Politics and Public Opinion

Why aren’t Asians Republicans?

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Last week, I pointed out that there is no such thing as a natural social-conservative skew among Latino Americans. But that leaves open a rejoinder, expressed by several readers: The GOP doesn’t need to get all of the Latino vote, just its fair share. That’s true, and I should have made my point clearer. In the wake of the election, some social conservatives have tried a new version of the old Silent Majority argument, contending that Republicans can continue to make their candidates pass litmus tests on abortion and gay marriage and still win national elections if only it taps the natural social conservatism of Latinos. Exposing that illusion was the point of the numbers I presented.

This time I will explicitly offer a broader argument and then give the numbers. My thesis is that the GOP is in trouble across the electoral board because it has become identified in the public mind with social conservatism. Large numbers of Independents and Democrats who are naturally attracted to arguments of fiscal discipline, less government interference in daily life, greater personal responsibility, and free enterprise refuse to vote for Republicans because they are so put off by the positions and rhetoric of social conservatives, whom they take to represent the spirit of the “real” GOP.

I use Asian-Americans as an example of how powerfully this antipathy can alienate a naturally conservative voting bloc. Let it be clear: The causal link with social conservatism is asserted here, not proved. But the GOP had better take the hypothesis seriously.

Let’s start with data from the Current Population Survey from 2003 on some key socioeconomic indicators for adults ages 30–49. (The CPS first started identifying Asians separately from other ethnic groups in 2003).

Source: Current Population Survey, 2003–2010, for persons ages 30–49. “Asian” includes South Asian and Filipino. “Conservative-skewed professions” are managers, engineers, physicians, dentists, veterinarians, and non-academic hard scientists. “Liberal-skewed professions” are college faculty, attorneys, non-academic social scientists, writers, and journalists. Categorizations are based on conservative-minus-liberal proportions in the General Social Survey.

Politically, a college education is a wash—in the General Social Survey, almost identical proportions of college graduates identify themselves as liberals and conservatives. But Asians are also richer, more often in conservative-skewed professions, equally married, and less often divorced than non-Latino whites—all indicators that normally identify disproportionately conservative voters.

Now let’s turn to the political indicators provided by the General Social Survey.

Source: General Social Survey, 2000–2010. “Asian” includes South Asian and Filipino.

Asians are only half as likely to identify themselves as “conservative” or “very conservative” as whites, and less than half as likely to identify themselves as Republicans. Asians are not only a lot more liberal than whites; a higher percentage of Asians identify themselves as “liberal” or “extremely liberal” (22%) than do blacks (19%) or Latinos (17%). And depending on which poll you believe, somewhere in the vicinity of 70% of Asians voted for Barack Obama in the last presidential election.

Something’s wrong with this picture. It’s not just that the income, occupations, and marital status of Asians should push them toward the right. Everyday observation of Asians around the world reveal them to be conspicuously entrepreneurial, industrious, family-oriented, and self-reliant. If you’re looking for a natural Republican constituency, Asians should define “natural.”

Can the Republicans write them off as a special case in the same way that Jews have been a special case? That’s hard to do, because their stories are so different. Many of the Jews who immigrated to America had been socialists, trade-union activists, or otherwise committed to the Left in their native lands, and those family traditions have sometimes perpetuated themselves. The great majority of non-political Jewish immigrants came from places where they had been systematically persecuted for being Jews, and it is easy to see how Jews might have an enduring propensity to side with the underdog.

In contrast, virtually no Asian Americans came here because they were fleeing persecution for being Asian. They sometimes fled political persecution by the Communists, especially from Vietnam, but that experience tends to produce conservative immigrants, not liberal ones. Usually, Asians came to the United States for the traditional reason: America was the land of opportunity where they could rise in the world. Asian immigrants overwhelmingly succeeded, another experience that tends to produce conservative immigrants. Beyond that, Asian minorities everywhere in the world, including America, tend to be underrepresented in politics—they’re more interested in getting ahead commercially or in non-political professions than in running for office or organizing advocacy groups. Lack of interest in politics ordinarily translates into a “just don’t bother us” attitude that trends conservative.

Further, there are reasons for Asian Americans not to like Democrats. Asians who became successful because everyone in the family worked two or three jobs (a common strategy behind Asian success) are likely to be offended by the liberal “You didn’t build that” mentality. Unlike every other minority group, Asians owe nothing to the Democrats for affirmative action. On the contrary, Asians are penalized by affirmative action, especially in the universities, where discrimination against Asian applicants (relative to their superb academic qualifications) has been documented in the technical literature.

And yet something has happened to define conservatism in the minds of Asians as deeply unattractive, despite all the reasons that should naturally lead them to vote for a party that is identified with liberty, opportunity to get ahead, and economic growth. I propose that the explanation is simple. Those are not the themes that define the Republican Party in the public mind. Republicans are seen by Asians—as they are by Latinos, blacks, and some large proportion of whites—as the party of Bible-thumping, anti-gay, anti-abortion creationists. Factually, that’s ludicrously inaccurate. In the public mind, except among Republicans, that image is taken for reality.

437 thoughts on “Why aren’t Asians Republicans?

  1. “Republicans are seen by Asians—as they are by Latinos, blacks, and some large proportion of whites—as the party of Bible-thumping, anti-gay, anti-abortion creationists. Factually, that’s ludicrously inaccurate.”

    Amazing how a guy whose made a career out of objectivizing every ethnic and racial group extant NOW complains that Republicans are the victims of his same generalizations!!

    This site is just amazing in the amount of vapid, unthinking crap it can spew out! A true specimen of the pathologies of the people who pay to put it up.

