Why Republicans Will Have a Hard Time Gaining Asian Support

Vikram Bath

Vikram Bath is the pseudonym of a former business school professor living in the United States with his wife, daughter, and dog. (Dog pictured.) His current interests include amateur philosophy of science, business, and economics. Tweet at him at @vikrambath1.

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96 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    The problem isn’t their positions; it’s that we suspect they would in fact take some internal satisfaction in not getting our vote.


    • Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

      That line is actually a darn near perfect encapsulation of my thoughts on the matter. The ongoing problem with the party is that they (or at least the loudest among them) have far too narrow an idea of what Republicans should be like.Report

      • ACIS in reply to Will Truman says:

        I find myself agreeing with you. Too many republicans who wear as a badge of pride the fact that they will be opposed by minority groups of color, gender or sexual orientation. Too many republicans that wear their antagonism as a point of pride and see minorities as a convenient scapegoat for their pet issues. Or at least that’s the public face from the loudest and strongest members who represent them in the media and in the TP caucus at the national and state level.Report

    • Barry in reply to Jaybird says:

      One of the things that impressed me in the past couple of years was the GOP Base b*tch-slapping the GOP Elites on the matter of immigration. Usually the elites get their way, but the base slapped them down, hard.

      And given the other rhetoric, along with massive racially-based voter suppression, it’s not illegal immigration, it’s racism, pure and simple.Report

  2. Kazzy says:

    “The Tea Party originated as a secular phenomenon. It was borne out of frustration with two presidents and two congresses who never found a campaign contributor they couldn’t afford to bail out.”

    Which two Presidents?Report

  3. Road Scholar says:

    You know what bothers me most about these Tea Party types? Outwardly, they look like me and I like them. So both them and the people they crap on assume I’m one of them. It’s led to some “interesting” conversations.

    Then there’s this: One of their biggest complaints is that immigrants use foreign languages in the United States. Both legal and illegal immigrants do this.

    My great grandparents immigrated from Holland and couldn’t speak a word of English. My grandparents were fully bilingual and my parents just knew a few words of Dutch. I used to know a couple cuss words but I’ve forgotten even that. That’s just the pattern for immigrants.Report

    • greginak in reply to Road Scholar says:

      Yup that is the pattern and todays immigrants aren’t any different. My grandparents all spoke their old country languages in their homes to some degree. My maternal grandparents lived in an apartment complex filled with old polish jews so everybody spoke yiddish. Their kids all spoke english.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Road Scholar says:


      People tend to assume they are in like company, get comfortable, and say some potentially very disagreeable — if not outright offensive — things. I don’t know if that is specific to Tea Party types.Report

      • Zane in reply to Kazzy says:

        Yup, true all around. People presume agreement all the time based on appearance.

        And if you’re not a “visible minority”, you have to choose whether to say, “You realize you’re talking about me, right?”Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Zane says:


          I’ve told the story here about the time I was in rural Maine and some drunk local decided to drop the N-word — clear as day — at the bar. He thought he was in “good company”. I wanted to yell, “What about me made you think I’d be okay with that?”

          Well… I was white. And in a bar in rural Maine.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Road Scholar says:


      The children and grandchildren of immigrants bashing current immigrants is an age-old American tradition. There are cartoons from the 19th century which point this out when people expressed anti-Irish, anti-Chinese, and anti-Eastern and Southern European sentiments.Report

    • My family’s too, except that all Americans know how to cuss in Yiddish.Report

  4. LeeEsq says:

    During the Cold War, Asian-Americans tended to vote Republican outside of Hawaii because the Republicans were seen as more anti-Communist. Before George W. Bush’s presidency, many Muslim-Americans voted Republican to because they were seen as the socially conservative party. The nativist inclinations of the Republican base caused the Republicans to lose a lot of support from Asian-Americans. The Democratic Party has been better at nominating non-whites for office to in recent years, at least on the local and state levels.Report

    • ACIS in reply to LeeEsq says:

      To be fair when the Republicans do find a nonwhite candidate they tend to pander even harder to the fundie christian fringes and come off as nuts. Jindal on creationism and privatization, Carson on basically everything, Allen West’s repetitive anti-semitism, and whatever Herman Cain was ranting about on a given day. Colin Powell steered clear of it and they decided he wasn’t even VP nomination material.Report

      • Zane in reply to ACIS says:

        Regardless of how I feel about Colin Powell on some issues, he is a rare Republican who has been critical of his party’s intolerance and how that intolerance is put into practice policy-wise.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Zane says:

          Pity what he did in front of Congress in the lead-up to Gulf War 2.0.

