There has been a lot of attention paid to the Hispanic vote in the past year but the Republican problem with minorities extends to many groups. Lloyd Green looked at why Republicans are losing votes among Asians. Some groups such as African-Americans might be less likely to vote for Republicans due to their history of racism and Hispanics might vote against Republicans for their views on immigration (which may also stem from conservative racism). Republicans have not provided comparable reasons for Asian-Americans to vote against them, but there are aspects of Republican policies which are unattractive to Asian-Americans. Green argues that Asian-Americans are voting against Republicans for the same reason as many other educated Americans:
These days, the GOP strikes Asian-Americans, along with many other Americans, as hostile to science and modernity. For example, George W. Bush severely restricted the use of federal funds for embryonic stem-cell research and cast his very first presidential veto to block enactment of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. More recently, Congressman Paul Broun of Georgia—a member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee and a prospective Senate candidate—declared that evolution, embryology, and the Big Bang were lies that emanated from the pit of Hell. Apparently, a low-taxes-only agenda is no longer enough to woo a demographic whose median household income exceeds $90,000 by the time that they become third-generation Americans.
And there is a further rub. According to the Pew Research Center, a majority of Asian immigrants hold at least a college degree—compared with less than one in three members of the overall adult population. At Cal Tech—where race, ethnicity, and legacy status are excluded from admissions criteria—Asian-Americans comprise nearly 40 percent of the student body. At MIT, which professes a commitment to diversity, Asian-Americans comprise more than a quarter of students.
What’s more, Asian-American students tend to concentrate in the STEM jobs—sciences, technology, mathematics, and engineering—that are crucial to our economy. Thus, in a sense, Asian-Americans are not just another ethnic group waiting for a politician to march in a parade, eat some exotic food, and then announce a community grant or shill for votes. Rather, they are also a subset of high-tech America, and one thing is clear: high-tech America is not in love with the Republican Party.
This is consistent with other findings from Pew Research showing that many believe the Republicans are out of touch with the modern world:
At a time when the Republican Party’s image is at a historic low, 62% of the public says the GOP is out of touch with the American people, 56% think it is not open to change and 52% say the party is too extreme.
Opinions about the Democratic Party are mixed, but the party is viewed more positively than the GOP in every dimension tested except one. Somewhat more say the Republican Party than the Democratic Party has strong principles (63% vs. 57%).
Being seen as having strong principles might not necessarily be good in terms of modern political issues. Often Republicans chose their principles and ideology over facts while Democrats tend to take a more pragmatic view of the issues. The bigger problem is that while Republicans may be characterized more by strong principles, Republicans follow the wrong principles in opposing science, knowledge, and the modern world. On the other hand, there are times when I would like to see the Democrats more consistently defend liberal principles.