    In fact, the GOP most certainly IS the “the party of Bible-thumping, anti-gay, anti-abortion creationists” and there’s no getting away from that fact.

    Mr. Murray finds himself wondering aloud to anyone who will listen. SURELY THESE PEOPLE HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO INTEREST IN SOCIAL JUSTICE!

    • I question the entire premise of this article, as well as Mr. Planck’s reply.

      First Asians are an extremely diverse group..everyone from Chinese, Vietnamese and Koreans to Filipinos, Pakistanis and Indians ( a fairly diverse group in themselves). The figures cited make no mention of which Asians we’re talking about. I would bet my dollar to your dime that Koreans vote substantially different than Pakistanis, for example.

      Second, what percentage of the Asian electorate actually voted? This was a very low turnout election.

      Hispanics, for example are 9.07 of the current electorate ( 23.7 million voters). Of those, only 12.5% of that 23.7 million voted and they went for Barack Obama by 67.5% or – wait for it – a whopping 8.43% of the 12.5% whom voted ..or in other words just under two million votes, less than 12% of the entire Hispanic votes available!

      In other words, the great Hispanic tidal wave was more of a ripple when it came to 2012.

      ( the analysis is mine but most of the base figures come from Pew: http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1024/exit-poll-analysis-hispanics)

      I didn’t bother to research Asians, but I bet the percentages are fairly similar, especially when you break it down by group.

      Could it be, just maybe that rather than Revenge against the Evil White Man or social conservatives, this was an election where Mitt Romney stupidly allowed himself to be demonized and painted as an uncaring plutocrat by the Obama Administration (with a lot of help from a partisan media), and refused to challenge the president openly and forcefully on his many failures and discrepancies?

      Could it be that Mitt Romney just wasn’t that articulate at explaining his positions and conservatism in general?

      Could it be, just maybe that a lot of people didn’t particularly care for Obama, but stayed home because they didn’t care for Mitt Romney? After all, over three million self-identified Republicans did.

      Nah, couldn’t be. Pundits gotta eat, Jackasses gotta bray…and the GOP establishment that in it’s heart of hearts want to be Democrat-lite and be well accepted on the DC cocktail circuit and the Sunday shows needs to point fingers.

      • ” Could it be, just maybe that a lot of people didn’t particularly care for Obama, but stayed home because they didn’t care for Mitt Romney? After all, over three million self-identified Republicans did.”

        are you talking about the turnout for Obama? Did you listen to FOX news go on for weeks talking about the “liberal” media and “liberal” pollsters who were incorrectly forecasting a higher turnout for minorities than the GOP believed?

      • You’re as blind as Murray is:

        “Could it be, just maybe that rather than Revenge against the Evil White Man or social conservatives, this was an election where Mitt Romney stupidly allowed himself to be demonized and painted as an uncaring plutocrat?”

        Romney didn’t allow himself anything- he PORTRAYED HIMSELF, NUMEROUS TIMES, as an “uncaring plutocrat.”

        This jerk, whose fat wife told the press “that’s all you’re going to get” in the way of tax returns, and deliberately grossed up his chartible contributions to BOOST his net tax rate to 14%, told the world 47% of the American people hated his guts, and owned “two Cadillacs, actually” isn’t exactly the kind of message you send in the aftermath of a full fledged economic meltdown- after which, he prescribed the same tax policy from the same discredited meathead (Glenn Hubbard) as if that would help.

        It’s alway’s someone else’s fault with you people, isn’t it? No matter how mamy times you parrot the narratives word for word, it’s always the OTHER guy whose brainwashed or “drinking the Kool Aid.”

        by the Obama Administration (with a lot of help from a partisan media), and refused to challenge the president openly and forcefully on his many failures and discrepancies?

  2. I believe you are making a number of erroneous presumptions.

    Firstly, Asian living in the US have experienced discrimination broadly, and on the basis of both race and nationality.

    Frankly they would see their former persecutors as the previous nominal majority population, white, Christian, males and conservatives.

    Secondly it would be hard for them to not notice that the social views of conservatives has conservatives taking what are characterized as;
    1) anti-progressive views on issues like equal pay for women,
    2) against affirmative action for minorities as a means of righting past social ills,
    3) the lack of support for minority candidates in local and national elections
    4) support for religious expression of Christian symbols and holidays to the exclusion of other religions

    All four of these trends reinforce the concerns Asians have towards the majority population’s use of discriminatory practices in general.

    Secondly, the idea that higher income better educated people are more likely to support the GOP is erroneous.

    States with the highest average levels of education voted for Obama in the recent election.

    And since many economically less well off people are minorities, including blacks, Latinos, etc., that skews the average educational achievement level of Democrats, which should not be interpreted as “people with higher levels of educational achievement tend to support Republicans”.

    Add to this the anti-science bias of conservatives on issues like evolution, climate change, resource conservation in favor of the conservatives religiously based views on these topics, and it is likely this increases the cultural distance between Asians who are not typically at odds with science on the basis of their religious views.

    Beyond this the idea that Democrats do not value self reliance and independence from authorities is also in error. Democrats do have these values, however, they do not believe that forms of government aid for people in need are an impediment to their independence, as it is viewed the conservative presumption.

    There are other factors as well, conservatives in government and in the court system tend to favor resolutions to issues between large businesses and consumers in favor of the large businesses, and conservatives tend to support no restrictions on the use of money in electoral campaigns, which again, favors the interests of large businesses and the wealthy, a the expense of the less wealthy, which is another form of discrimination against ordinary people.

    • “2) against affirmative action for minorities as a means of righting past social ills”

      Um, Asians would be the prime beneficiaries of the GOP’s goal to end state-sponsored discrimination.