          By all accounts, he knew that what he had to give Congress was pure BS from one end to the other. He still went up there and sold it like a champion.

          Had to have been a tough day.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Within Hawaii, the Asian vote is so large that it has been more often than not competitive between the parties (esp in state level races where the influence of the national party messaging is weakest), but the individual ethnicities do tend to go one way or another. (Japanese for Republicans, Filipinos and Native Hawaiians for Democrats, Chinese as swing votes).Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Kolohe says:

        I was specifically referring to the Cold War era. During the late territory and early state period, Asians in Hawaii tended to vote Democratic in contrast to mainland Asian-Americans because the Republicans were associated with the white oligarchy.Report

  5. ACIS says:

    The stuff about the Tea Party being secular just isn’t true, nor is it true that Santelli’s rant started it.


  6. Kazzy says:

    Once upon a time (about 9 years ago), a friend told me the following:

    “The thing is, Republicans don’t know that we black folk are conservative. We’re old school. We’re hard on crime. We’re pro drug war*. We’re Christian. We’re anti-gay. It’s just too bad they hate us.”

    Now, how representative he was off Black folks en masse, I can’t say. But he was basically saying what you say here: he agrees with many Republican policies but would never vote for them because they want no part of him.

    * He went on to explain that the mass incarceration of Black men is not something black folks liked, but having seen firsthand the harm that drugs can do to a community, most black folk would rather the drugs just go away than be legalized.Report

    • greginak in reply to Kazzy says:

      One thing most republicans can’t seem to grasp is that it is social conservatism does not equate to liking Repub economics or gov policies. Many groups that don’t vote R much or at all ( like blacks or Latinos) are generally religious and social conservative. They see D gov polices as promoting their idea of social stability and conservatism. White social conservatives are so entwined with the R’s that it seems like every R idea is considered founded on the Bible and ordered by Gosh herself. So R’s can’t see how a social conservative person might think liberal type gov policies are helpful and good. And of course there is the race problem.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to greginak says:

        This is exactly it. The shock, shock that Obama won the 2012 Presidential election was quite amazing.

        What a lot of conservatives and Republicans don’t get about liberals is that we are actually quite small c-conservative in our own way. We support the social safety net and the welfare state because we see them as paths to stability and staving off social unrest and revolution. In my mind, a revolution will only lead to suffering and misery.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          SS is 100 years old. How is supporting it anything BUT conservative?Report

          • ACIS in reply to Morat20 says:

            But SS is liberal socialism. Or something. Because Conservatism!Report

          • Brandon Berg in reply to Morat20 says:

            80 years old. It was created by Roosevelt, when he chose to descend from Heaven in form of man and walk among us for a time.

            And sure. Conservatives aren’t conservative, Liberals aren’t liberal, Progressives aren’t progressive, and Libertarians don’t actually eat liberty. They’re just names, not to be taken literally.Report

            • Earlier today, I was reading about the Fronde, which was a revolt during the early part of Louis XIV’s reign. The Crown tried to impose a tax on the lords to pay off the debt accrued during the Thirty Years War, and they rebelled, insisting that their feudal liberties protected them from taxation; that was for commoners. So the use of “liberty” to mean specifically “property rights for the wealthy” does have some historical basis.Report

      • @greginak

        I agree. There are a lot of very socially conservative Dems in Chicago.Report

    • Kim in reply to Kazzy says:

      Blacks do tend to be the ConservaDems, according to Pew.
      Obama does a damn good “We need Fathers” speech, too.

      Blacks really are a natural for Republicans, except that Conservatives have to hate someone.Report

    • Vikram Bath in reply to Kazzy says:

      Thanks for sharing that, Kazzy. I think there is a parallel, though I wouldn’t say we feel hated. “Unwanted” would be a better word. And this isn’t anything that including some Asian delegates in the next convention would fix.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Vikram Bath says:

        I attended a recent workshop that discussed the difference between diversity and inclusion. The speaker defined diversity as being invited to the party and inclusion as getting keys to the front door. We can haggle over the terms themselves, but Republicans (at best) invite certain people of color to certain parties; they ain’t giving nobody but white men the keys .Report

  7. Zane says:

    Great essay. I think you’re completely right about the Republican Party, and surveys of tea party followers show that despite the fiscally conservative early gloss, the best predictor of tea party identification was social conservativism, which is bound up with distrust of racial, religious, and sexual minorities.

