I’ve been asked by a lot of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) from across the country how they can attend the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH. This tells me the Republican National Committee (RNC) has been successful in encouraging AAPIs to actively participate in the political and electoral process.
The RNC is committed to working with different AAPI communities. Each ethnicity and demographic has their own culture and their own heritage and, as immigrants, have their own issues they value. The AAPI electorate is not monolithic. The RNC has built an institution where we understand and welcome these differences, and develop an engagement program to have our activists and supporters better communicate Republican principles to our disparate ethnicities, and even more importantly, listen to them.
The RNC has also led the way with the hiring of a diverse workforce. Not including our field staffers, neighborhood team leaders, and volunteers in the states, we have AAPI staff working in areas as important as engineering, data, digital, press, research, and administration. Staffers of all backgrounds participate in our strategy sessions to ensure the issues of concern to AAPIs get the attention they deserve.
The RNC has developed a robust AAPI grassroots engagement program. We are working with our 100+ AAPI elected officeholders and AAPI party officials at the local, state, and national levels to ensure more of our communities are a part of the political process. This is not just a California, New York, and Texas strategy; this is a 50-state and 6-territory strategy where every AAPI ethnicity has a seat at the table, and their voices are included in the discussion.
In the past three years we’ve effectively communicated with AAPI voters through developing native-language ads in ethnic community newspapers, targeting millennial AAPI voters via web ads and social media, and using Asian entertainment-streaming websites.
The RNC is continuing a multi-million dollar investment effort to compete for the AAPI vote. Our initiatives are more than paying for booths at cultural events, festivals, and advertising; we are out there engaging AAPI voters where they work, live, and play. These long-term investments are already making our party stronger. Under the leadership of Chairman Priebus, Republicans achieved 50 percent of the AAPI vote in the 2014 midterm elections. In 2010, the GOP share of the AAPI vote was 40 percent. We as a party have gained momentum in winning the AAPI vote and we expect to pick up steam as we head into Election Day.
I was taught at an early age that actions speak louder than words. Politics is no different. I believe the Republican Party is an institution made for AAPI communities. In order to grow our party, our strategy is simple: we listen to AAPIs about what is important, and then build meaningful engagement initiatives without pandering. More than ever before, the Republican Party is dedicated to earning the support of AAPI voters.
Jason Chung is the Director of APA Engagement for the Republican National Committee.