working class whites have falling wages because of a flood Central American peasants. And his lack of caring doesn't have anything to do with a lack of an organization to make him aware of these issues. He no more has affinity for blue collar white Nebraskans than a Sudanese Arab Muslim has for a black animist.

You are grossly under-estimating the extreme grip on power the leftists and progressives have in this country. Progressives were crushing conservatives on policy victories back in FDR's administration when the non-white vote was a trivial issue. Minority rights are just yet another innovation in a long long litany of political issues that are systematically biased to favor the left over the right.

There are two major tribes in America locked in long-running low-intensity warfare. They have been for over two centuries. One tribe has absorbed virtually all the rise in the non-white population, but it existed well before then. And just because all non-whites have joined this tribe doesn't mean that all whites naturally fall in the other tribe. There are many many others who interests align with the left than just minorities. If you believe otherwise you'll be deluded into thinking that all it takes for your tribe to win is to simply educate and inform these wrong-sided whites and converting them into natural allies.

Nothing could be further from the truth. They don't want to be in your tribe. They're not ignorant about your tribe, they're quite well-informed. And frankly they hate your tribe and want to see it destroyed. They're quite aware that a slight majority of people with their skin color are in the other tribe, and they don't care.

eduard b. writes:

Nitpicky I know, but as someone living outside of the US, when I saw the RSS headline "Why Are Asians So Democratic?" I immediately thought it would link to a new study about how Asians around the world are psychologically more likely to prefer community-benefiting things above individual-benefiting things. But now I see that this post is obviously about how Asian Americans lean towards the Democratic Party in the US, and thus it's not at all about how "Asians" are "democratic" in general. Maybe it's good to remember (in general) that there's a whole world out there that doesn't exclusively revolve around American politics and demographics. Just saying.

John writes:
That's how Democrats won over women.

That's really good, who writes your material. Democrat respect women? On what planet, 'cause it sure isn't Earth. If women perceive what Democrats do as respect then they are stupid and deserve to be treated the way Democrats treat them.

eduard b. writes:

Nitpicky I know, but as someone living outside of the US, when I saw the RSS headline "Why Are Asians So Democratic?" I immediately thought it would link to a new study about how Asians around the world are psychologically more likely to prefer community-benefiting things above individual-benefiting things. But now I see that this post is obviously about how Asian Americans lean towards the Democratic Party in the US, and thus it's not at all about how "Asians" are "democratic" in general. Maybe it's good to remember (in general) that there's a whole world out there that doesn't exclusively revolve around American politics and demographics. Just saying.

Doug's 'Tutsi/Hutu' explanation above gets a lot closer to the truth than anything else here. Relatedly, my perception is that a lot of D-voting Indian- and Asian-Americans are rather nonideological in their opinions, and vote more out of a desire to 'keep things working'.

It is plain to any observer of moderate intelligence that the Ds (the 'Tutsis') are the party that wants to Keep Stuff Going, whereas the Rs (the 'Hutus') are always in the role of Just Wanting To Obstruct. This offends/bothers people who aren't really interested in politics per se, but value order and continuity. A lot of Asian- and (especially) Indian-Americans fit that description, by my observation anyway.

VA Teacher writes:

[Comment removed pending confirmation of email address and for irrelevance. Email the to request restoring your comment privileges. A valid email address is required to post comments on EconLog and EconTalk.--Econlib Ed.]

Colin writes:

A piece about Democrats respecting Asians, and Indian-Americans in particular, and no mention of Joe Biden?

Jeff Jefferson writes:

I think the answer is this simple: people come here and they don't speak the language very well; they are easier to deceive.

jordan writes:

And yet, the Republican Party brought Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal up in the ranks, ran Joseph Nguyen in LA, and still depend on John Yoo for foreign policy and legal guidance,

Meanwhile, a leftist progressive Democrat president interned the Japanese, Hillary and Joe Biden have both made cracks about Indians running Seven 11's, and a Democrat group on Twitter just made a racially-tinged remark about Mitch McConnell's Chinese wife. Moreover, liberal policies like Affirmative Action that intended to "help" minorities ended up working against Asians in admissions.

There's a lot more traditional white establishment in today's Democrat Party than meets the eye. But perceptions are formed by media, and because media is Democratic, that's the cool camp. And everyone wants to be cool, including Asians.

Ed writes:


Case study: Canadian Tory Party. This is EXACTLY what the Canadian Tory Party has done in the last 10 years. There are substantial philosophical parallels between these immigrant communities and the Tory party, and the party has gone about expressing them. The Liberal party spent 30 years importing voters, and the Tories have now stolen them. Look at the substantial Chinese population in Vancouver, and the large Vietnamese, Chinese and Indian populations in the 905 belt surrounding Toronto. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has been PM Harper's point man on this file for a long time, and it's working.

Republicans, study this. It can, and should, be done.

Wilson Chambers writes:

How many immigrant Brahmin have you known or worked with?

Yes, they're affluent, highly intelligent and socially discreet, but they're also overwhelmingly -- rabidly, reflexively -- anti-colonialist. Westernism fits into their political mythology like a precursor deity that established the modern world by force but with its work done must be swept away. In general, their children are liberals or inactive conservatives for the same reasons many other American youth are: misguided teaching at home, inculcation in public.

So, sorry, but "respect" my foot. Auto-flagellation won't win over anyone.

S writes:

I know this sounds crazy, but in a country with exactly 2 political parties, and N racial groups, different groups may actually have different motivations for voting for the same party.

Explaining all of the variance with one wishy-washy, hard to describe, and almost unobservable variable, that just happens to sit well with two of your beliefs that would otherwise conflict, comes off as motivated reasoning.

will writes:

Steve Salier put it right: the government has provided massive incentives to declare oneself non-white and the media, from "serious" pundits to mindless sitcoms, are chearleaders.

bandit writes:

Jeff Jefferson writes:
I think the answer is this simple: people come here and they don't speak the language very well; they are easier to deceive.