    I’m pretty liberal, but there have been Republicans at the national level who could have gotten my vote, or at least been competitive for it. Those Republicans are either long gone or have twisted and distorted themselves (McCain, for example) in an attempt to make themselves appealing to their party. There are Republicans who seem like a reasonable people in their interpersonal relationships with “others”. Jeb Bush and Christie are possibilities. But for every “reasonable” one, there are dozens who make it clear that actual distrust and animus drives their intended policies. And almost no one in the party ever confronts the haters or addresses the problem of driving away those who don’t conform. The party’s half-assed attempt to deal with some of these issues after the 2012 election was completely ignored.

    I think Republicans have done a fine job of signaling who they do not want. Voters may be willing to vote against their interests policy-wise, but they’re not going to vote for someone who shows them disdain.Report

    • Gabriel Conroy in reply to Zane says:


      That’s pretty much how I see it, too. For me, it’s also a question of the party they’ll likely need to work with once elected. I would not in theory have had a problem with Romney as president if I knew ahead of time that the Congress would be and remain Democratic. But a Romney working with Republicans would pull him too much in the direction you (and I) associate with the social conservatives in the GOP.Report

  8. Will H. says:

    LeeEsq is on to something there; but I would tend to the other end of the argument, and say that the voting public is more of a concern than the demographics of the body of representatives.
    What led to the Texas War of Independence was heavy recruiting of Americans into that northern state of Mexico. Finally, one day, the white settlers, mostly from the American south, came to outnumber the Mexican loyalists.
    Following the Civil War, there was another great wave of immigrants into Texas from the American south; this time, studiously avowed racists. That’s what led to Hernandez v. Texas, 347 U.S. 475 (1954).
    Defying the national trend, not even most of those flipped parties following LBJ’s signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And a lot of Tejano Republicans as well.
    The xenophobia is disturbing.

    I really think the Right should get in front of the police brutality issue, casting it as a law’n order issue, or one of governmental integrity.
    A responsible government wold be nice, I’m thinking.Report

    • Vikram Bath in reply to Will H. says:

      Will H.: the Right should get in front of the police brutality issue, casting it as a law’n order issue, or one of governmental integrity

      I would love to see that. Unfortunately, it seems that already a handful of Republicans denounced the Ferguson report as slander. Rand Paul is one of the few who does take that position and does it better and more consistently than any Democrat short of maybe Bernie Sanders. But that’s just one guy.Report

      • Barry in reply to Vikram Bath says:

        ‘Law and order’ means ‘beating the crap out of *them*’, pure and simple.Report

      • Will H. in reply to Vikram Bath says:

        A large part of framing is being conversant in the terms of the receiver of the message.
        Another big part is for the sender of the message to consider the receiver worthwhile in messaging.
        If people only hear one thing all their lives, they’re likely to accept it as true.
        From my view, it doesn’t matter if it’s exclusively talking points from the Right or the Left that makes such a situation desirable or undesirable, but rather that some manner of homeostasis has been arrived at, unchallenged and unaccounted for, whose ends are altogether unclear to the actors themselves.
        That is, absent effective opportunity for evil, the value of goodness inherent is diminished.
        Given a choice, they just may well make the most of it, though there’s no guarantee.
        I find the Right to be far more accepting of heterodox opinions.
        For all the perceptions, the Left is definitely more rigorous in enforcing monolithic thought patterns; i.e., any who stray are not of the fold.
        That fact alone defines me as a Republican– I am tolerant of persons who think other than myself.Report

        • Kim in reply to Will H. says:

          The real right draws it’s world in black and white, and woe betide the rightie who doesn’t know exactly who to hate.
          Not that I think you’re like that or anything. But some folks are, and not always the ones you’d think.Report

          • Will H. in reply to Kim says:

            I believe those types are more concentrated in certain regions than others.
            Where I’m at, I’ve met only three people that could be described as having swallowed the FOX News malarkey as genuine.
            And you’re right– it really is surprising to see which ones. You would think they would know better.Report

  9. Saul Degraw says:

    Like ACIS, I was never convinced that the Tea Party represented anything more than astro-turf Republicans and they quickly showed themselves to be the hard Right especially social conservative Right of the Republican Party. They were nothing new.Report

    • Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Know who runs the system, man. The Tea Party’s Koch’s beast, and laying it at the feet of all Republicans is a mistake.Report

    • ACIS in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Founding members of the majority of Tea Party organizations were either from the christian evangelical right wing or old John Birch members. Even when they talked a game about taxes their real agenda was obvious.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Saul Degraw,

      Like ACIS, I was never convinced that the Tea Party represented anything more than astro-turf Republicans

