At a Historic Moment for Asian-American Candidates, Andrew Yang Leans In

At a Historic Moment for Asian-American Candidates, Andrew Yang Leans In


Interest in Mr. Yang’s candidacy has been particularly high among younger, second-generation Asian-Americans, especially Chinese Americans like Ms. Jin. Many of his most fervent supporters are involved in the technology industry and actively promote him on social media. Some have even become enthusiastic members of the “Yang Gang,” the name given to Mr. Yang’s most devoted supporters.

Norman Qian, 20, of Flushing, Queens, said he had first become aware of Mr. Yang’s candidacy because of friends in his predominantly Asian-American neighborhood. When he looked harder at Mr. Yang’s website, he said, he found he appreciated that Mr. Yang appeared data-driven and policy-oriented.

“I really believe in his analysis of automation and how that’s going to take away jobs,” Mr. Qian said. “I also love the fact that Asian-Americans have been seeing more representation in our government, and I think Andrew Yang is at the forefront of all that.”

Research has shown that having Asian-American candidates in a campaign increases voter turnout by and donations from members of the racial group. Asian turnout increased nationwide from 27 percent in 2014 to 41 percent in 2018, a year when dozens of Asian-American or Pacific Islander candidates ran for Congress, according to one analysis.

But while Asian-Americans are steadily gaining more political power, they have not reached the point where they can propel candidates to victory on their own. Only one congressional district in the mainland United States, in Northern California, is majority Asian-American. Any viable candidate for president will, of course, need to build broad coalitions across demographic groups, experts said.

Shekar Narasimhan, the chairman of AAPI Victory Fund, a super PAC focused on mobilizing voters, projected that the continued anti-immigration rhetoric by President Trump and Republicans in Congress could help drive 1 million new Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders to vote next November.

“I don’t know if an AAPI candidate is going to win the presidency in 2020, but we are playing a long game,” Mr. Narasimhan said. “Do I think Andrew Yang will have an influence on the race and will make a difference? I absolutely do.”



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