Absolutely right - plus these are people from countries that don't really believe in individual liberty and are used to Dem machine style politics and rampant corruption.

Peter A. Taylor writes:

Would someone please explain to me what the difference is between "identity politics" and "racism"/"sexism"? Because if there isn't a clear difference, then there's a whale of a lot of projection going on in American politics, and the answer to Dr. Caplan's question becomes blindingly obvious.

Mitch H. writes:

Why are Asians increasingly voting Democratic? Because they don't want be "White", and there's serious danger of that happening to them. The natural, historical arc of immigrant minorities in the colonies and then the United States was one of assimilation and ethnic incorporation. The Germans, the Irish, the various Slavs, the Jews and Italians and Arabs (primarily Lebanese and Syrians, but still) - in the course of generations, they were absorbed and converted from alien, foreign tribes to part of the "White" dominant super-ethnicity. In the Nineties and to a lesser extent in the Oughts there were distinct signs that the Indians, Japanese, Koreans and Chinese were likewise passing through an ethnic absorption into the aggregate, default over-ethnicity of the country.

But! By the Nineties, this was no longer a culturally or socially desirable process. The South and East Asian minorities experienced this ethnic absorption as a threat, a degradation in privilege and power. Left-wing imbeciles, especially of the Millennial generation, blather endlessly about Privilege, as if this is something set in stone, indestructible and as constant as the North Star. Privilege flipped between the mid-Seventies and the mid-Nineties, and the new ethnics who were on the conveyor belt to "Whiteness" discovered that it wasn't so much an escalator into the ethnic supermajority as a coal-bin chute into powerlessness.

So, what to do? There were cultural options, which fall outside the realm of politics, and various Asians, South and East, took full advantage of those options. But when it came to politics, there were two options: the Party of Integration and the Party of Tribes.

The Republican Party has, since its inception as a more inclusive, less polarizing replacement for the Know-Nothings, been an "American" party, a party of the melting pot. For the longest time, they were the party of Blacks, because what they wanted more than anything else was to be integrated, included. That fell apart in the Twentieth Century for various reasons, but as of 1925, that was a fact of political life. Republicans were hypocrites, small-minded, included bigots as well as heroes of racial justice, but they were never a racial supremacist party.

The Democrats, on the other hand, were a schizophrenic two-headed monster of a party. In the greater South, they were the party of racial domination, of supremacy, of exclusion and control. Elsewhere in the country, the Democrats were the Tribal party, the party of group politics, of power distributed through belonging. Over the half-century between the Klanbake of 1924 and the McGovern flameout of 1972, the two potential Democratic parties fought it out for control of the national party. It wasn't a fight between integration and tribalism, but between racial nativism and tribalism, and the result was overdetermined. But what it did mean is that the resulting new Democratic Party, the whiggish party of Government, accepted an ideology of tribalist division and collective policy. Their goal was to break the Nation into collective elements, the better to pit them against each other and ideologically profit from the arbitrage in adjucating between contesting groups. If they had to *create* those groups from existing inchoate assemblages of unassociated individuals, so much the better.

This left the Republicans as the default tories, the party of Country. Not so much an ideology, as a pre-ideology, a set of traditions. What immigrant deliberately associates himself with a tory party? When the Republicans allow themselves to became, by default, a tory party, their attractiveness to the new citizens is slight, in the best of situations. Layer that on top of the dangers of becoming White in a polity bent against ethnic supermajority and determined to find Collectives to pit against each other, and the answer is obvious. Better to be another minority with a seat at the table, than an honorary Racist!

Richard Fazzone writes:

In the short run, maybe, but in the long run: "Democracy will fail gracefully. We will head toward a 'thousands nations' world of competitive government. People will not worry about their status relative to the richest individuals in the West. They will just try to find the most congenial community in which to live."

Ed writes:

More on the Canadian Tory experience.

You can attract ethnic voters, while still displaying backbone. Immigration Minister Kenney has been very clear that we appreciate immigrant communities, but we do not appreciate the extremists in their midst. We have a terrorist element in our Sikh community (going back to the Air India bombing of 1985), and he has walked out on temple events where the wrong flags are displayed, or the wrong things said. The moderates in these communities appreciate this backbone, and vote for it. Many of them came here to leave that crap behind, and these are the people he's speaking to.

Also, the minister has recently refused a mass airlift of holders of dual Syrian Canadian citizenship out of Syria, on the grounds that we don't want to import Islamic extremists. Yes, he said this out loud on national television. Nobody complained. Quite the opposite. All those moderate muslims who came to Canada to escape that crap are listening to him, and even the Canadian mainstream media realizes this, and hesitates to criticize. Imagine what Chris Mathews would have said.....

Republicans, study the Canadian Tory experience. It can, and should, be done.

Krishnan writes:

Shikha Dalmia's post (link by Vipul Naik) seems to capture it, for me. I see the "Democrats" as "condescending" while "Republicans" as driven by "a christian nation" - and yes, I do sense that "Republicans" have a very difficult time accepting people who are NOT Christians (or Jewish - and their acceptance of "Jews" is in part because of where Jesus was born/etc. Yes, this is a broad generalization and there are exceptions.

The easiest way for Democrats to retain power forever is to have them feed the anti-immigration fever that runs rampant through much of the "Republican" party - The Wall Street Journal has tried through it's Editorial Pages to remind them of the natural fit of "Republican Principles" (and on immigration) with the immigrants - but nothing seems to make a difference. I sense a visceral hate towards immigration in general - and the party of "free markets" seems not to recognize the gains to the US economy through immigration - and the ruling class seems only willing to let those anti immigrant sentiments run amok - Trying to convince legal immigrants that the "Republican" party is anti Illegal immigration is not working - because in their hearts, the ruling class of Republicans do not seem to really believe in the gifts of immigration - so it seems.

