Should Asian Americans Vote a Straight Democratic Ticket?


Which presidential candidate and party represents the interests of Asian Americans? I look at Donald Trump and see the white elitist frat boy playing dirty tricks and looking down his nose at everyone that he does not think is at his societal level. Hillary Clinton is not a paragon of virtue, but I think that she only lies out of what she thinks is necessity, and not as an everyday tool. The untruths spilling out of Mr. Trump's mouth on a constant basis beggar the mind, and put him in the same league as his most admired world leader, Mr. Putin. Most Asian-Americans of my acquaintance are practical and understand the need for lying sometimes, but they do not understand lying on a massive scale, especially when the lies are so blatant and transparent. Mr. Trump's acknowledged confession recently that the president was indeed born in the US after lying about it for many years was immediately followed by another lie that Hillary Clinton started the birther rumors against Mr. Obama. Other huge lies that come to mind were that she and Mr. Obama were the founders of ISIS, that thousands of American Muslims were celebrating in New Jersey on 9/11, that America is the world’s most highly taxed country, and that crime across the country is at record levels. The US holds sway in the world mainly by its moral authority – that the US can and will acknowledge its mistakes. For example, the bombing of the hospital run by Doctors without Borders in Afghanistan in October 2015 and the recent mistaken bombing of Syrian soldiers in which 64 perished in mid-September. It is doubtful that Mr. Trump and his administration would be so forthcoming after such events. A Trump presidency would promote loss of US moral leadership in a world where he and Mr. Putin would compete for the title of the world's biggest liars.

Do many Asian Americans think that they are white if they live in the same neighborhoods and have white social acquaintances? Do they take on the thinking of those attracted to Mr. Trump? Do they turn their backs and attempt to slam the door on those from their Asian countries that have not yet made it here? I have heard Asian Americans at parties and social occasions denigrating immigrants who may be a threat to their jobs, those here on legal visas, or the undocumented immigrants as a whole. They fail to remember that they or their parents or grandparents or even great-grandparents had to travel same road as the people that they so blithely cast away as undesirable. Voting for Mr. Trump would make them a party to his restrictionist views on immigration in America. Not only would it be highly impractical and ruinously expensive to build a 50 foot wall across the southwestern border or to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants (the number is now open to question as Mr. Trump struggles between satisfying his radical right and appealing to more centrist Republicans), but a betrayal of their roots.

Even the sight of blacks demonstrating in the streets over the "Black lives matter" movement ought not to turn Asian-Americans towards Mr. Trump as the struggle for civil rights for one group helps every other minority group in this country. Although many Asian Americans did not live through the 1960s in this country, those years of civil demonstrations, arrests, chaos, and unrest led to the recognition that this was a country for all people of all races. The Watts riots of 1965 and in New York in 1968, the civil rights marches of the 1960s, and the Vietnam War protests of the 1960s-1970s turned this country into a more tolerant place than the 1950s America of discrimination not only against blacks, but also Hispanics and Asians. I can remember our family getting dirty looks going into a diner and my father having the door slammed in his face when he inquired about buying a house in a lower class white neighborhood in Gardena, California. The latter situation resonates upon reading that Trump Management had a policy in some properties of not renting to blacks.

The appeal of Mr. Trump to those who take his law and order theme to heart is misleading as the question is "What is there to fix?" The modern media has a tendency to overemphasize events and assign tremendous importance to things which may be important but just not that indicative of the whole picture. It has a field circus many times with events in isolated parts of the country and calls them an epidemic. Yet the crime rate in America is far down from the heydays of crime from the 1970s to today. In the crime stat reports of the FBI from 1960 – 2014, the level of total crimes encompassing murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, vehicle theft, violent and property crimes per 100,000 people was at 2971.8 in 2014, the lowest level since 1966.

