Friday, May 12, 2017

Will the next U.S. president be an Asian American or Pacific Islander?

Sen. Kamala Harris, left, and actor Dwayne Johnson have been mentined as possible presidential candidates.

WITHIN JUST A few days this week, speculation about two AAPI individuals, a politician and a Hollywood celebrity, as possible candidates for president.

On Tuesday, the Sacramento Bee, the flagship of McClatchey newspapers, did a speculative piece on California Sen. Kamala Harris and Gentleman's Quarterly, the men's magazine on the racks today (May 10), asked actor Dwayne Johnson about his political ambitions. Johnson is also the cover story for the conservative National Review.
Harris, a first-time senator, has been noticed by national media, with an impressive resume, she's been on the right side of issues- immigration and health care - important to her base, making appearances to key constituencies beyond California and nurturing relationships with the movers and shakers among Democrats. 
The daughter of a Jamaican father and Indian mother, Harris has also scheduled a series of trips to other countries, perhaps to build up her foreign policy credentials.
As California's attorney general, she fought Wall Street interests responsible for the foreclosure crisis, fought for environmental standards and initiated a series of reforms in the criminal justice system.
While she's repeatedly said she's not seeking the presidency, she appears to be checking off all the right boxes for someone who is eyeing the White House.
It is way too early for anyone to start actively campaigning for the highest office in the country. Obama denied his ambitions at the same time in his brief time in the Senate.
Perhaps more surprising is the emergence of former pro-wrestler Johnson as a possibility. One of the most popular stars in Hollywood, the Hayward-born movie star says there is “a real possibility” that he will one day run for US president.
It's not the first time Johnson's name has popped up in the presidential sweepstakes. When the Washington Post mentioned him as a possibility, he told GQ that's when he began considering seriously about what to do after acting.
And we now know how powerful having that pop-culture popularity can overcome what might be considered a liability - the lack of political experience. Ronald Reagan at least had the California governorship under his belt when he sought the presidency. The current White House inhabitant never held an elected office.
In 2016 he tells GQ that both Clinton and Trump sought his endorsement but he never committed to either one. A registered independent, he spoke at the GOP convention but he also attended the Democratic convention.
In the interview, Johnson, whose father is African/American and mother is Samoan, hw also criticized Trump’s attempts to ban immigrants from Muslim-dominated countries, saying such a move contravenes American values.


“I completely disagree with it,” Johnson said. “I believe in our national security to the core, but I don’t believe in a ‘ban’ that bans immigrants. I believe in inclusion. Our country was built on that, and it continues to be made strong by that. And the decision felt like a snap judgment … Within 24 hours, we saw a ‘tail effect’. It grew to heartache, it grew to a great deal of pain, it grew to a great deal of confusion, and it had a lot of people scrambling.”

Don't laugh too hard if The Rock throws his hat in the ring. That's what we did when Trump announced his intentions. 


Having an AAPI president living in the White House would certainly raise the profile of all AAPIs in the U.S. Considering the last two occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., anything is possible.

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