      The First! Teapartiers were Ron Paul supporters who advocated less public/private collusion on policy formation. They were really down on corporate influence in politics. During the Second Wave!, when the Koch brothers started teabagging, and it became, quite clearly, something else entirely.Report

      • greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

        Well maybe, but lots of Ron Paul supporters are paleo-consertives and plenty had socon views. So the FTP’s were just old school repubs just like the rest of TP. It was repubs all the way down.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Stillwater says:

        I think this is close to right. I don’t think the Koch’s were the thing in the second wave, so much as the Republicans who were looking to call themselves something other than just Republicans were. Which got the attention of folks in the Party – especially those who think the primary problem with the party is compromise – creating a loop.Report

      • Michael M. in reply to Stillwater says:

        Was it those “first” Tea Partiers who would carry signs like ‘Keep Your Govment Hands Off My Medicare!’ or were those the product of later waves?Report

  10. j r says:

    So what’s the actual argument being made in the comments? Is it that the Tea Party is just another incarnation of socially conservative reactionaries or that the Tea Party is an astroturfed creation of the Koch Brothers and other libertarian-leaning interests?

    Which one is it? Because those two things are not the same.Report

    • greginak in reply to j r says:

      Mostly that the TP are classic republicans who re-branded themselves. They are socially conservative reactionaries pretty much. Their movement was stoked and encouraged by various establishment groups. They weren’t created by astroturf groups but got plenty of push.Report

      • j r in reply to greginak says:

        Again, if you argument is that the Tea Party is “classic republicans” and “socially conservative reactionaries,” you are still using these terms with a high enough degree of imprecision as to be a bit meaningless.

        There have always been social conservatives in this country, but the sorting of them all into one party is a relatively recent phenomenon. As Virkam says in the OP:

        Back in the 80s and 90s, I didn’t know the Republican Party had anything to do with religion. The 90s version of the Contract With America didn’t have anything about Christianity that I remembered.

        The post-war conservative movement was fueled largely by an opposition to communism abroad and the command economy at home. In my view, the largest reason why the present conservative movement has come to be characterized so much by social conservationism is that the right won the economic argument and the movement began running on culture war fumes. There are almost no old-school tax and spend liberals left. Even the populists argue from a position of fiscal and economic responsibility.Report

        • ACIS in reply to j r says:

          So the Democrats who demanded Reagan pay for his war games and other toy programs with tax increases and loophole closing to avoid increasing the national deficit were a figment of our collective imagination, @j-r ?Report

        • Mike Schilling in reply to j r says:

          The third leg of social conservatives was always there, in fact far more bigoted than it is now. Read up on what Jerry Falwell used to say about Jews. The Moral Majority and their Rolodex was a huge factor in electing Reagan in the 80s and the GOP taking the House in the 90s.Report

        • Mike Schilling in reply to j r says:

          And the phrase “tax and spend” lost most of its point after Reagan, when the GOP turned into “borrow and spend”.Report

        • North in reply to j r says:

          I’d agree JR, frankly the neoliberals stole the old school Conservative economic position wholesale (I think you’d find Clinton and the DLC’s fingerprints all over it) and the GOP was forced to move right.

          The Tea Party was, primarily, a way for the GOP’s supporters to disassociate themselves from a brand tarnished by Bush W’s incompetence and heresies while still being, by and large, still republican. Basically the Tea Party is a whole lot of elephants and some confused libertarians wondering why the hell everyone is chanting their slogans but ignoring their proscriptions.Report

          • Jesse Ewiak in reply to North says:

            Well, I’m glad you finally admit you’re not a liberal, @north, and only deal with us silly lefties because you have too.Report

            • North in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              Happily for liberalism the more lefty liberals don’t have the power to read neoliberals or centrists out of the ideology; I’m certainly a liberal, I’m too old to be just a neo @jesse ewiak.Report

              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to North says:

                I bet you we’re closer in age than you think, but regardless, yeah, maybe in a few years, I’ll believe that selling off the common good to private actors and making it harder for poor people to access social services in the name of efficiency is a good thing, and that pensions and free higher education was just something we can’t afford anymore.