Dalmia captured well the attitude many Indians have towards Christmas, the Ten Commandments, etc etc - Indians/Hindus do seem far more tolerant of others' religious practices than the "Christians" - (again, a generalization, there are exceptions).

nofreelunch writes:

No matter color or creed, people at the core are easily fooled. Liberalism is a con game based on repeated lies told by the power elite. The people who believe those lies are politically "docile and gullible", thus easily duped. They can be open minded or closed minded. Closed minded dupes will die fooled. Open minded liberals will often become conservatives, as they begin to see the lies for what they are. It strikes me that a great many of the Asians are probably open minded, and can be reached with facts.

Mwalimu Daudi writes:

Jordan has said what I wanted to say, so let me add this: do not underestimate the deadly effect of the MSM/DNC axis on the minds of voters.

Three other things should be pointed out. The first is that many Asians have a great respect for education and often make tremendous sacrifices for the education of their children. Given the fact that public education in the US is substandard at best and more interested in leftist indoctrination that in teaching, it is not surprising that Asians tend to uncritically accept what the educrats tell them.

The second is that many Asian immigrants are fleeing persecution in their home countries and/or are looking for economic freedom. When they come to the US (or even if they have been here for some time) they hear the constant message from the MSM/DNC axis that the white gun-luvin' Bible-thumpin' Republicans are out to lynch them, and that their salvation lies with joining the Democrat gang. This stark us-vs-them view fits their own experiences quite well - they assume that what is true in their home countries is true in the US as well.

Finally, it is also not surprising that Vietnamese are the lone Asian group that does not embrace the Democrat Party in large numbers. They know what Communism did to their country, and are horrified at the willingness of Democrats to lick the boots of every Communist genocidal maniac. Unfortunately, that experience will probably fade in a generation or two. The MSM/DNC axis is relentless, and is quite good at rewriting history to suit a political agenda.

Ravi writes:

By "Respect," do you mean pandering? Because if that is the case, Democrats do a good job of respecting Asian Americans more than every other group, just like they "Respect" every other group more than everybody else.

As somebody of Indian origin, and somebody who identifies himself as a Libertarian, it is infuriating when somebody who's as logical as you, treat the whole Asian-Americans as monolithic and ignore the demographics within. If you aggregate the voting patterns as Asian-American, or even Indian, you will obviously get the answer, "they currently vote Democratic in hordes." But to realize why, you have to dig deeper.

Here's my take as an Indian-American: Indians identify themselves as being closer to the White, Urban, middle class more than any other group. That is their peer group in this country. Period. Indians neither constitute, the Church going, Gun loving(lower/lower middle class), nor the 400K+ income, entrepreneur class, which are both solidly republican. What you are left with is a family that makes 100-250K in large numbers. The apparent high income as a group because there are not too many Indians in the bottom 50% to pull the average down, but there are not too many in the 500K+ range either. The majority of households are two income families. So with that settled, look at the voting patterns of whites who are in this range and not solidly religious. Within the group, the demographics again are same as Whites, young Indians(

I think the Republican party should stop worrying so much about bringing in immigrants and should actively try to win the white middle class. The immigrants will follow.

Tom West writes:

Democrat respect women? On what planet, 'cause it sure isn't Earth. If women perceive what Democrats do as respect then they are stupid and deserve to be treated the way Democrats treat them.

Thank you for my chuckle of the day.

I'm assuming it was meant to be humorous, but just in case, calling the majority of women (who voted Democrat) stupid is probably not the ideal way to prove that you respect women more than your opponent :-).

bflat879 writes:

I don't believe that's true. It's become obvious to me, over the years, that Democrats are the most racist, prejudiced bunch that ever was. They get away with it and I'm not sure why. They see race in everything and it's probably to cover their racism.

I'll bet that more than one black person has gone to college, on an affirmative action scholarship, and has been reminded, more than once, they're there because of liberals and, if Republicans had their way, they wouldn't be there. The problem is that, after hearing that day in and day out, you not only develop a resentment for Republicans, you also resent hearing it.

THe Republicans biggest problem is their "Me too" thing. WHen a black Republican speaks, how many times do you hear someone saying, "See we have black people too!!" Republicans are much more color blind, however, than Democrats will ever be. In truth, Democrats don't want people judged by the content of their character, but by the color of their skin. They prove it by constantly doing it themselves.

Harun writes:

From these comments, I have a sneaking suspicion that many liberals and Dem voting minorities have not actually met any Republicans, and thus have serious stereotypes about them.

They probably live in blue states where Republicans and conservatives often hide their political leanings. I know I do. Thus they may assume all the tolerant Republicans, including the vast bulk of the Christians, are actually Democrats.

Then you have a media which leans one way, Tutsi, which can make that perception magnified.

Also, isn't it sort of a racist concept in itself that the Republicans are "white" and thus only like other white people? If you look at who they elect, you see Jindal, Haley, West, Rubio, Cruz, etc. And this is from the South!

Tommy writes:

You missed the point. Despite different income levels, richer Asians like the handout just as much as the poorer Hispanic. Asians believe in education just like the Hispanics. They want funding at all education levels. Unfortunately, they don't always see the damage from the teachers unions. Republicans haven't done a good job of explaining how school choice can benefit high achieving Asians.

Asians see the benefit of single pay health care. I was in Taiwan this past Christmas holiday. Every citizen gets access to low cost health care. Of course, what American's don't see is that Asians have a competitive approach to its capitalist system. They love to bargain. The American system isn't as cutthroat and it will never be, thus costs can only increase.

Democrats are patronizing and pandering. Republicans don't do this as much to its detriment. Asians want hand holding. That is how their culture works.

I'm a Chinese Republican, but I know I'm in the minority.

Dan writes:

I strongly disagree with Fazal Majid's assertion that the Republican party welcomes racism. I would like to see some proof. However, clearly it is correct that the Republican party is the party that is smeared as racist. There were many baseless assertions made that the tea party was racist, for example. If you oppose affirmative action for any reason, you are of course racist. If you disagree with or dislike Obama, you are racist. So to the extent that these accusations stick, to the extent they are believed, non-white minorities are likelier to join and support the other party.

egd writes:

Fazal Majid writes:

Republicans are the only party where white racists are welcome

Exactly right, except that Republicans don't welcome white racists. Republicans tend to over-emphasize their commitment to racial diversity in order to overcome this stereotype.

