Asian Americans – NC’s fastest growing ethnic group – say political parties don’t engage with them


DURHAM, NC (WTVD) — Jimmy Patel-Nguyen grew up in Charlotte and now lives in Durham. He is the son of Vietnamese refugees who moved to North Carolina after the Vietnam War. Voting is important to him.

“Applicants are not aimed at Asian American communities in North Carolina, Patel-Nguyen said. “I think right now they’re not aware that the Asian American population is growing as fast as it is. And also neglecting the voting power we have.”

Census data shows that Asians in North Carolina are the fastest growing ethnic group in the state. There was a 64% increase from 2010 to 2020.

Results from the 2022 Asian American Voters Survey showed that more than two-thirds of registered Asian Americans who were surveyed plan to vote, but only half were contacted by one or the other of the main parties.

Digging deeper, 52% of Asian Americans said they had not been contacted by the Democratic Party in the past year and 60% said they had not been contacted by the Republican Party.

“Two simple reasons. One, they don’t have a track record of it. They tend to be very traditional, which means they do what has worked in previous elections,” said David McLennan, professor of political science at Meredith College. .

He explained that political parties are not used to having political power in the Asian community while saying this is something they must overcome if they are to win the votes of this ethnic group in full growth.

“They need to recognize that all voters matter, including the AAPI community,” he said. “It could be as simple as going to neighborhoods where people live. It would be about making sure the message isn’t just reaching out to voters generically, but to certain groups of voters.”

Patel-Nguyen suggested that candidates provide multilingual election materials, which helps those voters feel seen.

“Asian Americans are North Carolinians,” Patel-Nguyen said. “When our communities are ignored, policies are put in place that disregard our needs and are, in fact, hurting us and not serving us.”

Jimmy Patel-Nguyen is also communications director for North Carolina Asian Americans Together. He explained that this is the experience of many Asians across the state. Patel-Nguyen thinks it’s time for the candidates to recognize this because there will be several midterm elections in November that will be influenced by the Asian American vote. Here’s how he explains his community showcasing his voting power in the primaries.

“A recent election in Fayetteville for city council and candidate Mario Benavente won his race by just six votes last week. In Fayetteville, there is a long-established and rapidly growing Asian American community. So , without a doubt, this community helped play a role in Mario’s narrow victory. He will be the first Korean-American to serve on the Fayetteville City Council,” Patel-Nguyen said.

ABC11 has contacted both political parties for a reaction, but has yet to receive a response.

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