        • ” Asians would be the prime beneficiaries of the GOP’s goal to end state-sponsored discrimination.”

          I guess the Asians are too ignorant genetically to see that?

        • Right wing ideas of what constitutes a meritocracy:

          From the Economist, around 2008
          quote:

          I remember back in the late ’90s when Ira Katznelson, an eminent political scientist at Columbia, came to deliver a guest lecture to an economic philosophy class I was taking. It was a great lecture, made more so by the fact that the class was only about ten or twelve students and we got got ask all kinds of questions and got a lot of great, provocative answers. Anyhow, Prof. Katznelson described a lunch he had with Irving Kristol back either during the first Bush administration. The talk turned to William Kristol, then Dan Quayle’s chief of staff, and how he got his start in politics. Irving recalled how he talked to his friend Harvey Mansfield at Harvard, who secured William a place there as both an undergrad and graduate student; how he talked to Pat Moynihan, then Nixon’s domestic policy adviser, and got William an internship at The White House; how he talked to friends at the RNC and secured a job for William after he got his Harvard Ph.D.; and how he arranged with still more friends for William to teach at UPenn and the Kennedy School of Government. With that, Prof. Katznelson recalled, he then asked Irving what he thought of affirmative action. “I oppose it”, Irving replied. “It subverts meritocracy.”

    • Leslie,
      Applying the Progressive standard, I find it offensive that you think you have the right to characterize my experience as and AMERICAN of Asian ancestry. The most glaring acts of descrimination against Asians in this country have been perpetrated by Progressives and the Democrat Party such as the internment of Americans of Japanese Ancestry in concentration camps by FDR, not surprising since it was the Democrats that engineered segregation.

      I won’t address each one of your instances of descrimination against Asians in the America that you have imagined because they are pure fantasy. I am sure some of your best friends are Asian and they have related horror stories to you, but this Asian believes that there is no other country in the world that is more fair and less descriminatory.

      I think your post illustrates the real reason why more Asians are not Republicans. For the past forty years the Left has attacked the deligitimized the founding principles and values of this nation with propaganda, and by extension the only political party that upholds these values and principals. Thus, Republicans are racist and for the rich. It’s that simple.

          • Wow, that doesn’t sound racist *at all*, Blain. You and Murray are right, this is all a big propaganda exercise.

          • re: Asians are “splintered”.. there is no one reason

            …. why so many of them chose one party over the other….

            WTF?

            what if I made that same statement about older southern white voters?

          • If you are a “person of color,” then you are supposed to think a certain way, and if you don’t, then you are not AUTHENTICALLY a person of color.

            This is, I am reliably informed by my intellectual and moral superiors, the liberal, tolerant, multicultural way of looking at race and personal intellectual autonomy.

            Seems kind of crazy to me, but I’m not very intellig… intli.. inttel.. smart.

    • Nah, we hate affirmative action.

      And we’ve experienced just as much racism from liberals as conservatives. There’s just that strong hint of violence behind conservative racism that edges out liberal racism.

      • Yes, who can forget those searing images of Korean grocers defending their stores from mobs of anti-Abortion Christian moralizing hypocrites.

        And then there was the Chinese guy beaten to death by auto workers (no doubt Republicans), who mistook him for a Japanese.

    • You have misstated one of the author’s point, Leslie, and used it to support your own claims.

      Murray did not write or imply “that higher income better educated people are more likely to support the GOP…” That is what you believe many in the GOP think.

      Murray wrote, “…Asians are also richer, more often in conservative-skewed professions, equally married, and less often divorced than non-Latino whites—all indicators that normally identify disproportionately conservative voters.” The first half of the sentence is entirely a description of the statistical trends outlined in the chart, which you have misread or are not aware of.

      2 of the strongest indicators that one will vote conservative are:
      -married (“equally married”, “not having been divorced”)
      -small business owners (“conservative skewed profession”)

      I agree with some of your other anecdotes, but they do nothing to support your 2nd claim, which was a straw man argument. All you did was create an illusion of having refuted one of Murray’s propositions by replacing it with your own subjectively superficial proposition, without ever having actually refuted Murray’s original position/data.

    • RE: “…the idea that higher income better educated people are more likely to support the GOP is erroneous. States with the highest average levels of education voted for Obama in the recent election.”

      The 2nd sentence does not support the first due to a “Simpson’s Paradox” situation. It is entirely possible that more education is correlated with leaning GOP, *and* more-educated states lean Democratic. Indeed, this kind of paradox even allows for the case that within the more-educated Dem-leaning states, more education remains correlated with GOP-leaning.

      (The data I’ve seen suggests GOP-leaning correlates with education, both nationally and in individual states, through Bachelor’s degrees and professional graduate degrees. The correlation then turns very Dem-leaning with PhDs and more academic graduate degrees.)

    • >>> 2) against affirmative action for minorities as a means of righting past social ills,

      Affirmative action has been such a boon for Asian Americans.

  3. Charles, Two quick thoughts:

    First, while Asians didn’t come to America to avoid discrimination, many found discrimination when they arrived here. That might have pushed them toward liberalism. A test of this: were Asians predominantly Democrats prior to social conservatism becoming strong within the GOP? If so, social conservatism may not be the culprit (though it may prevent Asians today from shifting toward what might be a more natural political home).

    Second, politics is “on net.” Even if social conservatism puts off Asians from shifting to the GOP, it’s a huge motivator for many who are already Republicans. (One disadvantage of living in Washington DC is that the Republicans you meet aren’t always typical of Republicans nationwide.) Ditching social conservatism might well produce new Republicans; the question is whether it increases Republican voters on net. Of that I’m not so sure.

