UCLA Newsroom Election Blog
The 2008 presidential election is a watershed for the Asian American vote, at least in California. Of course, I fully acknowledge Hawaii's historical role in politically mobilizing this population as an effective voting bloc, and in consistently electing "their own" into state and national offices. Very recently, the Golden State has joined the Aloha state as a place where Asian Americans constitute a significant electoral force, one that cannot be easily ignored.
My colleague Don Nakanishi foresaw this development many years ago, and he and I argued in 2006 that the Asian American population is the new and awakening "sleeping giant" in California politics, much like Latinos were a generation ago. The demographic facts are strikingly similar. In 1990, 2.4 million Latino were eligible to register to vote, comprising 13% of all adult citizens in the state. In 2007, 2.7 million Asian Americans achieved the same status, comprising over 12% of California's eligible individuals. According to at least one estimate, the latter group now comprises about one in eight registered state voters. Their presence could have been even greater if community and advocacy groups have had the resources to help naturalize immigrants, register them, and turn out the vote...