Watching the first episode of ABC’s “Designated Survivor” this week with the lightly regarded HUD Secretary being handed the nuclear football after a Capitol building bombing killed the president and all other members of the cabinet during the State of the Union address brought into focus the danger of such power being given to Mr. Trump. He has not stated any boundaries on his use of nuclear arms, has said that his willingness to defend NATO members will depend upon the amount of their contributions to NATO, expressed support for torturing suspected terrorists and killing their families, and for withdrawing U. S. troops from “forward deployed” positions around the world saying that we could always deploy from American soil. The wonder of his last position is how such a policy could have better protected Ambassador Stevenson and the embassy in Benghazi, Libya, an incident for which the Republicans have aggressively attacked Mrs. Clinton.

So why take it out on the Republican Party at large, some of whom have divorced themselves from Mr. Trump and his campaign? Especially why do it as Asian Americans if you have nothing against the Republicans or even somewhat favor your local Republican senator or congressman or whoever is running on that side of the ticket? Balance of gridlock is why. Republicans and Democrats have demonstrated over the past decade inability to govern together, and there is no sign that things will change regardless of who is the next president unless one party has the advantage in both the presidency and the Congress. Otherwise there will not be a balance of power, but a balance of gridlock. So the answer unfortunately is to vote a straight Democratic ticket if you like and believe in one candidate over the other and can tolerate the platform of the party. Some Asian Americans have been frustrated by the perceived failings of the presidential candidates and the constant warring of both major parties. They plan to either stay home or vote for the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, Green party candidate Jill Stein, or write in their own candidate. The difficulty here is that any of these actions could conceivably throw the presidential election to Mr. Trump. Asian Americans are counted upon by the Democratic Party to be part of the bulwark against Trump voters. Historically in the past two general elections, Asian Americans have turned out heavily for the Democrats and Mr. Obama, 64% in 2008 and 73% in 2012. Poll numbers vary from week to week with Mrs. Clinton's lead over Mr. Trump varying from 2% -5% nationwide, but they tied in a recent CBS News/New York Times poll when the Libertarian and Green party candidates were included. The minor party candidates’ presence also reduced Mrs. Clinton’s leads in many key battleground states. Readers may remember that George W. Bush won a close election over Al Gore in 2000, largely due (in the minds of most political watchers) to the Democratic and Independent votes siphoned off by the third-party candidate, Ralph Nader. Given the overwhelming flaws of the Republican presidential candidate and the need for this nation to agree on legislation that will benefit the majority of people in this country instead of the wealthy few, Asian-Americans should consider stumping for and voting for Mrs. Clinton and the Democratic ticket for Congress.

This article © 2016 Alan Lee, Esq. Reprinted with permission.

About The Author

Alan Lee, Esq. Alan Lee, Esq. the author is an exclusive practitioner of immigration law based in New York City with an AV preeminent rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory for 20+ years, registered in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, on the New York Super Lawyers list (2011-12, 2013-14, 2014-2015), and recognized as a New York Area Top Rated Lawyer. He has written extensively on immigration over the past years for Interpreter Releases, Immigration Daily, and the ethnic newspapers, World Journal, Sing Tao, Epoch Times, Pakistan Calling, Muhasba and OCS; testified as an expert on immigration in civil court proceedings; and is a regular contributor to Martindale-Hubbell's Ask-a-Lawyer program. His article, "The Bush Temporary Worker Proposal and Comparative Pending Legislation: an Analysis" was Interpreter Releases' cover display article at the American Immigration Lawyers Association annual conference in 2004; his 2004 case in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Firstland International v. INS, successfully challenged Legacy INS' policy of over 40 years of revoking approved immigrant visa petitions under a nebulous standard of proof, although its central holding that the government had to notify approved immigrant petition holders of the revocation prior to the their departure to the U. S. for the petition to be able to be revoked was short-lived as it was specifically targeted in the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 (which in response changed the language of the revocation statute itself). Yet Firstland lives on as precedent that the government must comply with nondiscretionary duties established in law, and such failure is reviewable in federal courts. His 2015 case, Matter of Leacheng International, Inc., with the Administrative Appeals Office of USCIS (AAO) set nation-wide standards on the definition of "doing business" for multinational executives and managers to gain immigration benefits.

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