The Democrat party has a much bigger problem with racist extremists among their supporters. Anti-semitism and racism are hallmarks of some Black Muslim groups, but these are important constituencies to the DNC.

Sgt. Joe Friday writes:

Doug has it about right. What it really boils down to is that most Asian societies are conformist - "the nail that sticks up gets hammered down."

So on arriving here, Asian immigrants see that all the institutions (i.e. government, big business, the media, big religion, organized labor, the education establishment, etc. etc.) lean left, suggesting to them that conformity means adopting left-leaning attitudes.

Andrew L. writes:

Respect is far to simple a hypothesis. As one of these Asians (of the Northeast Asian variety), I can identify at least three factors.

1. Voting patterns of nearby whites. Asians tend to take their cues from the whites around them. Because Asians are concentrated in coastal states and in urban areas, we vote more Democratic, but perfectly in-line with the white populations in those areas.

2. Level of assimilation, and which culture they are assimilating into. Generally speaking, the higher the level of assimilation, the more Democratic. For example, Japanese-Americans, and third-generation Chinatown residents tend to vote uniformly Democratic, and are generally receptive to the ethnic-grievance and ethnic-spoils system promoted by the Democrats.

This process is also seen in more recent waves of immigration, most notably Korean and Chinese. The first-generation immigrants have white middle-class aspirations, and vote with them. The second-generation, which grows up within the US school system, is fully immersed in popular culture, the diversity-checkbox game, and generally makes a strategic/cultural choice to be liberal.

The exception are the Vietnamese and Taiwanese immigrants, who are generally pro-Republican, because the historical Republican foreign policy stance in Taiwan or Vietnam. But their second-generations are following the same path.

3. Religion. It is about religion, because Asians are far less likely to be Christian, and Christians are far more likely to be Republican. By far, the most Republican Asian-Americans are evangelical Christian Koreans and Chinese. Asian evangelical churches are far more conservative than their Western counterparts, because they've also grafted Confucian paternalism into the system. While Asians, even conservative Asians, largely view the culture war as a intramural pissing contest among whites, evangelical Asians will participate in things like Chick-fil-A appreciation day, simply out of solidarity with the wider evangelical culture.

With Korea at >25% Christian, and China's Christian population skyrocketing, particularly among the immigration-prone elite, Christianity is probably the best hope for a Republican-leaning Asian population.

George B writes:

Doug does a great job of explaining Asian affinity to social status. As long as the left controls the institutions of higher status, Asians will gravitate toward that side of the political divide. My Chinese girlfriend is strongly opposed to me buying a Ford Fusion. The Aston Martin inspired styling can't overcome the low end brand. She would prefer that I buy a luxury car, but a Honda Accord is acceptable if it has leather seats. Our house WILL be a two story McMansion even though a single story house would meet our needs.

Another factor is geographic. Asians tend to live in cities where Democrats dominate. I wouldn't be surprised if educated, urban whites have similar political leanings. Even if you're an apolitical moderate, you might choose to join the party that always wins the local election.

Deoxy writes:

[Comment removed for supplying false email address. Email the to request restoring this comment. A valid email address is required to post comments on EconLog and EconTalk.--Econlib Ed.]

Glen Smith writes:

Many businesses get direct or indirect welfare from big government. Any business involved in any part of the education industry, retirement industry, health industry, 'defense' industry, and a good part of the finance business. Players in these industries with integrity would likely be democratic or, at least, left leaning.

Blacque Jacques Shellacque writes:

It is plain to any observer of moderate intelligence that the Ds (the 'Tutsis') are the party that wants to Keep Stuff Going, whereas the Rs (the 'Hutus') are always in the role of Just Wanting To Obstruct.

Any observer of moderate intelligence that sees things that way is likely relying on the Democrat Party propaganda arm - aka the media - as their sole source of information.

Keleven writes:

[Comment removed for supplying false email address. Email the to request restoring your comment privileges. A valid email address is required to post comments on EconLog and EconTalk.--Econlib Ed.]

Planer writes:

Identity politics trumps idea politics.

In my paper History of Free Nations I offer another explanation for why the immigrants you discuss tend to vote Democratic.

When a person grows up in a country where government does X, that person tends to believe that government must do X, tends to believe that X could not be provided otherwise. Extending, when a person grows up in a country where government is bloated with many departments purporting to perform many functions, that person will tend to believe that government must of course provide all those functions. Extending further, immigrants from countries with large, crippling governments, will naturally be Democratic by disposition. These immigrants have never lived where experience could have shown them that the subject goods and services can be successfully supplied by private means.

The Vietnamese may differ because of self selection bias. At the end of the US war in Vietnam many people got out while many other stayed.

edge of the sandbox writes:

Quite a few Indian immigrants are Muslim, which probably has something to do with the D identification.
As far as racists allegedly flocking to GOP, former D Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is a big race-baiter, and so is a great deal of Congressional Black Caucus.
That being said, Mr. Caplan is exactly right about respect. People on the left seek out the company of exotics (and conservatives are indifferent). As a result, immigrants are assimilated in progressive political culture. If I may shamelessly link to myself, here is a post I wrote last November about immigrating to the US:

Hazel Meade writes:

I don't think it's anything about the Republican party at all.

It's Obama. Asians, Hispanics, Indians, Japanese. They all vote for Obama for the same reason blacks do.
So they can tell their kids the story that ANYONE can become president of the US, no matter where they come from or what they look like.

Do you think Chinese and Indian and Japanense Americans don't want to believe that a Japanese/Chinese/Indian American can be president, just as much as Blacks want to believe that a black man can be president?

