Asian American voters gain more power

August 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
We often hear about the growing clout of Latino voters, but there is another group being called the sleeping giant that is now awake. There is a rising power coming from Asian American voters.

It's a sign of change at this year's democratic convention. For the first time, two prominent Asian Americans will address delegates. U.S. congressman, Mike Honda, and State Controller John Chiang, will speak on Tuesday.

"It is a landmark to see that," says Henry Manayan, the Filipino American Democratic Caucus Chair.

Manayan is flying to the convention Tuesday night. He thinks inviting two powerful Asians to take the stage is a smart move.

"It represents one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the United States that's increasingly growing more influential and affluent," says Manayan.

"I do think it's significant that we're seeing more attention given to this group this year and will probably see higher turnout numbers as well as a result," says Melinda Jackson , San Jose State University political science assistant professor.

Asian Americans now make up about 12 percent of communities nationwide.

There is no voting trend for the entire Asian American population, it's simply too big, but there are some patterns political scientists have been watching. For example, Indian and Vietnamese Americans tend to vote Republican, while the majority of Japanese and Filipino Americans are Democrats.

Nancy Caleebo is Filipino and a volunteer for the San Mateo County Democratic Party. She's sure Honda and Chiang will help unite her party and strengthen her community.

"The thing is now we feel like we're empowered to do something and that we're really being heard," says Nancy Calibjo, San Mateo County Democrats Volunteer.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is the only Asian American slated to speak at the Republican National Convention.


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