                In 30 more years, I sure as hell hope to be Bernie Sanders instead of Rahm Emanuel.Report

              • North in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Since none of those are things I personally advocate nor believe there’s not much I can answer to on it. It’d be like me accusing you and arch-liberals of being indifferent to whether money is being wasted or effectively spent so long as the can it’s being tossed into is labelled “for teh needy” (which I like to think isn’t how true believer liberals think).Report

          • j r in reply to North says:

            I don’t think that the GOP was forced to move right so much as the southern wing of the party came to dominate over the western and northeastern wings.Report

            • North in reply to j r says:

              Forced is probably too strong a word. Decided to? The GOP economic policy circa 2000 on has basically been mouthing libertarian nostrums while tax cutting and spending like mad on conservative priorities (corporate, agricultural, rural and military subsidies primarily) and then yowling about the debt once their hands are securely away from the levers of power.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to North says:


            The Tea Party was, primarily, a way for the GOP’s supporters to disassociate themselves from a brand tarnished by Bush W’s incompetence and heresies while still being, by and large, still republican.

            THis type of “crawling in the head of other folks” stuff is amazing to me. As a practical outcome that might be right – the dissociation part – but I give the folks who comprise the TeaParty much more credit than that. They were actively and intentionally trying to move the GOP in a specific and very different direction.

            Seems to me anyway.Report

            • North in reply to Stillwater says:

              It’s all supposition Stillwater, but I don’t attribute that level of strategic thinking to your average voter. They were embaressed by the GOP’s run at the helm, they wanted something basically the same as the GOP just more pure. Thus the tea party. I think it’s an explanation that fits the obverved behavior, rise and gradual decline of the Tea Party.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to North says:

                North, I’m not sure who’s more reliant on strategic thinking here. You for saying they were trying to dissociate themselves from Dubya, or me for saying they were trying to move the party in a different direction.

                Seems to me that, as a bare fact, they were trying to move the party in a different direction. I mean, they’ve MOVED THE PARTY IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION.

                Sorry for shouting.Report

              • North in reply to Stillwater says:

                No worries about shouting. I’m honestly thinking it was visceral. “I wanna vote for a republican, I just don’t wanna identify as supporting Bush’s party. Hey here’s an identification that’s more republican than the Republicans and it’s saying bad stuff about Bush. Sign me up and keep yer gummint hands off my social security!”Report

            • Will Truman in reply to Stillwater says:

              For what it’s worth, I believe North is more right than wrong.Report

        • greginak in reply to j r says:

          How about this; the TP was made up of Repub base voters who were disgruntled with what Bush had done. But they are always Repubs mostly of the socon variety as understood in the 90’s and 00’s. If, as you say, the movement was running on culture war fumes the TP was largely breathing deeply and willingly of those fumes.Report

        • Kolohe in reply to j r says:

          The Christian Coalition goes back to the 80s. One can pin a lot of the sorting onto the great political switch during the 70s and 80s. Southern white evangelical protestants from generations of solid Democrat support threw their weight to, what is now, overwhelming Republican support. Then, during the 80s and 90s, that religiosity (specifically, its intensity and colorization of political preference) mimetically migrated to rural areas of the north and west, e.g. Iowa and parts of Colorado. Which is why you get people like Huckabee & Santorum now winning the GOP caucuses there in Corn Central.Report

          • j r in reply to Kolohe says:


            It’s not only the south. I was born in New York City in the mid-70s. There is a large demographic of people that fall into the ethnic whites category. The children and grandchildren and so on of Irish, Italian and Eastern European immigrants. These folks tended to vote Democrat for historical reasons, but were far from socially progressive. And this is far from a New York thing.

            Think of the Howard Beach and Bensonhurst racial attacks. Think of the anti-bussing rallies in Boston or the folks protesting gays in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Up until fairly recently, those folks voted Democrat.Report

            • Kolohe in reply to j r says:

              “Up until fairly recently, those folks voted Democrat.”

              They still do quite often. Their lean Republican proclivity is significantly less severe (pdf, see page 17) than their counterparts in Dixie. (this data is from 2000, but if anything, Republicans have been even further in retreat in that region since then). We’re talking, at most, 55-45 republican preference among white ethnics in New England (and they can be swayed against that preference) versus more like 75-25 Republican preference among white evangelical protestants in the South. (and they can’t be swayed from that preference – are the ones trying to do the swaying in the other direction).Report

            • Kazzy in reply to j r says:


              I’m white. There is no denying it.

              But I’m 100% culturally Italian-American*. My entire family tree hails from the greater NYC area. I spent the first 24 years of my life living in either Boston or NYC, and my time in the former was spent primarily at a Jesuit college. Most of the white people in my hometown were Jewish. But I always grew up thinking of myself as a pretty typical white dude. In recent years — as I’ve gotten to know people outside the bubble I inhabited (both here and in real life) — I’ve learned just how atypical my experience as a white American was. So, yea, I’m white… but I’m not white.