This story of "anyone can make it" is firmly embedded in Obama's campaign rhetoric. It's MEANT to appeal to all ethnic groups saying "look, if you vote for me you're proving that any one of you can do it too".

And I think actually a huge number of people are overlooking the effect that a charismatic leader can have.

When Biden or Clinton runs in 2016, don't doubt that a huge number of Asians and Hispanics and Indians will go back to their old voting patterns. It's not at all about what is being sold. its about who is selling it.

Floccina writes:

I think that republicans are seen as a white man's party. I think that Obama's election made it worse. I think that a few black candidates are what are needed to start changing this. IMO that is why the rank and file republicans go so hard for a Herman Cain. Lately I have seen some conservatives saying that they want to draft Ben Carson. Maybe it shows respect for X group to elect a candidate from X group.

drycreekboy writes:


I think Doug's Hutu/Tutsi type distinction between groups of white voters is as much a part of what's happened as the influx of immigrants.

The nation is where it is electorally to no small degree because one part of the white electorate views the other part of the white electorate with deep contempt and fear and vice versa. It's SWPLism vs. NASCAR; nothing worse or bitter than a cousin's feud.

secret asian man writes:

Let's not think about this as a battle of ideas. It's not Marx vs. Rand. People who post here may think like that, but that is not representative of the population as a whole.

It's Coke vs. Pepsi. Let's look at how the parties market themselves (which has, as we all know, little bearing on how they act).

The Democrats are actually a traditional party, from a world perspective. They represent social elitism and economic populism. The Democrat ideal is simple: In exchange for allowing the aristocracy to rule and set social policies, the government provides bread and circuses to the poor. It is the party of hierarchy, the capital, the academy, and safety.

This is the strategy the elites have used to consolidate and justify power since Hammurabi. Obey us, and we will make sure you are fed.

The Republicans are a strangely American party. They market themselves like the Marlboro Man - independent, rural, free, and chaotic. They are the party of social equality (detesting cultural elitism) and economic inequality (detesting welfare)

To most people worldwide, this is very WEIRD.

In Asia, rural spaces without much government authority tend to be run by warlords. A party that offers a powerful government is not particularly fearful.

In Asian culture, ingratiating oneself to the elites is not considered debasing - it is the way of life. A party that provides a social, academic, and cultural hierarchy is welcomed.

In Asian culture, being the outcast and the rebel is not praiseworthy. Better to be the conformist that fits in. A party of political correctness and group pressure is much more appealing than an individualistic one.

yet another david writes:
You win people over by credibly showing that you think they're better than other people... though in politics as in Lake Wobegon, it's OK for politicians to tell most people that they're better than most people.

Translation: Some (all?) ethnic groups can be encouraged to vote against their interests by pandering.

This is not an argument, I suspect, that opponents of immigration (which I am not) are likely to find comforting. ("I see it now! We're just not pandering enough to, and thus presumably reinforcing or confirming, group identity/differences!").

William writes:

Most Asians in the US live in the bluest of blue states and cities, so are under extreme liberal and democrat media influence. Still if you look deep into the stats, Asians tend to vote less democrat than their neighbors (even whites). So the average Manhattan or San Francisco white resident may have 80%+ likelihood of voting Dems, for Asians living in those places it would be only, say 70-75%.

In other words, Asians in Texas vote like Texans, but tend to vote +5-10% more GOP in liberal dominated areas.

Andrew Blackmer writes:

I seem to remember learning in school that many Indian Americans swore off Republicans after Nixon backed Pakistan in 1971 as a part of his cozying up to China strategy. Which is why for years Pakistanis voted Republican and Indians voted Democrat (at least until 2001 and the "war on terror").

I'm not sure about other Asian groups though.

Tom West writes:

Isn't the explanation as simple as the fact that the Republican platform would be considered fringe-to-wingnut almost anywhere else in the world, and newcomers are probably looking for a party platform that makes sense to them in context of where they came from?

Given that the Democratic party is probably to the *right* of the median political leaning of most governments in the world, it seems no more surprising that recent immigrants vote Democrat than it would be surprising that I'd vote for the right-most mainstream political party if I moved to a socialist country, even though my politics lean left.

I think its easy for Americans to forget just how exceptional their country truly is.

johnleemk writes:

I'm a Christian East Asian immigrant to the US. I lean libertarian. I would probably not vote, or if I had to vote for one of the two main parties, except in exceptional cases, I would vote for the Democratic. I don't know about other Asians, but for me, Bryan is right. I don't believe the GOP respects my identity.

Note that's different from respecting my interests. The Dems stand for various policies which I consider harmful (but then again, so does the GOP). Some stereotypically Democratic policies actively discriminate against me (affirmative action for instance). In spite of this, I won't vote for a free trader who declares he hates people from my background. (Maybe, just maybe, I would vote for an openly racist open borders advocate, though the existence of such a politician is very unlikely.) Why would I vote for someone who says he hates me?

You might object and say that the Democrats have said or done some very hateful things. I'm sure they have. But on net, the Democratic brand is much more inclusive than the Republican one. Hoity toity white elitists they may be, but mainstream Democratic leaders do not as a general rule stick their feet in their mouths to the degree Republican mainstream leaders do.

In addition to Vipul's link, I offer (The piece starts: "Almost before I knew that I was an American, and almost before I knew that I was a Muslim, I knew that I was a Republican.")

I'm not Muslim, though I grew up with plenty of Muslim friends in my home country, so that no doubt influences my perspective. But these accounts reflect a broader fact that the GOP is simply uncomfortable embracing non-white Americans. I haven't forgotten the attacks on Nikki Haley's cultural origins. I haven't forgotten George Allen's "macaca." Until mainstream Republican leaders stop making insulting comments (whether out of malice or ignorance) about non-white Americans, I can't see a reason to be surprised that non-white Americans just don't vote for them. Regardless of policies, it is always going to be difficult to convince people to vote for a party whose leaders make fun of them.

