Oct 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden homes in on Asian Americans with new campaign

Reproduced from Catalist; Chart: Axios Visuals
Reproduced from Catalist; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Biden campaign is pursuing highly tailored outreach to Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) groups, as Democrats try to turn longtime Republican states like Texas and Georgia blue.

Why it matters: Asian Americans are the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, according to Pew Research Center, and they could be key in swing states where a 1% or 2% lead can determine a race.

  • Biden's campaign materials have been translated into 20 Asian languages, including Hmong, Tagalog and Tamil.
  • The campaign is also working with ethnic media in battleground states like Texas and Michigan, where Asian voters make up 3% to 5% of the population, to publicize Biden’s message.
  • The Democratic National Committee rolled out its own multilingual ad campaign hypertargeting AAPI voters in a slew of battleground states last week.

Where it stands: Biden is pushing a get-out-the-vote campaign heading into Nov. 3, featuring Kamala Harris, Biden's running mate, and a cross-section of AAPI celebrities, including actor and retired wrestler Dwayne Johnson, filmmaker Mindy Kaling, actor Lucy Liu, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the stars of "Joy Luck Club."

  • “Representation matters and in this election, we have an opportunity to be represented at the highest level. Joe will ensure that our voices are heard at all levels, starting with Kamala’s in the office of the vice president," said Dennis Cheng, senior adviser of external outreach for the Biden-Harris campaign.

The big picture: Biden held a 24-percentage-point lead over Trump with Asian American voters as of the summer, according to the 2020 Asian American Voter Survey — but the Biden campaign is pushing to draw in any remaining undecideds and turn out voters who have made up their minds.

  • Over 2.5 million AAPIs have voted as of Thursday, far surpassing early voting numbers at the same point in 2016.
  • Michael Frias, CEO of Democratic data firm Catalist, tells Axios that this year’s broad growth in turnout is seen mostly among young Asian Americans.
  • Political parties were less likely to contact AAPIs than white or Black Americans in 2016.

The other side: The Trump campaign declined to answer questions about its media spending for the AAPI electorate, but deputy national press secretary Ken Farnaso said, “Asian Americans, myself included, have consistently supported candidates who advocate for a safe and strong America, more of their hard-earned money in their pockets, the freedom to pick the best schools for our children and lower taxes."

Go deeper: Why minority voter participation matters

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