    Best,

    Andrew Biggs

  4. I’m trying to figure out what your prescription is here. Yes, religious people who believe in the sanctity of life and marriage as it’s been the last 2000 years tend to identify as Republican rather than Democrat. But it’s not as if we’re describing a small group here. That description encompasses people who are far larger than Hispanics or blacks, or homosexuals. Where exactly do you you expect them to go? And what exactly would the GOP be without them? The party of small government secularists? Somehow, that doesn’t sound like a majority approach to me.

  5. “antipathy can alienate a naturally conservative voting bloc. ”

    Asians are not a naturally conservative voting block either… they hate and resent whites too. They may be intelligent, but they’re also rather “beta”. I used to subscribe to like 30 asian-american blogs at one time and it turned me from a asiaphile to a asiaphobe. What made me laugh the most is when they would CONSTANTLY conflate Hollywood and “conservative, white, christian America”. There is no reasoning with these people. The only exception to this rule is ironically asian Christians.

    Religion is the only thing that keeps people from acting as racialists.

    The GOP is fighting a losing battle and need to acknowledge it in their hearts. The best route to go is Milton Freidman in public and Guillaume Faye in cloak and dagger.True Conservatives would reject America and plan for what happens afterwards.

    • It is a losing battle. It is quite clear from the last election that those who want limited government are a minority. You can say that the majority does not fully understand the consequences of that choice, but you can’t say they haven’t chosen.
      When Nicolas Sarkozy acted to increase the retirement age from 60 to 62 there was massive blow-back that resulted in his defeat. The French have established a clear preference for a society that is destined to stagnate economically, but where people don’t have to work all that long or hard to survive.

    • See? Again, I can’t understand why more Asians don’t feel welcome in the Republican party.

      You should hang your head in shame that you would ever use such a discredited and risible term as “beta”. What piffle.

  6. asians, blacks, and Hispanics tend towards family values and they don’t like high taxes better than anyone else and if a Conservative party was primarily a fiscally conservative party and got away/stayed away from the racist haters on the right – the GOP would be a powerful voice for conservatism.

    but ever since the evangelicals have embedded themselves in the party they have made the issues culture wars.

    and the GOP got exactly want they wanted.

    now they have to live with it or change.

    It’s ironic that the evangelicals – the god fearing types have such a capacity for hate towards others not like them – but they do.

    A pew survey a couple years back showed that church-going evangelicals support torture at much higher rates than others…

    • So where would the GOP be if they expelled evangelicals, and what would the evangelicals do? They certainly aren’t going to caucus with the Democrats. Form a third party? Since about 40% of the population describes themselves as “born again”, that would put the GOP in third place.

      You can’t have spent much time with evangelicals. They don’t generally hate non-believers. In fact they pray constantly for them to see the light.

      • what would they do without evangelicals?

        likely win some elections with the gains from minorities.

        re: evangelicals are “peaceful”.

        nope. many are just as bad as the jihadists. they tend to be war mongers… who “defend” rather than folks who want to get along with others who are not like them,.

        the evangelicals have a long history in the US of their treatment of blacks and other non-white folks.

        The GOP should allow them to be part of the party but not form it’s core beliefs which is often anti-minority.

        It’s NOT the fiscal conservative GOP that is scaring the minorities.

        • I don’t understand your math. If the GOP rejects evangelicals (e.g. endorses the secularist agenda of abortion, homosexual marriage, etc.) you think that gains from Asians, Latinos and Blacks (ROFL) will exceed their losses to a third party?
          Again, I don’t think you spend much time with evangelicals. Most are not going to shrug their shoulders and say, “Neither party supports our values now. What the heck. Let’s go with the GOP.”

          And how exactly does the sanctity of human life not rise to a “core belief”?

          • this has nothing to do with abortion and everything to do with minorities comfort level with the GOP on a variety of issues besides abortion.

            The GOP has to decide if they want to make excuses or if they want to actually seek support of minorities.

            The evangelicals would more naturally align with the GOP but the GOP should not be defined by evangelical-only values or to put it this way- if the GOP DOES want to be defined solely by evangelical values – then they will be choosing permanent minority party status.

  7. I am not convinced that Asians are more pro-gay or pro-abortion than other groups in the USA. I think the overall anti-immigration rhetoric from the GOP has hurt with Asians. In 1992, GHW Bush got 50% of the Asian vote despite getting only 38% of the total vote. GHW Bush wasnt pro-abortion or pro-gay.

    If it is indeed abortion and gays rights, the GOP has a giant problem.
    1. Staying a socially conservative party will hurt the GOP as they will not be able to attract more moderate voters
    2. Abandoning these positions will cause millions of evangelicals to stay home and the GOP will lose anyway

    There are not enough moderates to make up for the loss of social conservatives, but there are not enough social conservatives to win without moderates. In short the GOP is screwed as it cannot appeal to both groups at the same time.

  8. This seems to me a very broad-brush argument given the level of diversity within Asian American communities, particularly the widely divergent views on faith which largely fuel social conservatism. I find it particularly unconvincing considering that Pew found in a survey earlier this year that Asian American viewpoints on homosexuality and abortion are nearly identical to the viewpoints of the American people at large.

    http://projects.pewforum.org/files/2012/07/AsianAmericans_Political-5.png

    http://projects.pewforum.org/files/2012/07/AsianAmericans_Political-7.png

    Asian Americans have been Democratic in tendency, for several years, but the elevation of Obama’s portion from 62% in 2008 to 73% in 2012 is concerning. If there was some significant difference on their views concerning marriage and abortion with the general population here, and had Asian Americans scored social issues as significant to their vote, a case could be made. Neither of those being true, I simply do not see the evidence for Mr. Murray’s claim.

