Asian Americans, people of color not taken for granted by Clinton, but she isn’t focused on us


On Friday, Hillary Clinton was at a joint meeting of the National Association of Black Journalists/National Association of Hispanic Journalists and mentioned a South Asian American, Khizr Khan.

The Constitution-toting Khan has become democracy’s “model minority supreme.”

The South Asian immigrant, Harvard-trained lawyer, whose son was a Gold Star hero, may have singlehandedly changed the post-convention media climate with his DNC punchout of Trump. He provoked The Donald more than Hillary’s acceptance speech.

At NABJ/NAHJ, Clinton mentioned Trump’s reaction to Khan, but also reminded us she has broader concerns when it comes to beating Trump.

“I will stand up and call him out on that,” Clinton told the D.C. audience. “But I will also keep reaching out to Americans of all races and ethnicities, wherever they live, to tell them I am not going to forget about them after this election. I am going to work my heart out to help every single person have a better job with a rising income, and make sure their kids get a good education and everything else I think they are owed in America.”

Clinton knows she can’t stop reaching out to Trump’s mostly white supporters, even though the poll numbers for Trump are dropping.

The new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll of 800 registered voters had Clinton up 9 points over Trump, 47 percent to 38 percent. A McClatchy/Marist poll had Trump down by 15. A Fox poll had Trump down by 10.

But the poll is taken among registered voters. Those who care. Likely voters.

Those aren’t the typical Trump supporters.

The Trump voters are democracy’s wild card. They’re the ones who are mad as hell and willing to vote against their best interest. It’s the monkey wrench vote.

They are the voters who don’t normally participate in elections. They think government is crap. And Hillary’s a liar. They love all the off-the-cuff scuds Trump throws into the political air.

Trump voters are the people democracy has forgotten. Generally speaking, they are the non-college educated who haven’t registered, haven’t voted. But they are just mad enough to vote now.

That’s the Trump revolution.

If pollsters are fishing for numbers among likely registered voters, sure, Trump is tanking. But it’s the wrong fishing hole.

According to a New York Times estimate, there are 88 million eligible adults who do not vote at all.

Add to that another 73 million who didn’t vote in the primaries, but may be attracted by the train wreck that is Trump to cast a “joke” vote.

Those are the potential voters who will make the difference in this cynical election year.

“Some of the appeal is xenophobic and racist and misogynist and offensive, we have to acknowledge that,” Clinton said in a Q&A session after her NABJ/NAHJ talk. “But let’s not lose sight of the real pain that many Americans are feeling because the economy has left them behind.”

Clinton continued: “I want to be the president for all Americans. I want to lift up and give everybody a chance to pursue their dreams, and that means people who are supporting him.”

It doesn’t mean she’s taking people of color for granted, mind you. She said as much to a Latino journalist.

“I don’t take any voter for granted,” said Clinton.

But we’ll see if Clinton shows up and speaks at the Asian American Journalists Association, which has a separate meeting coming up on Friday, Aug. 12 in Las Vegas.

In previous years, there was a journalism confab called Unity that brought all the different minority groups together every four years. No more. No one could agree on how to keep it afloat, and Unity died.

So it’s odd that in 2016, here’s Clinton talking about unity. But there’s no Unity. And it’s still unclear if she’s coming to Vegas.

Like the black and Latino vote, Asian Americans may go with Clinton. In 2012, Obama won 73 percent of the Asian American vote.

What will happen in 2016?

A recent National Asian American Survey found shows the most conservative Asian Americans, Filipinos and Vietnamese, are distrustful of Clinton and aren’t giving her a second look. They remain holdouts for Trump.

“Trump has said so many stupid things during the primaries,” one Filipino Republican told me this week, indicating a belief in Trump’s immunity to stupidity. “I am unhappy with this Khan scenario,” he added. “But it’s still not enough for me to switch to Hillary.”

That voter may ultimately switch, after Trump recently included the Philippines among the countries where he’d restrict immigration. But the Trump Asian Americans are small in number and aren’t the problem like the poll-spoilers–the non-voters who find themselves drawn by Trump, come out of nowhere and suddenly care.

They’re the monkey wrench voters of 2016 Clinton needs to worry about.

Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
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The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF’s views or policies.
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