              * I’m 25% Polish with a big ol’ Polish last name, but my grandfather died when my father was very young so he was raised with only Italian influence.Report

        • Chris in reply to j r says:

          Judging by the people whom I know, either personally or through their work, who have been active in the Tea Party movement here in Austin since ’09 or thereabouts, these are the positions that are generally represented (recognizing that Austin, and Texas more generally, may not be representative):

          • Lower Spending
          • Lower Taxes
          • Dealing with the “Crisis” of Illegal Immigration, definitely no amnesty.
          • Anti-abortion
          • Pro-Gun
          • Pro-Pot
          • Some Pro, some Anti-War
          • Anti-“Obamacare”
          • Anti-“Election Fraud”
          • (Mostly) Pro-Religion in Public Sphere*
          • (Mostly) Anti-gay
          • (Mostly) Pro Law and Order
          • Anti-feminist
          • Pro-“Tort Reform”
          • Pro-English as the American language
          • Anti-“Identity Politics” (i.e., talking about race)

          *A few of the people I’ve known who’ve been active in the Tea Party have been big on the Separation of Church and State, but most of them have not been.Report

          • Joe Sal in reply to Chris says:

            @ Chris,
            How does that differ from a random sampling of Texans in your opinion?Report

            • Chris in reply to Joe Sal says:

              Joe, It’s a pretty good mixture of Texas’ two main types of conservatives, the “Come and Take It!” types, who are anti-government, nationalist (even Texas nationalist), and broadly libertarian (the pro-pot, pro-gun, and also get out of my bedroom sort) with its more dominant Christian conservative type, who tend to be fiscally conservative as well of course.Report

    • Kim in reply to j r says:

      I’m making the latter argument, based on my associations with someone who has worked for the Kochs, and was in a position to know about that harebrained scheme.Report

  11. Will Truman says:

    FTR, 90% of the links from Linky Friday and Linkluster (the Hit Coffee variant) come from the same pool. Some go to one or the other depending on what I think each readership might be interested in (and to avoid feeding certain flames). The order is different, though, because one is organized by category and the other is just a collection of links.

    In other words, if you read Linky Friday, you probably don’t need to make a special trip to HC to read Linkluster (but if you are on HC anyway, it might be worth a scan.)Report

  12. Re: bailouts

    Failing to bail out the banks in 2008 would have led to complete economic havoc, far worse even than the long recession. The people who suffered the most would not have been the rich white people who caused the mess, and the Tea Partiers would have been the ones screaming the loudest about how deficits mean having to cut the safety net right when it was needed most, just as they did during the long recession. Even without ethnic and religious bigotry, they are hardly exemplars.Report

  13. Kolohe says:

    Stillwater: I mean, they’ve MOVED THE PARTY IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION.

    From where? For the sake of argument, if we take as a given the two other assertions (and I don’t disagree with them too much) – a) the embryonic tea party was represented by the Ron Paul (sorry RON PAUL!) 2008 campaign and all that stood for and b) was co-opted by the movers and shakers in Republican circles (including the Kochs, but especially Dick Armey) – how have either succeeded in moving the GOP in a different place than what it was during the Gingrich and Bush years?

    The Ron Paul (RON PAUL!) movement is moribund. Rand every so often throws some rhetorical bones in that direction, but just as often throws the red meat that’s little different from either Cruz or Jeb. The GOP almost to a man and woman is now thoroughly invested in the idea of US global hegemony. So no movement there.

    On the other side, the tea party arguably was essential in getting the GOP back in Congressional power, but, like I said, there are so many parallels between how the 94-00 Congresses acted with Clinton and the 2010-present Congresses have acted with Obama that I’m seeing, again, little change in direction. (and this statement isn’t at all normative on how Congress did their job in either era. You can still read this analysis as everything being Clinton’s & Obama’s fault).

    What now would be the considered the biggest heterodoxy in Dubya’s administration was his drive to achieve immigration reform. But it failed then too. So again, no change in direction.Report

  14. zic says:

    I stumbled when I got to this, Vikram:

    When we hear people who say they are Republicans say they don’t want non-Christians around, that feels like a bigger problem than disagreeing on abortion. Religion is identity; abortion is just a platform position.