  9. I came across this article while browsing the net. I am Indian American and we have a household income of 250k+. I like the Republican ideas of free enterprise and I think that Unions especially state and federal employees need to be tamed in and our entitlement programs need to be reformed. I completely disagree with Obama when he wants to raise taxes. Where we live (NJ), 250k does not make you rich.

    Yet we supported Obama. I consider Romney a good man and liked his background and view points. However I can never bring myself to vote for the Republican party in its present form. What the other describes here as a perception of the republican party is very true..I view them as bible thumping white male dominated, narrow minded, war mongering party. While this might not be the truth it is certainly my perception and that of my friends who are in the same demographic.

    The only exception is that for elections to the State government, I hear that a good part of my friend circle is plumping for Christie.

    And to the person who talked about discrimination and social justice..Yes Asians were discriminated but also helped by a lot of White Americans. The people that most benefited from affirmative actoin were White women and the ones that lose out most today are Asian men!!

  10. Charles,
    The Asian Americans aren’t a monolith as you and your good friend Steve Sailer surely know. Yes it is true the GOP’s social conservatism turns off AsianAms, but then this turns off everyone not just them. And given the high educational attainment of AsianAms isn’t it natural it would? But more importantly AsianAms are very perceptive and don’t see the GOP as a cafeteria. After we AsianAms had written our first philosophical treatises when the Greeks were mere goat herders! We understand Western culture much better than the other way round. The GOP represents the ideals of a rump of a fast evolving Western culture that is harmonising with the rest of the world, and its ideals today find no sympathy in their land of origin – Europe. Social conservatism isn’t an ideal that stands alone, it meshes with the other two ideals of the GOP – wealth as virtue, pillage or the unapologetic global domination impulse as power. We know the modern US was not an empty land when the Pilgrims or whoever in pointy hats landed here. It was a civilised land that was more prosperous, peaceful and healthy than the leaky boat Europe had become. The Native Americans had already beaten back the much vaunted Vikings centuries ago and nearly beat back the new settlers this time, if not for disease. The GOP uses social conservatism to reign in and over its own base – the white underclass – using the stable family arrangement to generate cannon fodder for its factories and wars of conquest. The GOP sits on a 3-legged stool and without one of these legs it will collapse. We AsianAms know that.
    And we also read history. We know that the US is a shining example of the goodness of an accountable government. Coming from India I’ve seen a corrupt government. But here in the US I find an accountable government that has built the world’s greatest infrastructure, universities and schools and a research led innovation engine second to none. The government founds the prosperity of the corporate sector. without government there would be no aerospace, medical research, the internet or the www. We know that. We also know how trust fund legacies fill up as much as 70% of the enrollment of universities, and how affirmative action applied fairly changes lives. Which is why AsianAms aren’t about to be charmed by the GOP.

    • Along similar lines, it stands to reason that high achieving Asians would be put off by efforts to defund public education at all levels, and consider it especially threatening because it is the one obvious government function that they may have relied on to help propel their success. (They might realize that in fact, they “didn’t build that” entirely by their own efforts.) They might especially resent efforts of social conservatives to use education as a wedge issue or as a means to inculcate students in conservative values or to teach a version of American history that de-emphasizes negative information that might have affected Asians (like Japanese internment during WWII).

      I also noted that Mr. Murray made no effort to tease out the potential impact of age in his analysis. The average Asian-American is almost certainly significantly younger than the average non-Hispanic white. If you compared the cohorts by age distribution you might find a closer correlation of voting patterns.

      I also think, in general, that Mr. Murray might be overstating the “land of opportunity” leitmotif among immigrants. An immigrant who I helped gain legal status told me once that what she really loved about this country was that when she called the police, they helped her and it didn’t matter that she was a dark-skinned woman who couldn’t slip them something under the table. Being able to live in a civil society where the the rule of law is by and large respected is not something people everywhere take for granted.

      • How do high-achieving Asians feel about curricula that promote Afro-Centrism?

        Oh, yeah.

        Forgot.

        Very few Asians find themselves in such schools.

  11. Isn’t it time we stopped apologizing for social conservatism? When we survey the wreckage of fifty years of feminism, gay privilege (to the extent that one can in the years to come be prosecuted for criticizing their lifestyle), abortion, single mothers by choice (ditto), divorce, etc. we cannot avoid the conclusion that these “choices” are costing our economy big time as well. The bill for these costs is already overdue, and we are paying interest on the amount in arrears. How long will it be before the electorate realizes these are “choices” we can no longer afford?

    • Maybe it’s me, but I’m not seeing the link you are trying to make. Please be more specific which “choice” we should have dictated to us instead. If I’m a single woman who gets pregnant and choose to keep instead of abort, what? I should “make” the guy marry me? What if I’m a single woman? Should I stay at home letting my parents support me rather than support myself in order to turn back “feminism?”

      Seriously, what “choices” should we not make for ourselves but have dictated to us?

      • Don’t make us pay for your stupid decisions. That’s the answer to your pompous rhetorical questions. And you are having oppression fantasies if you think that conservatives want to dictate that you marry the guy, or stay at home with your parents. You fabricated that and you know it.
        Conservatives don’t want to be forced to pay for your terrible choices. And if you had a child without having the means to pay for it, and you had a child with a man who you knew was no good, then you have made terrible choices.
        Don’t dictate that taxpayers play daddy for you because your sperm donor didn’t stick around to support you.

    • Mr. Hirsch can you please explain why giving rights to women and gays, and decreasing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country hurts our economy? I understand that you might find this offensive, but I fail to see the negative impact on our economy. As an Asian American, what I do see is the self-righteousness bigotry that drives so many of us away from the GOP.

