Finding Asian-Americans delegates, specifically Vietnamese-Americans, at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, was like finding Waldo in a sea of whiteness. In contrast, the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia took pride in having a diversity of delegates from a much wider range of backgrounds.
According to Pew Research, there were 713 superdelegates at the Democratic Party; superdelegates include members on the Democratic National Committee, senators, congressional members, and governors. Although the majority of the superdelegates were 62 percent White, 3 percent were represented by Asian-Americans.
Of those 3 percent present, many Vietnamese-Americans in the body of Asian-Americans were supporting Hillary Clinton, who became the first woman of a major political party to be nominated and accepted the presidential nomination. In fact, there is an organized group called “Vietnamese Americans for Hillary,” with the flag with the three stripes embodied in the signature forward sign in Clinton’s slogan. A coalition of Vietnamese-Americans targeting Vietnamese voters - a group that has historically had lower voter turnout, puts the Vietnamese and Asian community at large on the radar.
At the DNC, to name a couple Vietnamese-Americans, included City of Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen from California and business woman Stephanie Murphy from Florida. Both Nguyen and Murphy are running for Congress and are candidates with a history of firsts or soon to be firsts. Bao Nguyen is Garden Grove’s first Vietnamese-American and openly LGBTQ Mayor. Stephanie Murphy would be the first Vietnamese-American congresswoman elected.
While there are many critical issues at stake for the 2016 presidential election, immigration is a particular issue that Vietnamese-Americans can and should be able to relate to. Rejecting immigrants, especially by means of buildings walls, is such an incredulous notion. The United States was a safe haven for refugees fleeing the Vietnam War, as it continues to be built by and for future generations of immigrants. With the representation of Vietnamese-American delegates in the body of Asian Americans at the DNC, it speaks volume to the growing demographics and thus proportional influence of Vietnamese-Americans in politics.
If you like stories like this, subscribe to Chopsticks Alley.
She is a lover of politics. She has researched and worked in different levels of government in San Jose, Sacramento, Washington D.C., and Thailand. She is motivated to highlight issues impacting the Vietnamese-American community and Asian American communities at large. She was formerly a Cal-in-Sacramento Fellow at UC Berkeley and notably a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow at the Goldman School of Public Policy. She wants to write to show why politics, especially in 2016, is important.