Model Majority

Q: “Why are Asian-Americans such loyal Democrats?”

A: “They’re not insane.”

Seriously, people are still wondering why Asian-American voters want nothing to do with the modern Republican Party? The question should not be why Asian-American voters are so committed to the Democrats; the question should be why any voter, of any race, color or creed, would want to be aligned with an irrational alternative.

I have always been mystified by the argument that anti-affirmative action sentiment is a surefire way to get Asian-Americans to vote wingnut:

There is one issue, race or ethnicity-based affirmative action, on which Asian-American loyalty to the liberal agenda is more conflicted.

More than 60 Asian-American groups have filed complaints with the Department of Justice and the Department of Education charging that preferences for African-Americans and Hispanics at Harvard and other selective colleges have reduced the number of Asian- Americans accepted. The complaints are based on the fact that Asian-Americans as a group have substantially higher standardized test scores and grades than competing demographic groups, including whites.

The complaints prompted a separate coalition of 135 Asian-American civil rights groups to declare its firm support of affirmative action…

Asian-American resistance to race-based affirmative action surfaced in California last year when leaders of the Democratic-controlled State Legislature considered putting a referendum before the voters to restore race-conscious admission policies at public colleges and universities. Asian-American voters flooded legislators with phone calls and emails opposing race-based preferences, prompting three Asian-American Democratic state senators to declare their opposition. Legislative leaders dropped their plans for a statewide referendum.

Affirmative action aside, support for the liberal agenda is solid among the broad population of Asian-Americans.

Do the folks who believe that affirmative action can turn Asian-Americans into Republican voters really believe that Asian-Americans are narrow-minded, single-issue voters? Did it ever dawn on these folks that Asian-Americans who oppose affirmative action can dissent with the Democratic Party on that one issue while agreeing with the Democrats on others? A comparison can be made to hyper-religious African-Americans who oppose marriage equality and abortion rights, but who agree with Democrats on the lion’s share of the issues and vote accordingly.

Of course, it doesn’t seem to dawn on the affirmative-action-can-get-Asians-to-vote-Republican crowd that there are quite a few Asian-Americans who support affirmative action on the grounds that it is needed to both guarantee diversity and remedy past social discrimination. Back in 1998, as Boston was in the midst of a legal controversy over the constitutionality of diversity policies in the city’s public high schools, I remember having a discussion with a conservative teacher who was stunned that Asian-American students were expressing support for the diversity policies; he was left speechless when I explained to him that Asian-Americans supported such policies for the exact same reasons white liberals did.

Asian-Americans may not be progressive on every single issue, but they do recognize the illogic, ineptitude, immorality and intolerance of the modern Republican Party. What’s taking the rest of the country so long?

UPDATE: CBS News, The New York Times and Think Progress on tonight’s Democratic debate on CBS. Plus, more updates on the terror attacks in Paris.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.