Asian Americans are shifting to the right as their political support for Republicans rose from 23 percent to 40 percent, with voters pining social issues like crime and failed education equity programs on progressive lawmakers.
Asian Americans in San Francisco blame hyper-progressive Democratic policies for reinforcing some of the sentiment that has fueled a slew of anti-Asian hate crimes in recent years.
Between 2018 – the middle of Donald Trump’s presidency – and 2022, Asian American support for Republican candidates has increased by 17 percent.
In 2018, Asian Americans supported Democrats at 77 percent and Republicans at 23 percent. But by 2022, those numbers had changed to 58 percent Democrat and 40 percent Republican.
Graph showing the 17 percent shift in Asian support for Republicans during the last two national elections
Joel Engardio speaks at a rally in support of the San Francisco School Board recall in Carl Larsen Park at a rally in the Sunset District of San Francisco, California
In the last several elections, Republican campaigns have expanded their reach to Asian voters, while Democratic candidates have been accused of becoming complacent.
Asian voters in particular are outraged by the way Democratic leaders handled education issues during the long period of lockdown.
In San Francisco, voters were particularly outraged when local officials offered a plan to rename several dozen area schools, named after allegedly troubled individuals, before introducing a plan to get kids back in the classroom.
In New York and Virginia, Asian voters were dissatisfied with proposals to change magnetic high school rules and eliminate honors programs.
Crime is another major problem motivating the Asian community. The Republicans’ anti-crime message resonated with Asian voters after a noticeable increase in crime in metropolitan centers.
During the pandemic, in New York City, Asian hate crimes skyrocketed by 343 percent from 2020 to 2021, with 133 Asian Americans experiencing dangerous discrimination.
At the time the statistics were released, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is notorious for lowering criminal charges whenever possible and using jail exclusively as a last resort, said:
‘Us [Asian American and Pacific Islander] brothers and sisters have been spat on, coughed out, told to go back home. In my office, we are deepening our capacity,” he said on Friday.
“We’re expanding our hate crimes unit so we can give these cases the resources they deserve.”
San Francisco’s Allene Jue said she saw violent hate crimes against members of her community instill fear in the area during the pandemic and, in her opinion, faced an inappropriate amount of action from local law enforcement.
Jue, who traditionally considers himself a Democrat, became one of the members of the Asian-American community to swing right during the 2022 midterm elections, and it didn’t stop there.
She began stuffing envelopes for the recall of former district attorney Chesa Boudin, and went on to appear in Chinese ads for a moderate Democrat running for city overseer.
In San Francisco, Joel Engardio, a gay married man who describes himself as a liberal, ousted a progressive Chinese-American incumbent last year to represent the majority-Asian-American Sunset District.
“We haven’t followed that definition of progressive for too long. Progressive is a city that works and functions and builds for the future,” says Engardio
Engardio defeated a progressive Chinese-American representative from the Sunset District, a predominantly Asian area
“To me, progressive thinking is about going into the future and building a better city,” he told CNN.
“We haven’t followed that definition of progressive for too long. Progressive is a city that works and functions and builds for the future.’
Engardio campaigned to help small businesses navigate the city’s complex bureaucracy, put more officers on the street, and use merit standards in public schools.
He believes that his race, while a close-knit race, should send shivers down the nation’s Democrats.
“We should all pay attention that San Francisco, the most liberal place in America, says enough. We want safe streets. We want good schools. Everyone should say that: pay attention.’