About those suburban voters…

We seem to forget how many are actually Asian-American

A consensus verdict on the 2020 election has been that suburban voters did Trump in. In the public mind’s eye, what really decided the election was a Carol Brady-like figure, the white suburban mom, who, alarmed by Trump’s indifference to public health and his general vulgarity, went with good old Joe Biden.

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What complicates this picture and seems grossly overlooked is how much of the American suburban population is now Asian-American (Korean, Indian, Vietnamese, Filipino and Chinese-American especially). That’s not just true of the country, but also of Atlanta, Philadelphia, Houston and Las Vegas — the major cities in swing states. It matters because, according to exit polls, Asian-Americans broke strongly for Biden.

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To take one example: Gwinnett County was was among the suburban Atlanta counties that went hard for Biden: it is about one quarter Asian, mainly Indian-Americans and Koreans. In Houston and around Las Vegas, in the swing states of Texas and Nevada, Asian are the fastest growing population group. Montgomery county, a suburban of Philadelphia, and another key 2020 county, has a large Indian, Korean and Chinese population.

But you wouldn’t know this from an post-electoral analysis that has mainly focused on white suburban women, coupled with an enormous effort to dissect and understand the Latino and black vote. (There are a few exceptions, like this). I raise this point not because I think Asian-Americans should try and take credit for electing Biden. Nor do I think that the votes of suburban women or blacks or Latinos didn’t matter — of course they did.(In fact, I think it is wrong and divisive for any one group to take credit when nearly 79 million people voted for the candidate.) But there is good reason to think Asian-Americans, living in the suburbs, sure helped.

We may add to that the fact that Andrew Yang was the first Chinese-American Presidential candidate to make an important impact, and that Kamala Harris, for her part, was the first Indian-American woman to be elected Vice President —

Not so bad, actually.

Professor at Columbia University; author of “The Curse of Bigness,” “The Attention Merchants,” and “The Master Switch;” veteran of Silicon Valley & Obama Admin.

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