Asian voters turning Orange County blue? Don't bet on it

The press is puffing up the familiar refrain of California turning blue (hey, we know) with Orange County in particular going that way because of its high Asian immigrant count.

According to the New York Times:

Chinese and Korean immigrants, and Asian-Americans from other states, have made Irvine nearly half Asian.


“Asians,” said Sukhee Kang, who became the first Korean-American to run a major American city when he was elected mayor of Irvine in 2008, “are good for business.”

Whether Asians are also good for votes is one of the biggest political questions driving this year’s midterm races in Orange County, where Democrats are counting on immigrants to help the party pull off, if not quite a blue wave, then at least an unmistakable purpling.

Orange County is now one-fifth Asian and more than one-third Latino, with a Little Saigon in Garden Grove and Westminster; a Koreatown in nearby Buena Park that is beginning to rival Los Angeles’s; and a thriving Latino community centered in Santa Ana. Forty-five percent of the county’s households speak a language other than English.

The New York Times frames the issue as if Democrats are entitled to Asian-American votes and there is no similar effort on the part of Republicans to win those same votes, which is contradicted by some of the information in the Times piece, to be discussed in a moment.

What it shows is that the plantation mentality is alive and well on the left, given that Asians are at least as likely to vote Republican as Democrat, yet Democrats consider these voters all theirs. To the Times, the only thing worth looking at is how Asians are supposedly turning Orange County blue by virtue of being Asian or something, instead of the growing trends that show a shift toward red.

Since the Times seems to be cheerleading for this particular side with its framing of the issue, let's pop their bubble: They shouldn't bet on it.

The trends emerging are how Democrats' customary identity politics are colliding headlong into Asian immigrants pursuit of the American Dream.

It started at least in 2014, when Asian Americans mobilized against a law in California that would have kept Asian-Americans out of the state's best schools:

And though they tend to hold liberal views on issues like gun control, climate change and public spending, the political causes that some Asian-Americans have rallied around in recent years have veered conservative. Organizing on the social media platform WeChat, Chinese immigrants mobilized in 2014 to kill legislation that would have resurrected affirmative action at California universities.

Well, yeah. And President Trump's efforts to scrutinize Harvard's and other colleges' affirmative action policies for discrimination against Asians has been, to say the least, more aligned with Asians' views on merit-based university admissions.

Yet the Democrats keep pursuing anti-meritocratic policies that shut Asians out and cater to other special interest groups.

Get a load of this one by Mayor Bill DeBlasio just this past week, over in New York, a move that would completely penalize Asian-American strivers in favor of those of fewer achievements but the right skin tone:

De Blasio wants to scrap admissions testing for elite high schools

That's a hot issue among Asian Americans, because it's their non-wealthy kids who stand to lose out.

Illegal immigrants are another big deal to Asian-American immigrants, particularly in Orange County, and their WeChat mobilization on that is pretty significant, according to this 2017 piece in the Pacific Standard.

 In WeChat groups, they grumbled about increases in crime rates, which they believed to be driven by MS-13 gang members; and higher property taxes, the cause of which they pinned on an influx of undocumented immigrant students coming into their local schools.

Sanctuary legislation, they believed, would only drive more undocumented immigrants to move into their communities. They decided that their next fight would be to kill not only the pro-sanctuary city bill in the Maryland statehouse, but to go after city and county ordinances as well. Wearing bright yellow T-shirts, they began showing up at hearings around the state, often testifying late into the night, and sometimes in apocalyptic turns. "If this bill is passed, there will be no safe neighborhoods anymore, and Maryland will become a haven for criminals," said one MD-CAN member, Jing Chen, at a committee hearing in the state capitol.

Note that the cities in California's anti-sanctuary state movement, has Orange County cities at its epicenter and nearly all of these cities have high Asian populations. It's those cities that are rebelling.

In March, the small city of Los Alamitos was the first to announce that they would put their commitment to federal law over state regulations, drafting an ordinance that would let them opt out of state-level sanctuary laws. Emboldened, other cities in Orange and San Diego Counties are drafting exemption ordinances of their own.

Here's another one: Democrats running Irvine and Orange County proper have begun dumping the homeless onto the cities of Asian-Americans, reducing the quality of their lives as bums take over in the shopping malls and city streets. Asian Americans rebelled against that, too, putting Democrats on the run. At the time, I wrote about it like this:

Liberals were in for a surprise when legal Asian immigrant families fought back at their efforts to dump the homeless of Orange County into their ICity of Irvine community, thinking that since they were Asians, they wouldn't complain.

Apparently, they complained mightily, as this story in the Los Angeles Times shows:

My argument now? The Times is about 20 years too late. Instead of Asians turning Orange County blue, there are far greater signs that they are beginning to move things back to red. Asian immigrants have been relatively reliable Democratic voters for a few decades, but Democrats have consistently worked against their interests, not only on school admissions, but on sanctuary to illegal immigrants, and on where to dump the homeless. GOP gubernatorial frontrunner John Cox can go (and probably is going) after these voters in his race for governor with ferocity because they're on the edge of a trend in a pattern that is holding.
Why does the press call Asian-Americans such reliably Democratic voters? Well, the leadership of Asian-American organizations tends to be very identity-politics-oriented far left, and those are the people who often get quoted as spokespeople for Asians themselves. The 2014 vote, with the WeChat Asian voters making an end-run around those very community "leaders" and supposedspokespeople, showed that there is a sizable group of conservatives out there who aren't being represented. The Times does admit that conservatives are out there, but can't make heads or tails of it in any trend-sense, noting the candidacy of a Korean-American Republican for Congress.
A front-runner to replace Ed Royce, a retiring Republican congressman who represents heavily Hispanic and Asian parts of northern Orange County, is a Korean-born Republican former state legislator named Young Kim.
What do we have here? Just a media bid to frame Asian-Americans as somehow the captive property of the Democrats and their plantation, a shiny new voter constituency that will vote Democrat as reliably as black voters have done in the pre-Trump past. As if these newcomers are immune to the forces that are bringing all non-traditional Republican voting groups toward the great wave that elected President Trump. Based on what's been really happening out there, much of which is coming from Orange County itself, all things point to at least some Asian-American shift toward Republicans. That's what's news.
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