William writes:

Just curious johnleemk, you can remember George Allen's (who's he?) "macaca" in 2006, but no mention of Biden's "can't work in a 711 without an Indian accent" or Hillary's "Gandhi working in gas station" cracks in 2008?

No wonder you think Dems are more inclusive with Nikki and Jindal sitting in governors chairs.

johnleemk writes:


Yeah, because the following two scenarios are totally identical. Clinton:

During an event here for Senate candidate Nancy Farmer, Mrs. Clinton introduced a quote from Gandhi by saying, “He ran a gas station down in St. Louis.”

After laughter from many in the crowd of at least 200 subsided, the former first lady continued, “No, Mahatma Gandhi was a great leader of the 20th century.” In a nod to Mrs. Farmer’s underdog status against Republican Sen. Kit Bond, Mrs. Clinton quoted the Indian independence leader as saying: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”


Haley's South Asian heritage had raised headlines earlier, after Sen. Jake Knotts had called her a "raghead." After local Republican Party officials censured him, Knotts apologized, but resisted calls to resign.

Knotts is now questioning Haley's Christian credentials. "Have you ever asked her if she believes in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior and that he died on the cross for her sins?" he asked a reporter from WIS-TV.

These two scenarios too. Biden:

In 2006, while talking to an Indian-American gentleman on CSPAN, Joe Biden was caught saying, "You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent.... I'm not joking." Needless to say, the man wasn't as flattered as Biden thought he might be.


"This fellow here, over here with the yellow shirt, Macaca, or whatever his name is," said Allen, who at times pointed directly at the camera. "He's with my opponent. He's following us around everywhere. And it's just great."

After suggesting Webb has not visited many parts of the state as well as criticizing his opponent for meeting with "a bunch of Hollywood movie moguls," the senator turned back to the camera and addressed Sidarth.

"Let's give a welcome to Macaca, here," Allen said. "Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia."

There's plenty of racism to go around in America, but anyone suggesting that mainstream Democrats and Republicans are even roughly on the same level in expressing disdain for non-whites has their head in the ground.

johnleemk writes:

William, FYI I submitted a comment comparing the remarks you bring up. It's being held by the spam filter, probably because it's pretty long since it includes direct quotations of the remarks we're discussing, but the basic gist of it: I have a hard time seeing how Hillary Clinton making a bad joke about Gandhi running a gas station (directly before segueing into praising him) is in any way comparable to South Carolina Senator Jake Knotts (R) calling Nikki Haley a raghead and questioning her religious faith as a Christian.

Steve Sailer writes:

As Lenin said, the essential question is alway "Who? Whom?"

As framed in The Narrative in recent years, straight white men are the Whom and, consequently, everybody else is trying to get in on being the Who.

Consider the President of the United States, who enjoyed a WASP preppy upbringing. But, to launch his political career, he felt it necessary to write a 150,000 word autobiography about how he was Black Enough: "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance." This obsession with his father struck his mother as odd, since all he'd ever gotten from his biological father was DNA, a name, some letters, and a basketball.

But, as it has turned out, Obama made the right choice in emphasizing his black DNA. In modern America, all else being equal, a claim to being nonwhite is good marketing.

Darkwater writes:

The most prominent Indian-American politicians are Governors Bobby Jindal (LA) & Nicki Haley (SC), both Republicans.

That should be a good start, if the Republicans can portray it correctly.

Steve Sailer writes:

The Republicans had a black U.S. Senator in the 1960s (Brooke), a black National Security Adviser in the 1980s (Powell), a black #3 in the House in the 1990s (Watts), two black Secretaries of State in the 2000s (Powell, Rice), a black RNC chairman in the 2000s (Steele), and a popular black candidate for president in the 2012 primaries (Cain).

So, Republicans should be doing awesome with blacks, right?

Shazia Khan writes:

johnleemk makes a very good point about respecting identity. People like Pamela Geller, or Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, and all the other Islamo-phobes are all welcome in Republican ranks and rarely seen among Democrats (with the exception of Joe Lieberman). It's very hard to be keep one's familial or ethnic culture and be a Republican.

I'm an anarcho-capitalist, so I don't vote and can't foresee a situation in which I would. But Republicans definitely make me roll my eyes whenever I hear one of them talk about "creeping Sharia" or how the Muslims are out to get the US from the inside.

Both of my parents voted Republican for years until 2004. So, it's not like South Asians are completely lost to the Republicans. They just need to not turn so many of them off.

ColoComment writes:

Could it not be as simple as, personal responsibility is a much harder sell than a "free lunch"?
For those commenters who assert that Republican voters are racist, hate immigrants, yadda yadda, please remember that a great number of Republican voters are just people who get up in the morning, get the kids off to school, go to work, reverse that routine at night, rinse and repeat day after day. Just like you do.
To stereotype almost 1/2 of the country's electorate based on a statement by some moronic individual in Congress (or TV pundit) is as insulting to those folks as it would be to stereotype all black people based on a quote from some equally moronic rapper or Al Sharpton.

Fazal Majid writes:
Dan writes: I strongly disagree with Fazal Majid's assertion that the Republican party welcomes racism. I would like to see some proof.
  • Exhibit 1: the Birthers.
  • Exhibit 2: Joe Arpaio and Jan Brewer, Arizona's "let's racially profile anyone brown as a potential illegal immigrant" law.
  • Exhibit 3: Nikon's Southern Strategy, and the dog-whistle politics it bred
  • Exhibit 4: GOP-controlled state legislatures' transparent efforts to deter minority voting, e.g. voter laws that require photo ID, but make exceptions for photo-less gun permits
Steve Sailer writes:

Look at how the GOP is promoting a lightweight like Marco Rubio, a Cuban who looks no less white than Desi Arnaz did back when he was the husband on "I Love Lucy."

What's changed since Desi hit it big in 1950 is that back then it paid to assert a white identity. Now, it pays, as we see in the case of Rubio, to assert a nonwhite identity.

Tom West writes:

a claim to being nonwhite is good marketing.

