28 October 2008

Vietnamese-American Youth Turn Democratic

At least, that's the conclusion of San Jose Mercury-News, based on newly registered voters under 30 in Silicon Valley with Vietnamese surnames.

San Jose Mercury News

Older Vietnamese refugees are so obsessed with their communist homeland, and containing it at all costs, that they have wholeheartedly supported the Republican war machine and its disdain for "socialist" domestic programs. Reagan, W, and McCain have all been considered heroes in the Vietnamese-American community. Democrats have been seen as communist sympathizers. This mirrors the mentality seen in the Cuban-American community. In fact, the Vietnamese-American community is the only Asian-American demographic that prefers McCain over Obama. (Though I am pretty sure that the Korean-Americans must be very close.)

But that is changing. It's been over 30 years since Saigon fell, and the Vietnamese refugees have produced a generation of American-born and American-raised offsprings, who are no different from any other Americans. Their concerns are more likely to be on social issues and economic justice. They are more likely to be critical of McCain's (and the Republicans') stances on reproductive choice, gays, and domestic programs. The Mercury News, in fact, states that Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 4-to-1 margin among this new group of Vietnamese-Americans.

Another factor at play here: the current arrivals from Vietnam are well-to-do people who come in through normal immigration channels (as opposed to refugee status), and harbor less of an outright knee-jerk hatred toward the Hanoi government. They love both America and Vietnam, and unlike the earlier refugees, support stronger ties between the two nations. For them, becoming Republican is much less automatic.

If the Republicans can't even hold on to the Vietnamese vote, they really have a lot of trouble brewing.