In Wednesday’s San Francisco Chronicle, reporter Carla Marinucci covers presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s effort to lock up the Asian-American vote in California and across the nation in her article, “Clinton pushes hard to lock up Asian support.”
Since the Californian 2008 presidential primary election has been moved up from June to February 5, 2008, California is now in a HUGE role in deciding who will win the nominations for each candidate for all the major parties. That is why California has been seeing a plethora of presidential candidates visit the San Francisco Bay Area so early and will continue to do so before February.
“Clinton’s drive among Asian Americans is noteworthy not only for its early timing — a full eight months before any voters will even begin to go to the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire — but for its scope, which far outpaces her Democratic rivals. Not only has the Clinton camp signed up key Asian American leaders in seven targeted regions — Northern and Southern California, New York, Florida, Hawaii, Texas and the mid-Atlantic states — but her campaign has also tapped more than a dozen “ethnic-specific” co-chairs; California Assemblywoman Fiona Ma of San Francisco, for example, co-chairs Chinese Americans for Hillary. Other Clinton support groups include those specifically for Korean Americans, South Asians, Filipino Americans and Vietnamese Americans.”
This is pretty remarkable! Most candidates would lump Asian-Americans into one big melting pot for scale, but given the accelerated 2008 election season, increased voter segmentation by Clinton shows the aggressiveness of her campaign.
“While Latinos are the state’s fastest-growing ethnic voting group, Asian American voters have become an increasingly attractive target for political candidates in the nation’s most-populous state for two reasons: a jump in overall Asian population from 3.8 million to 4.7 million between 2000 and 2005, and their higher rate of citizenship — 71 percent, according to a report by the Asian American Studies Center at UCLA. While only about 5 percent of state voters are Asian, their numbers are increasing — as is their affluence and education, says Baldassare, who says that more than one-third of all Asians in California are in the Bay Area.”
At the end of the article, Marinucci notes a remarkable gaff that the Clinton campaign staff made and later corrected:
“….during a recent Clinton visit to San Francisco where — during a town hall event — reporters from the Sing Tao Daily, World Journal and China Press, all Chinese-language publications, arrived late and were told by campaign volunteers that they could not enter because the event was open to local reporters but not “foreign press.’ That drew criticism in Asian media, and Clinton — a month later — returned to San Francisco and made amends at a special roundtable with 40 editors and reporters from influential Asian American media outlets. The candidate personally apologized to the journalists for the gaffe and took their questions on a wide range of issues, from immigration to North Korea and foreign policy.”
If you don’t know, the Sing Tao Daily, World Journal and China Press are U.S.-based publications targeting the Chinese-reading public in America, and I hope you would understand why there might be controversy (of course, those newspapers should have been on time!). Note: amazingly, there are SIX Chinese language newspapers in the Bay Area, according to this 2004 Chronicle article.
As I had blogged earlier this year, “Asian Political Power, but wait – apathetic Asian-Americans???” – get involved and don’t forget to vote in 2008. Asian-America – you can rock the vote in California and for the nation!