For crying out loud, outside of a *very* few edge cases, being white (and especially straight white male) is, to quote John Scalzi, The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is.

Anybody who seriously believes that taking *everything* into account, life is easier in North America for non-whites, is dreaming in technicolor. After all, you're as aware of the average earning levels of blacks and Hispanics vis-a-vis whites as I am...

egd writes:
Exhibit 1: the Birthers.
What is racist about the Birthers? I'll grant that it was a silly theory, but what made it more racist than, say, 9/11 truthers? Or the various lies about Bush's National Guard service?
Exhibit 2: Joe Arpaio and Jan Brewer, Arizona's "let's racially profile anyone brown as a potential illegal immigrant" law.
The Arizona law didn't discriminate on the basis of skin color, no matter how much the Democrats campaigned on it. You're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.
Exhibit 3: Nikon's Southern Strategy, and the dog-whistle politics it bred
A Democrat myth. Nixon never had a Southern Strategy, and if he did, it failed spectacularly. All the white southern racists voted against him.
Exhibit 4: GOP-controlled state legislatures' transparent efforts to deter minority voting, e.g. voter laws that require photo ID, but make exceptions for photo-less gun permits
Assuming the conclusion.
Steve Sailer writes:

Bryan asserts:

"... you have to show respect to people before they'll even consider respecting you."

That seems extremely naive, what Roissy would call "beta."

For example, what country club does Bill Gates belong to? Augusta National, where The Masters is played. Did Augusta roll out the red carpet for the richest man in the world? No. They made Gates wait in line for years before finally letting him in. Has Augusta's legendary frostiness toward applicants for membership made it less respected among corporate tycoons? Of course not -- exactly the opposite.

Benjamin Franklin pointed out that the way to get people to like you is to get them to do you favors. Republican Administrations created affirmative action for Hispanics and South Asians to win their votes. How is that working for them lately?

Steve Sailer writes:

"Would someone please explain to me what the difference is between "identity politics" and "racism"/"sexism"?"

It's identity politics if a favored group does it, and it's racism/sexism if straight white gentile men do it.

As Lenin said: Who? Whom?

Brian writes:


You say "In spite of this, I won't vote for a free trader who declares he hates people from my background.... I haven't forgotten the attacks on Nikki Haley's cultural origins. I haven't forgotten George Allen's "macaca."

Sorry, but this reasoning smacks of after-the-fact excuse-making and rationalization. A couple of isolated Republican politicians, who presumably don't even represent your state, make some ugly remarks and you won't vote for anyone in that party? Even though a clear majority of Republican voters actually voted for that self-same Nikki Haley, proving they don't hate minorities?

I think it's more likely that your identity as an Asian American prompts you to vote Democratic because other Asians do, and not because of what Republicans say or don't say.


Yes, bow down to the foreign hordes pouring into your country, that'll make you vote for freedom!

Mises Rand Rothbard Friedman and Caplan know what's good for you, white man!

Brian writes:


You say "In spite of this, I won't vote for a free trader who declares he hates people from my background.... I haven't forgotten the attacks on Nikki Haley's cultural origins. I haven't forgotten George Allen's "macaca."

Sorry, but this reasoning smacks of after-the-fact excuse-making and rationalization. A couple of isolated Republican politicians, who presumably don't even represent your state, make some ugly remarks and you won't vote for anyone in that party? Even though a clear majority of Republican voters actually voted for that self-same Nikki Haley, proving they don't hate minorities?

I think it's more likely that your identity as an Asian American prompts you to vote Democratic because other Asians do, and not because of what Republicans say or don't say.

johnleemk writes:


"A couple of isolated Republican politicians, who presumably don't even represent your state"

I'll vote for Republicans who clearly differentiate themselves from the ugly ones in their party. (BTW I live in Virginia, where George Allen was on the ballot last year. I'm not a big fan of Tim Kaine, so I might have abstained in that race, had I been able to vote, but I would never have voted for Allen. Also, before macacagate in 2006, Allen was seen as a credible contender for the 2008 nomination -- he's the former governor of a big battleground state, he is hardly "isolated".)

My basic presumption when I look at mainstream US politicians is that Democrats (more than Republicans) support policies I don't like, and Republicans (more than Democrats) don't include people from my background in their vision of America. I would vote for politicians on either side who can rebut my presumption. Since there typically aren't many mainstream US politicians capable of rebutting the applicable presumption, it doesn't bother me that I'm not eligible to vote either way.

"Even though a clear majority of Republican voters actually voted for that self-same Nikki Haley, proving they don't hate minorities?"

The ballot is a very noisy signal when it comes to voter preferences on a very specific issue. The point is, from this non-white person's perspective, the mainstream Republican politician doesn't include someone like me in his or her vision of America. The mainstream Democratic politician's vision of America does. (This is not an endorsement of the Democratic party or its vision of America.)

You can argue that it's all branding, the Dems have unfairly tarred the Republicans. But how many times does a Republican leader have to attack the Americanness of certain groups of people before it's more than an isolated incident?

"I think it's more likely that your identity as an Asian American prompts you to vote Democratic because other Asians do, and not because of what Republicans say or don't say."

I'll try not to take offense at the insinuation that I'm a mindless shill whose political preferences are essentially culturally and/or biologically determined (I certainly -- and sincerely -- appreciate your candour). But read the link I posted. There's no point in my trying to rehash what it says. The Republican party is too comfortable excluding people from its vision of America simply because of their cultural background. That does not sit well with me.

axt113 writes:

I'll tell you why we Indian-Americans vote overwhelmingly Dem.

I can tell you that my entire family votes Democrat, and the major reasons are we support the policies of the Democrats (we're fine with a more active government and we are more socially liberal than Republicans, especially the younger generation) and we don't particularly care for the racism and bigotry (As much as the GOP likes to deny it, we see it from white people all the time) as well as the christian zealotry of the GOP (we have no desire to listen to your religious beliefs).