    • What exactly is the political/public policy agenda to “combat” these choices? Outside of outlawing abortion and continuing to oppose gay marriage, would it include making divorce more difficult, or limiting women in the workforce? It’s unclear how one would move toward the opposite choices.

      Is it possible that all of the social conservative rhetoric is just that – rhetoric to gain votes, with little or no actual, actionable political agenda behind it?

      The only agenda I can envision would be rejected by many people of various demographic groups, not just Asian-Americans.

  12. Perhaps the GOP’s problem is that Asian-Americans have noticed how conservative white males talk about blacks and Latinos when they are not in the room — and those Asian-Americans have logically (and correctly) inferred that similar conversations about them take place in their absence.

    – MrJM

  13. Here’s a thought. Maybe being “conspicuously entrepreneurial, industrious, family-oriented, and self-reliant” isn’t actually inconsistent with support for government playing an active role in economic management. You know, the way the government is actively involved in managing the economies of Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam, and every other Asian economy, to varying degrees of success. Nothing in Confucian ethics would suggest the Randish divide between individual hard work and initiative and effective government management that so typifies the modern Republican worldview. Much the opposite, in Confucian culture hard work is deeply connected with a sense of social responsibility, not individual self promotion.

    You’re too fundamentally immeshed in the conservative worldview to be able to critique it honestly.

    • Many minorities are hard working, entrepreneurial, have family values AND are conservative.

      Look at who owns the 7-11′s these days!

      My endocrinologist is a Pakistani Lady!

      my eye doctor, ophthalmologist is Lebanese!

    • The Asian tigers, unlike Russia, didn’t follow the Washington consensus in the 1990s for capitalism( deregulate, minimal welfare state, etc) and they responded to the late 90s crisis by further regulating. They’ve followed a mixed economic plan.

  14. I doubt the GOP will win the “Asian vote” when any demographic analysis insists on (pick any of the following): reducing Asian-Americans to model minority stereotypes, insisting that all Asian-Americans are recent immigrants, and/or ignoring the discrimination Asian-Americans have faced (historically and in the present).

  15. If you want to advance the republican brand away from its current southern strategy image, perhaps the best place to start is to stop writing racist garbage like the above pile of bushwa.

    Seriously. Wow!

  16. Dear Charles,
    AsianAms like Jewish Ams before them have, find the modern GOP chock full of bad, stupid ideas and are put off by its anti-intellectual tenor. India, where I am from, is not a widely literate nation. But its political leaders, whether they have been schooled formally at universities or not, have been respected for their intellectual attainment. It’s not acceptable to make fun of scholars and scholarship. Science deniers like James Inhofe/Marco Rubio, Christine O’ Donnell/Sarah Palin would not have a political career. And we have a fundamental idea of the limits of economic levers, knowing that there must be a balance between enterprise and a forgiving government. Today AsianAms see that the most successful healthcare systems in the world are all universal single payer systems. So when GOP talks of shopworn ideas of “market based solutions” we know it’s tosh. Unlike in the US where the obscenely rich can fence themselves away from deprivation, the rich in our countries of origin cannot, hence they still suffer the pangs of conscience. As for Jewish Ams kindly recall that the modern state of Israel has been to a large measure a socialist project. Social justice has been at the core of the Jewish experience be it, the kindly family that sheltered a young Louis Armstrong or the many lawyers of the lost causes of liberty today. A GOP that ignores these deep seated roots of our culture, will have a hard time being anything more than a fringe party of the extreme.

    • LOL. What a joke. ‘India’s political leaders… are respected for their intellectual attainment’

      Which ones?
      Sonia Gandhi who is looting the country dry with her billions in Swiss banks? Modi who has gotten about as close to being involved in attempted genocide as you can get? Lalu Yadav who made a career out of completely open corruption, continuing even while he was in “jail”? The Yadavs in UP who steal billions from the mouths of the poorest peoples on the planet? Mayawati who went from a village teacher to a billionaire who flies her slippers by private planes and has left behind no governance but only gold statues of herself?

      The list goes on and on and on….

      Sarah Palin would make an exceptional leader by Indian standards…

      Get out of here. We dislike anti-science posturing, but to pretend Indian leaders are anything but the corrupt, predatory thugs that they are is sarcasm of the highest order.

      • Arun, the joke actually is on you. Lalloo is out of office as is Mayavati. But neither of them ever has derided the intelligensia like a Sarah Palin does routinely. Mayavati has actually made a difference to UP in winning dignity for the lowest of the low. These are giant steps. Sonia Gandhi is not a science denier and is definitely deferential towards people of learning. It’s another matter I would not vote for any of these politicians. But anti-intellectual has nothing to do with it. The likes of Saraha Palin, Karl Rove and the clown circus the GOP is today wouldn’t survive a single election in India.

        • I didn’t realize stealing from the Dalits was considered “winning dignity for the lowest of the low” … Or that moving up to Railways Minister after being jailed for corruption was part of a governance learning curve…

          I’d rather have someone hostile to science, than someone hostile to vulnerable human beings they’re supposed to be responsible for…

          Of course I’d rather have neither – but I’ll take Palin over those guys. Ignorance is a hell of a lot better than malevolence.

      • I’m a different Arun, posted elsewhere on this thread. Please don’t wish a Sarah Palin on India, things are bad enough.

        It is true that the Indian electorate is, in general, not anti-intellectual – there is no teabagger type movement there. But comparing India and the US of A is generally a pointless exercise, they are two different societies in different stages of development. Perhaps Indian politicians of today should be compared to those of Tammany Hall.