    Because to me, an atheist, religion seems like an identity, one that there are many to choose from; you can even invent your own, and get rich doing so. See Scientology (L. Ron Hubbard,) Christian Science (Mary Baker Eddy,) the Mormons, the Seventh Day Adventists (started here in Maine). People within an specific religion may feel it’s part of their identity; but I’ve seen people in rock bands feel they same way. And I notice that even devout believers like Rod Dreher get peeved with their particular brand of religion and go elsewhere; Dreher left the Catholic Church and joined a Greek Orthodox congregation over the coverup of sex abuse by Catholic priests.

    But abortion? That goes to one’s very root as a woman, and the ability to control one’s reproductive life and body. Men often think it’s just a ‘party platform’ item, but if you don’t risk getting pregnant, that’s pretty easy to say. And since Jan. 1, there have been nearly 350 state-level laws introduced to control, eliminate, or otherwise limit access to safe abortions. So it’s not just politics, it’s very much about limiting the freedoms and rights of people who identify as female and potentially able to get pregnant.

    So please stop making comparisons like this; abortion isn’t a party platform issue, it’s at the very heart of what it means to be a woman who has the right to control her own body.

    Now excuse this little feminist rant, I’ll go finish reading your otherwise very interesting post.Report

    • Vikram Bath in reply to zic says:

      All of that is fair, and I should confess it was easy for me to say since thankfully the issue hasn’t been a part of my life. In the case of Asians, I think there are plenty who would side with Republicans on the issue but don’t vote for them. It was in that sense that I said the particular issue is subordinate to identity. It seems that almost everyone has to make some platform compromises in our much-beloved two-party system. If it’s a given that you will have to make compromises either way, it makes sense that identity could be a deciding factor.

      I should note also, that it isn’t that religion is that important to Asians as a group (I think). There are the Lane-Kim families from the Gilmore Girls, but there seem to be a whole lot more families who just don’t bother having an opinion. When we see candidates who say that allegiance to their God is the most important thing about them and the most important thing in others, it’s an indicator that there is a very big divide between us.Report

    • Mark Thompson in reply to zic says:

      I’ve got no doubt that for you, personally, and for many feminists, abortion is far more than just a party platform issue, but I don’t think Vikram’s questioning that. I mean, for most people, abortion isn’t a litmus test issue as to whether they’ll support a particular party or candidate. To be sure, there are also certainly individual Asian-Americans for whom it is that, but to the extent it’s possible to talk about Asian-Americans as a group, as Vikram is here, it’s not a make-or-break issue. Indeed, the entire premise to which he’s responding here is the notion that Asian-Americans tend to be closer to Republicans on abortion than Democrats and thus should be more likely to vote for Republicans even as trends show that this rarely happens and is becoming even rarer.

      If it helps, read the sentence as “For Asian voters as a group (to the extent they can be considered as a group with unified interests), abortion is just a platform position.”Report

      • zic in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        First, I think that abortion is a big concern for Asian American women and Asian women in general, @north ; particularly after googling it.

        I’d counter there’s another thing going on here; while we’re talking about a diverse culture, there’s still the old tabus of speaking about women’s issues publicly. (Remember that post I once did about providing sanitary napkins and rest rooms so that girls can go to school after their menses?) The same tabu, discussing sex and female bodily function, results in higher unwanted pregnancy rates. I wish this story was sourced better, but it’s the best I could find: http://newamericamedia.org/2010/09/asian-american-women-who-accept-abortion-as-a-way-out.phpReport

        • North in reply to zic says:

          For the record @zic abortion is a non-negotiable item on my personal priority list. Pro-lifers can lay hands on my sister and nieces rights to their own reproductive health over my dead body. Not a dime or a vote for them from me on the issue ever.Report

          • zic in reply to North says:

            Thanks, @north (and I did mislink).

            I don’t want to derail too much; I just wanted to challenge the thinking that abortion (and contraception, too) are about party platforms while religion is about identity.

            That’s bogus.

            Your family formation is the fundamental cultural formation in any and all cultures; and for women, questions of control of that are central to their identities, not matter their personal or cultural beliefs. Thinking about that in any other terms automatically puts women as second class citizens without a full slate of rights.Report

        • zic in reply to zic says:

          @north, I’m sorry, I was trying to link @mark-thompson.

          I think the linkage you’ve got is backward, Mark. Identity as female can certainly be shaped by religion; I’d not try to convince someone who felt abortion or contraception a sin that they, personally, should partake of either.

          But identity as mother is profound.

          I can choose to associate with my church or to end that association. Becoming a parent? That’s not such an association, that’s a family.Report

  15. DensityDuck says:

    One of the biggest problems in modern American politics is the notion that someone has to like you before you’ll be willing to vote for them.Report

  16. Alan Scott says:

    I understand the appeal of the idea. The Republican Party is for rich white people, and East Asians and brown people are just another flavor of rich white people, right?

