In a recent episode of "Patriot Act," Hasan Minhaj discussed how the Asian American vote has the power to make a significant impact on U.S. elections. While this episode will definitely help to bring more attention to Asian American voters, this is not a new topic at all. News outlets have been discussing the importance of the Asian American vote from the very beginning of the campaign trail for 2020.
The Asian American community as a whole has the power to impact election results, especially in swing states. In 2016, Asian Americans were the fastest-growing minority group in the United States population. The Asian American vote matters now more than ever, and yet politicians historically have failed to connect to the Asian American community. Asian Americans, therefore, have a low voter turnout. Many Asian Americans may not feel any connection to their politicians at all because these politicians do not attempt to connect or communicate with them.
Even in the upcoming election, many Asian Americans still feel underrepresented and neglected, despite there having been three (now two) Asian American candidates. Andrew Yang has gained a large amount of attention from the Asian American community and has fully acknowledged and embraced his Asian American identity on the campaign trail. On the other hand, Kamala Harris, who has now dropped out of the race, did not make her Indian heritage a focus of her political identity or campaign pitch, and instead focused more on her black identity. While it is completely her own choice how she wishes to identify, her lack of acknowledgment of her being part of the Asian American community has been confusing and disappointing. Some may have been disappointed that they could not truly find Indian representation in Harris because Harris mainly chooses to identify with her Jamaican American heritage.
Politicians should spend some more time trying to connect with the Asian American community. Their efforts can make a huge difference in these elections. However, the voter turnout is also important. Asian Americans still should show up regardless of whether or not they are well-versed in politics, as who they vote for and possibly elect may have the power to effect major change in the country. Both aspects are important but still have their limits. Outreach should not turn into pandering, and a lack of voter turnout may only be a consequence of a lack of outreach on the part of politicians. Politicians should work harder to keep the Asian American community in mind — it could make or break their chances in a crowded 2020 field.