  17. I think you’re rather strangely missing the “elephant in the room”. I doubt that it’s “social conservatism” in and of itself that turns off Asians from the GOP; rather, it’s the perception perpetuated by Democrats, the education system, and the mainstream media that the GOP is racist. Your argument probably holds some water to the extent the aforementioned propaganda outlets successfully conflate social conservatism with racism, i.e. if you hate gays, you probably hate minorities too. But it need not be so, there are plenty of blacks, Latinos and Asians who hold socially conservative views and yet presumably don’t hate minorities. The GOP fails miserably in communicating that message, however.

    • ” it’s the perception perpetuated by Democrats, the education system, and the mainstream media that the GOP is racist. ”

      this presumes that the minorities are too stupid to see for themselves, though.

      the problem has nothing to do with Democrats and everything to do with how minorities view the GOP – given the rampant dog whistle politics the GOP chooses to willingly engage in.

      The Democrats job is simple… just point to the GOP and say “listen”….

      blaming this on the Dems is comical.

    • No George. No. That even more patronizing.
      We don’t need a media to tell us that AEI/GOP endorses unscientific ideas and economic crackpottery. We have family and friends in the OECD and we know how much better they have managed their economics these 30 years than has the US. We count scientists and engineers among our ranks and since there are lots of them relative to the general population among us, we know the claims made about fracking are dangerously wrong. We know for that Germany’s Chancellor is a theoretical chemist while the GOP’s icon is a 3rd rate B-Grade actor, Reagan. Darn, when the best a university educated GOP operative can become is a science denying kook like Jindal, how do you expect us to take the GOP seriously. AsianAms don’t waste their time on MSM, we are heavily into the new media!

    • I don’t have to follow the media at all, I just have to read the RNC platforms, and watch speeches unmediated by the media – Pat Buchanan’s in 1992 is a classic.

      This “GOP failed to communicate” is tired, old and wrong.

      • RE: ” This “GOP failed to communicate” is tired, old and wrong.”

        as someone who watches Hannity (and has to hold his nose), I can tell you that the GOP “message” to minorities is loud and clear and they often spice it up with Rush Limbaugh videos.

        the GOP does not have a problem communicating. The problem is that the DO communicate and the message does get across and now.. like the GOP has with more than a few issues – they want to blame someone else or claim that they need to “tweak” their messaging.

        they don’t need to tweak anything. The messages were sent and received quite well. Every single night, Hannity was beating that drum.

  18. Perhaps Americans of Asian descent have noticed that as distasteful as the social conservative Bible thumpers and Tea Partiers may be, there are other issues with Republicans. The thumpers didn’t start two overseas wars, one of them for no good reason. The thumpers didn’t cut taxes while fighting two foreign wars. The thumpers didn’t completely mismanage those wars. The thumpers didn’t launch an unfunded Medicare Part D and lie about the costs. The thumpers haven’t pushed for a generation to repeal financial regulation that might have prevented the ’08 crash. It wasn’t a thumper who said “Deficits don’t matter.” It wasn’t the thumpers who pushed tax policy that shifted all income gains to the top. Asian Americans, and many of the rest of us may see issues beyond social conservatism.

    • ” Asian Americans, and many of the rest of us may see issues beyond social conservatism”

      all good points about the failure of “fiscal conservatism” but the social stuff is downright toxic.

      I doubt seriously that minorities ran from the GOP over it’s faux fiscal conservatism!

    • Actually the thumpers embraced the war/Medicare-D/tax-cut agenda wholesale and didn’t as much as utter a squeak when the vice uttered “Deficits don’t matter” The thumpers are just another facet of the GOP base.

  19. Can’t blame it all on the “cultural conservatives.”

    The economic conservatives are getting too radical for anyone with both an understanding of economics and integrity. They aren’t Eisenhowers anymore or even Reagans.

    Asian cultures tend to be collectivist in the cultural sense. Maybe not socialists, but certainly not selfish opportunists. So they will be for government policies that promote economic growth, even if that means deficit spending and higher marginal tax rates.

    A couple generations in, maybe the cultural elements disappear, but so do the trends toward higher wealth (something Murray won’t acknowledge, since it kills his Bell Curve argument).

    So sorry, Charlie… I don’t buy it anymore than your bigger, more (in)famous quasi-sociological theories.

    • It’s the Republicans who don’t understand economics?

      One of the more fundamental understandings of economics is that when you tax something you get less of it and when you subsidize something you get more of it. Yet Democrats seem mystified that taxing people who produce in order to subsidize those who don’t leads to fewer of the former and more of the latter.

      • When you tax labor, one tendency is for people to work less, since they get less compensation for each marginal work hour (substitution effect), but another tendency is for them to work more to obtain the same amount of total compensation (income effect). It’s far from a “fundamental understanding of economics” that taxing high incomes more will lead to less total production.

          • Costco just took on debt to deliver a divident to its shareholders before Obama’s tax increases kick in.

            The CEO of Costco basically campaigned for Obama and his tax policy.

            The categorical dismissal of Evan’s observation represents the sort of open-minded intellectual assessment of the real-world consequences of well intentioned policies I have come to expect from my intellectual superiors.

      • You do realize that labor is the “producers”, right?

        Taxing people who produce (labor) in order to subsidize those who don’t (shareholders) leads to…what we have right now.

        • Then why don’t the laborers quit working for publically traded companies, and start their own?

          If they are indeed the backbone of the company, that would be a good move for them, I would think, and the shareholders would be SOL.

          • When laborers can access capital, eg, as in micro-lending, they do very well.