The GOP would have to do a near 180 in its policies and attitudes to win us over, abandon the social issues, become much more tolerant and respectful of minorities, abandon any overt Christianity, and moderate heavily on economic issues before they would have any chance of gaining any traction.

nb writes:

No Bryan, speaking as a S Asian Indian, I think you have it exactly backwards. Indians vote democrat not because democrats respect them, but because they respect democrats. The reason is that the democrats have successfully branded themselves as the party of high education, intelligence and status, while equally successfully branding the Republicans as the party of dumb-ass white trash. The Indian community in the US is heavily biased towards an upper-caste Brahmin background, people whose ancestors were the traditional clerical intelligentsia, which in modernity translates into a fanatical respect for education and IQ. These are people who would rather die than be identified with the Stupid Party.

David W writes:


You're a libertarian-leaning voter, who occasionally will vote Democrat except when you don't vote? I should point out that people like you are exactly why I vote Republican. I would rather vote Libertarian, but I know they can't win. I know the Democrats can win, and every time they do, Federal spending and taxes and regulation take another jump. I consider the Republicans a lesser evil, because at least some of the time they don't increase taxes and regulations. I won't argue that they like you, or people like you, just that they don't ever seem to do anything about their dislike.

If you'd vote Libertarian, though, I might join you. Then we could both be happier. How about it?

Daniel writes:

Do Asians and Latins own our immigration policy? Is it theirs?

johnleemk writes:

David W,

As I've said, I'm not eligible to vote in the US (good thing too, thanks to the political externalities of recent immigrants and all that), and I've only been restricting my analysis to the two mainstream parties. I favour Democratic politicians who buck their party on stupid policies, and Republican politicians who buck their party on its outdated identity politics. I actually would have considered voting Romney if I'd been eligible to vote, because he comes closer to passing my Republican litmus test than Obama does my Democratic litmus test. But I would likely have abstained in voting on most other mainstream candidates, or voted 3rd party.

Don't get me wrong, I understand why you vote Republican. From a purely economic policy standpoint it's a defensible choice (I don't say necessarily the right choice, simply because the Republicans don't have a squeaky clean record on economic policy -- and also because arguably the current generation of Republicans is very different from those of the Reagan or even Clinton era). From a social policy standpoint, it is much less clear who is superior. And as for their vision of who belongs in America, what compelled multiple Republican candidates in the last election to stick their feet in their mouth about rape? Was it a Democrat who compelled multiple Republican members of the House and multiple contenders for the presidential nomination to rave, with little to no evidence, about some vast Muslim conspiracy to destroy America?

And for someone who isn't a woman or non-white, it's easy to discount these things. These things sound like rationalisations. But who would vote for someone who sounds like he or she disrespects them, who at the most visceral level, doesn't feel like they belong in his or her vision of America? This is why so many whites are uncomfortable about Barack Obama (they have legitimate concerns here that Democrats all too often pooh pooh). And this is also why so many non-whites are uncomfortable about the GOP.

richard40 writes:

I think a great wedge issue repubs could use to get asian votes is opposition to affirmative action. Some commentors here have said that in america it pays to be non-white. But that does not apply to asians. Since they are successful more than whites, they are penalized by affirmative action, rather than benefiting from it. The same thing applies to Jews.

I dont buy this respect thing as having to constantly praise the group. But where it does come in is outreach, you need to actually see them, and have people permanently assigned to talk to them. Dems are already used to this from their community organizing experience.

Repubs have steered away from the community approach because to them it meant pandering and special favors from gov, but in the case of asians, they dont need special favors, they just need to get equal treatment. So you dont need to offer goodies to asians, you just need to contact and talk to them.

Vindictive Taxpayer writes:


I think we delude ourselves when we talk about all of the great ways Republicans can entice non-whites to vote Republican. It's a rabbit hole. Recent history has shown us that, basically, nothing works.

The Republican should focus on turning out more white voters by appealing to their interests. Since their is plenty of overlap with minority interests, doing this might actually help the Republicans with minorities. It may be that this leads them to get 10% of the black vote, instead of 6%, 32% of the Hispanic vote instead of 28% and 27% of the Asian vote instead of 26%.

That's not the sort of thing you factor in to your plans though. To do so would be like getting a $10,000 raise, and using it all to buy lottery tickets.

rec1man writes:

Indians vote per religion, not race.
For upper caste Indians, conversion to an abrahamic religion is grounds for outcasting. Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley are insulting examples to most Indians, since they are apostates.

Hindus and Sikhs can vote for a white party
I personally sent money to Nick Griffin of UK-BNP for his anti-islam stance.

50% of the Republican vote bank consists of Pat Robertson types - Hinduism Today July 1995

Evangelist Opposes Freedom of Religion, Says It's Time To Convert India and Wants to Keep Hinduism Out of US

By Valli J. Rajan, Pennsylvania

It's not that unusual for Pat Robertson's daily Christian TV show, the "700 Club," to portray other religions in less than a complimentary light. Still, I was shocked to see Robertson on his March 23th show label Hinduism as "demonic" and advocate keeping Hindus out of America.

Robertson and his son are found in the midst of the scene, observing and mocking the early morning prayers of Hindus. As they witness the scene, they make incorrect reference to the river as "Siva's sperm," and claim that the people "were supposed to wash away their sins in the sperm of the God."

Robertson goes on to characterize Hinduism as having evil tendencies

BC writes:

Peter St. Onge (3rd Comment, way back at beginning of thread): "I think it's not that Hispanics/Asians/Africans are democrat, it's that non-Americans in America are democrat."

Maybe, Hispanic-Americans and Asian-Americans tend to vote Democratic due to a perception that Republicans think of them as "non-Americans in America".

Harun writes:

So, Jindal and Haley are considered outcasts because they converted, but then in the next breath you feel that Christians think Hinduism is demonic. (Maybe they saw some Hindus on the news destroying the houses of worship of other faiths and didn't like that?)

Thank God I am not religious.

Comments for this entry have been closed
Return to top