    We are in some ways, but we don’t think the Republican Party thinks the same. This will be difficult to fix. (I, of course, speak for all Asians.)

    I’m curious as to whether there might actually be a difference between East Asians and Brown people on this issue.

    Unlike other Asian-Pacific Islander subgroups, East Asians probably aren’t going to be called terrorists or told to go back to Mexico. They’re also a lot more likely to be Christian, so the GOP emphasis on Christianity may not scare them off to the same degree. Of the issues raised in the OP, the only one that seems like it would have salience is the language issue.

    Of course, East Asians are still a minority and I imagine they’re still gonna be pretty uncomfortable with the way the right talks about minorities, but probably more in the “first they came for the…” sense rather than the more personal sense of discomfort described in the original post.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Alan Scott says:

      This is only kind of related, but I went to school with a lot of Asian-Americans from each group, and they actually tracked pretty similarly. Which is to say that a *whole lot* of them were more sympathetic to the Republican Party back in high school… and virtually none of them are now. Some are politically agnostic, others are staunch Democrats. None that I can think of seem liberal (except the ones who were already liberal), but I would be surprised if any of them voted for Romney. (On the other hand, there was a contingent that was pretty staunchly Christian, and I never kept up with them.)

      On the other hand, it’s not like Republicans get 0% of the Asian-American vote. They did (according to polls) get less of the Asian than the Hispanic vote, but that’s atypical and I will be interested to see how it looks in 2016. I suspect you are right, though, that if we were to break it down between South and East Asian, there would be a divergence.Report

    • Vikram Bath in reply to Alan Scott says:

      Alan Scott,

      I wish there was some sort of prize I could give you. I felt a little slimy writing the post with them combined. The two groups really, really don’t consider each other the same as the US government seems to insist we are. And there are some Southeast Asian countries whose immigrants would probably consider themselves racially distinct from either South Asians or East Asians. So, good for you for calling out my sleight of hand.

      Unlike other Asian-Pacific Islander subgroups, East Asians probably aren’t going to be called terrorists or told to go back to Mexico.

      This is true, and I really should talk more to them about this. They are sensitive and aware of the fear of China, but that economic fear is a very different thing than the fear of Muslims.

      They’re also a lot more likely to be Christian, so the GOP emphasis on Christianity may not scare them off to the same degree.

      If they do happen to be Christian, you might be right, but a whole bunch of us are not even if we’re more likely to be Christian than East Asians are. Additionally, most of us who are Christian are Catholic rather than evangelical. I haven’t talked to any brown Catholics to ask how that might affect them. But now that I think about it, I don’t think I really know any brown Catholics personally.

      Alan Scott: Of the issues raised in the OP, the only one that seems like it would have salience is the language issue.

      I meant that issue to really be distrust-of-those-who-say-they-only-oppose-illegal-immigration rather than language. I have confirmed with multiple East Asians that they at one point felt negatively toward illegal immigrants because they had to wait and go through all the administrative hoops to get here. But once they listened to the arguments being made they realized the people who oppose illegal immigration probably aren’t fans of them either.Report

      • Murali in reply to Vikram Bath says:


        All the Indian Christians I know are Catholic.Report

        • Vikram Bath in reply to Murali says:

          I know one family who is Baptist. It’s a childhood friend who started off Hindu and then converted. Everyone else I can think of is either Hindu or Hindu around their parents. I know a couple of Muslims, but they are not from India.Report

        • Alan Scott in reply to Murali says:

          This Pew survey has some great data about the religious affiliation of Asian-American subgroups.

          My intuition that East Asians are more likely to be Christian than other subgroups is only somewhat borne out.
          -Korean Americans are mostly Christian.
          -Japanese and Chinese Americans much less so. But Japanese and Chinese Americans that identify with a religion are still majority Christian. Chinese Americans in particular are unlikely to have a religious affiliation.
          -The most Christian subgroup, though, are Filipinos. They’re mostly Catholic, but there’s also a sizable minority of Filipino Protestants.Report

  17. Barry says:

    “The Tea Party originated as a secular phenomenon. It was borne out of frustration with two presidents and two congresses who never found a campaign contributor they couldn’t afford to bail out.”

    A comment – the Tea Party emerged when the GOP has lost the House, Senate and Presidency; there were not right-wing crowds in the thousands demonstrating when the Bush/Cheney administration was pissing away hundreds of billions of $$$.Report