            The larger fact is that the tax code favors capital over labor, and laborers are not going to be able to accumulate capital on their own, on a slanted playing field. Eg, I pay taxes on the money I spend on commuting, a business gets to expense the money it spends on sending people here and there. Both are in support of our primary economic activity, but only business gets a break.

    • >>> Asian cultures tend to be collectivist in the cultural sense.

      Isn’t this racist?

      Ironically, I think there may be something to that, and I think that may be a substantial part of the explanation for why they don’t support Republicans.

      But when I say it, I’m “racist.”

      • No, I think you misunderstand what racism is. Asian cultures may tend to be collectivist or not is a matter of opinion. Believing that that they are somehow inherently superior or inferior is racist.

        • Thanks for clarifying.

          So, we are allowed to acknowledge that certain identifiable groups have – AS A GROUP – certain characteristics?

          This is new.

      • If you are called a racist, it must be in conjunction with other things you write.

        Anyway, is there any point in continuing this? The best answers as to why people of Asian descent voted Democratic in this cycle is given by the personal testimony on this thread. Some solid research has also been linked. All the rest is second-hand anecdotal, or just guessing.

        What do you want to get from this thread? An explanation of the electoral fact, or just to establish that the commenters on this thread are wrong and you are right?

        • It’s not up to the guys on the right to “defend” their racism, it’s what will they do to attract the minorities to vote with them.

          It’s the difference between an excuse and accomplishing the task.

          • >>> It’s not up to the guys on the right to “defend” their racism

            Next, I suppose you are going to ask us when we stopped beating our wives?

  20. Simpler explanation. Liberals are the “cool” fraction, especially in the big coastal cities where Asians are. Conservatives are not “cool”. Asians, like everyone else, like to climb the social status ladder and the easiest way to do this is to be politically liberal but act conservative in your personal life. So like an SWPL but good at math.

    It’s true that liberals don’t like Asians and actively try to limit their numbers in elite schools, but that is a cost of doing business.

    • You nailed it asdf! You’ve seen through AsianAms and figured out how shallow they all are.

      What was it that Bobby Jindal said? Something like, “if you want people to start liking you, you have to start by liking them.”

  21. I’m unclear how perception and reality are not intertwined when it comes to Republcan policy. It isn’t simply perception! It is the countless laws that have either been proposed or passed in GOP-controlled state legislatures specifically designed to humiliate women contemplating abortions or to stop them altogether. It’s laws designed to discriminate against gay people. It’s laws designed to bust unions and crush working people. And on and on.

    No Mr. Murray. This is not a perception problem. This is a policy problem. And until some moderate, modern, normal Republicans take office and worry about good economic and social policy, they are going to continue to lose elections especially at the national level.

  22. You’re drinking your own Kool-Aid about “makers and takers” and “industrious strivers vs. lazy parasites.”

    That is a bogus rubric that fails utterly to describe how the world works, and its failure to predict the political preferences of Asians and Jews should strike you as powerful evidence for its uselessness, but you are so emotionally attached to this self-serving bit of propaganda that you’d rather go through life confused that admit that “your sort of people” are not, in fact, superior to “those people.”

  23. The author of the Bell Curve, who described the victims of Hurricane Katrina as “animals let loose from the zoo” based on nonsense rumors that he – for SOME unimaginable reason – was gullible enough to believe, thinks that it is ludicrously inaccurate to say that the Republican Party is racist.

    Mr. Murray, have you ever considered the possibility that Asians, Latinos, Jews, blah people, Indians, Muslims, and Native Americans are better at detecting the presence of racial animus than you are?

    • If Asians only feel racial animus coming from whites, then they are, to put it mildly, not the most observant people in the world.

      • People were not voting for the supporters of the Democratic Party or supporters of the Republican Party. They were voting for the parties’ candidates and platforms.

        So it doesnt really matter in chhosing who to vote for how much animus Blacks have for Asians, or whites have for Hispanics or whatever. What mattered was how the parties comported themselves, and that is where the GOP fell short.

        The impression from reading Snippet’s comments all this morning is that he seems to think that voting for Democrats means voting for blacks who have animus towards Asians. No! The question is – what is the behavior and attitude of the men, women, people of various races who comprise the candidates and party functionaries? Is it more welcoming to Asians than the GOP?

        • The supporters of Democrats (or Republicans) greatly influence what Democrats (or Republicans) do.

          You cannot separate a party from its supporters.

        • >>> The impression from reading Snippet’s comments all this morning is that he seems to think that voting for Democrats means voting for blacks who have animus towards Asians.

          Not necessarily.

          It means voting for those who want to please blacks who feel their station in life would be improved by racial quotas, which tend to burn Asians like a grease fire.

      • To repeat, you are missing the point. Why is Charles Murray a respected person in the GOP instead of being considered fringe? Why would I want to vote for a party where he is considered to be a party intellectual?

        • I have seen nothing in Charles Murray’s published works that should cause a rational person to banish him from legitimate intellctual discourse.

          To be sure, he is “controversial,” but then again, if you think the pursuit of truth will be an enterprise that never makes liberals uncomfortable, you may not understand the concept.

          • I guess we strongly differ about the Bell Curve. It cannot be characterized as a quest for truth. There is a difference between being scientific and being lawyer-like, and The Bell Curve is lawyerl.

            Second, he can keep on intellectually discoursing, I never said he shouldn’t. The question is why should the GOP embrace him? The quest for truth is usually lonely, and this is one case where it should be.

        • ” Why is Charles Murray a respected person in the GOP instead of being considered fringe?”

          there is a problem here understanding whether the GOP is the one that has problems viewing it’s players as if it’s okay if the GOP thinks it’s okay and no thought of how non-GOP view what he says.

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