Asian and Pacific Islander American super PAC pledges to invest millions in Texas Democratic Party
AUSTIN – Convinced that this can have a lasting impact on the political future of Texas, the Victory Fund for Asian Americans and the Pacific Islands prepares to contribute “millions of dollars” to Democratic Party efforts in Texas over the next decade, from now on.
Varun Nikore, chairman of the AAPI Victory Fund, believes Democrats in Texas could follow Georgia’s lead in toppling a historically deep Red state. And, Nikore said, the fund will invest in the Texas Democratic Party throughout the decade to help make it happen.
It would take a specific set of conditions for the state to rock, he admitted. But, with the growing number of Asian Americans in Texas, combined with the record turnout in 2020 and the potential to backlash against the current draconian political climate under Republicans, he is optimistic about the blue tint of the country. Lone Star State.
“When you look at the fastest growing regions of the country, it’s in the solar belt, with Texas being the big one. dose, ”Or the Indian pancake, as translated by Nikore. The “grand enchilada” also works, he said. “Beyond immigration, what I see on the ground here now, which is part of why I’m here, is talking to the activists and organizers who are doing the work on the ground.”
While activists and political scientists know it’s much more complicated than making demographics a destiny, Nikore compared what he sees on the ground in Texas to what Stacey Abrams did in Georgia before the election. 2020.
“And it’s happening here now,” Nikore said.
AAPI Victory Fund, a progressive super PAC, has invested $ 1 million in mobilizing Asian American and Pacific Island voters in the state. Now they have returned with a pledge spanning multiple election cycles.
Nikore is well aware of the perennial “Is it time for the Texas Democrats?” Conversation, especially after the state’s Republicans’ performance in the 2020 election, although he believes it is only a “matter of time” before they see a breakthrough. Nikore’s optimism revolves around the continued growth of the Asian American population in Texas and America, as well as an impressive turnout in 2020.
The Asian American population nearly doubled in America from 2000 (11.9 million) to 2019 (23.2 million) and is expected to reach 60 million by 2060, according to Pew Research. Texas in particular is home to the country’s third-largest Asian American population, with 1.6 million people.
As reported in October, ahead of the 2020 election, the second-largest Indian community in the United States resides in Texas. And the politicians took note.
These numbers come from the AAPI community which saw a 47% increase in voter turnout from 2016 to 2020, according to TargetSmart, a Democratic election data provider.
Kenneth Bryant, associate professor at UT Tyler and co-director of the UT Tyler / Dallas Morning News poll, was quick to say that the idea that demography is fate has been uprooted in Texas. In short, “it’s complicated,” he says.
“It’s not as simple as just saying, ‘Oh, we’re going to increase our number of Asian Americans in Texas, we’re going to increase our number of Latin American voters eligible to vote in Texas and that means that all of a sudden, Democrats will start winning in landslides and other races across the state, ”said Bryant. “It’s just more complicated than that.
There is still a community of voters who will not be receptive to some of the more progressive positions some Democratic candidates will take in 2022 and 2024, Bryant said.
He also pointed out that the Asian American voter bloc just decades ago was biased in favor of the Republican Party. They even made strides among Indian American voters from 2016 to 2020, according to AAPI Data, possibly thanks in part to Trump’s friendly relations with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
But AAPI poll data also revealed that American Indians tend to support Democratic candidates and issues more than Asian Americans as a whole, and that was before Kamala Harris, whose mother was born in India, not sworn in as vice president.
For AAPI voters, as seen across all demographic groups, two key factors are age and education, Bryant said, adding that younger and more educated Asian Americans are looking to the Democratic Party.
One poll data Bryant found interesting from 2018 to 2020 was that 70% of AAPI voters self-identified as moderate, more than non-Hispanic, black, and Latino or Hispanic white voters.
This is why the battlefield races in the suburbs of Houston and Dallas have been so closely watched. These battlegrounds are the races that Bryant sees AAPI voters playing the biggest role in the short term rather than as a state-level bloc.
Nikore and Bryant both noted that the messages need to be unique to prevent AAPI voters from feeling “different,” which the community has felt throughout the Trump administration, alongside the fear with which the community has lived through the pandemic as acts of violence against Asian Americans continue.
“Part of the larger conversation about the Asian American voter bloc is that when a minority group is altered and feels altered, regardless of the internal diversity of that particular community, it creates an identity. coalition, ”said Bryant.
Bryant said after domestic politicians called COVID-19 the “Wuhan flu,” a phrase coined and frequently used by Trump, and the targeted hatred that followed, created a “linked fate.” This, he says, allows a community that otherwise consists of more than 20 different native languages and nations to feel part of a larger community. And that tends to be reflected in the polls, he said.
“You see a coalition of Vietnamese, Indian, Chinese and Japanese Americans forming who might not have seen each other two decades ago but are certainly seeing it more and more now,” said Bryant. “And there’s no reason to believe the trajectory is going to change much as we move into the 2020s.”
Even so, Bryant and Nikore recognize the unique messages and the on-the-ground effort it will take to achieve the unique identity of voters within the AAPI community.
“You wouldn’t sell a Toyota without knowing who you are selling it to,” Nikore said. “You have to know who your voter is. Are they third generation Korean Americans, are they first generation Chinese Americans? Do you know their preferred language? “
Nikore also said that just like the change in the way people consume media, Asian Americans largely communicate through apps. This forces organizers to adapt in the same way as content producers: By engaging consumers, or in this case voters, where they are and on their terms.
Regarding maintaining voter interest, Nikore said of the dramatic increase in the number of AAPI voters in 2020, 50% came from people who had never voted for, which is why they predict to continue to invest in Texas.
“It takes two to three election cycles to create this habit of voting,” Nikore said. “And that’s why we need this ongoing investment, because you’re not going to be creating it on a one-time basis. We need to continue to invest and ensure that we are constantly communicating with these new voters and engaging them in civic life in America. “