The Good, The Gaffes, and a General Election: The AAPI Vote for Trump and Biden

We’ll start with an age-old disclaimer: determining the voting habits of any group of Americans is difficult enough as it is; further, it’s an almost impossible task to understand the opinions clouded by the complexities of a multi-ethnic Asian population for the 2020 election. However, it’s important to recognize that the actions of President Trump and Vice President Biden -- during their respective tenures and campaigns -- can be a determining factor to understand how Asian-Americans may feel about voting this year. By analyzing their ups and downs with the Asian community, we can get a glimpse of how AAPIs may feel about these two candidates on the basis of Asian-American issues.

The Highs

Trump has a few things to show off to Asians. He’s appointed the most Asian federal judges of any President by their fourth year in office (however, his nominee diversity of non-white judges is the lowest of his 3 predecessors). Earlier this year, his campaign launched an Asian-Americans for Trump initiative, aimed at bringing awareness to recent policies which have helped Asians impacted by lockdowns (such as the CARES Act or Paycheck Protection Program). Trump also took the time this year to denounce hate crimes against Asians amid the pandemic, stating the need to “totally protect our Asian American community,” and that COVID-19 “is not their fault in any way, shape, or form.”

Going the extra mile, Biden has an entire agenda laid out for the AAPI community (which you can read here). It includes policies such as disaggregating federal data on Asians to portray ethnic diversity, eliminating language barriers in government, and supporting the country’s 2 million AAPI-run businesses. His appointment of Kamala Harris (who is half-Indian) as his V.P. pick