Thursday, January 2, 2020

2019 Review: AAPI political visibility significantly increased

The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus inducted a record number of members.

In the area of politics AAPI stepped into the big stage in a big way in 2019. For the first time in US history, three AAPI candidates threw their hats in the three ring circus known as the race for president. 

Businessman Andrew Yang, was the first to declare his intention in 2018 and with no name recogntion, he has doggedly persisted against all addCalifornia Sen. Kamala Harris declared her candidacy with an impressive Oakland rally with 20,000 of her closest friends. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii joined the largest field of Democratic candidates. By mid-year there were 24 Democrats vying for the partyi's nomination.

Harris, undoubtedly the strongest candidate of the three, surprised almost everyone by being the first to withdraw after Thanksgiving. Yang continues to gain steam while Gabbard is hanging in there.

In addition to the three presidential candidates, three more Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders were sworn into office in January. Andy Kim became the first AAPI congressman to represent New Jersey; TJ Cox eked out a victory in California to become only the second member of Congress with Filipino heritage; and Michael San Nicolas, represented Guam. With the three new congressmembers, the number of AAPI representatives rose to the most ever at 18.

AAPI lawmakers, all of them Democrats, were in the forefront in opposing Trumps racist and restrictive immigration policies, the citizenship question in the 2020 Census and the rise of hate and white supremacists and the GOPs attempts to dismantle the Obama healthcare program They also supported strengthening voting rights, disaggregating data and DACA.

AAPI voters helped turn long-time GOP districts into Democratic districts in 2018 and continued their political activity with voter registration drives for the 2020 elections and demanded the Republicans and Democrats address their issues at the federal, state and local levels.


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