Since we exist here in somewhat of a bubble on the blogospheric right, it can be easy to lose sight of how widespread and influential opposition propaganda about Republicans has been, and how certain Republican positions—largely misunderstood—feed right into it. The results of this election have brought it home though, loud and clear. I don’t have a solution for the problem, because propaganda is simple and the response to it is complex and much less likely to be listened to. But I still think it’s interesting to see what’s out there.
In particular, there were some startling comments to this article about why Asian Americans voted so strongly Democratic this year despite the fact that they would seem to be a constituency to which Republican principles would appeal. No one is saying that the loss of the Asian American vote caused the Republican loss in 2012, but I think some of the comments shed light on how it could be that a majority of voters could say they trusted Romney more with the economy (or that they wanted less federal government), and yet vote for Obama.
Here, in no particular order, are some of those comments that I found especially interesting:
As an Asian-American, the questioning of Obama’s American-ness really strikes a raw nerve. (This is perhaps the one experience that unites Asian-Americans — being treated as a foreigner in our homeland).
With the birther conspiracy theory and muslim quips this year, you can add “racist” and “exclusionary” to that long list of reasons why Asians didn’t vote Republican.
Even if lower taxes might benefit the small business owners and successful professionals, there’s a strong sense that you’re not a real American in the Republican view point, unless you’re white. Definitely not if you’re a half Kenyan raised in Indonesia. And not if your parents struggled for 10 years to navigate the immigration process to the US from Taiwan.
Republicans are recognized here and worldwide as Bible thumping, anti-gay, anti-abortion creationists – true, but they are also seen as being sexist, racist, religiously intolerant, gun toting and trigger happy. And yes, their social agenda outweighs any actual sense being spoken of in the financial realm.
I am an Asian American whose household income is >$250k. I am attracted to arguments of fiscal discipline, less government interference in daily life, greater personal responsibility, and free enterprise. However, I refuse to vote for Republicans because I am so put off by the positions and rhetoric of social conservatives. Republicans are indeed the party of Bible-thumping, anti-gay, anti-science, anti-abortion creationists. Although I am not crazy about the Democrats’ confiscatory and redistributionist policies, I am much more concerned about the Republicans’ irrational, anti-liberal social policy and their general aversion to facts and science. And when it comes down to it, Republicans lie when they say they are for “smaller government”. In fact, they are all advocates of a bloated military, many cannot get enough pork barrel spending and farm subsidies, and they have no problems sticking their dirty noses into women’s privates and peoples’ bedrooms.
For these reasons, I vote for Libertarians unless I feel that the Republican has a chance of winning, in which case I vote for the Democrat.
Why aren’t[Asian Americans] Republicans?
Ummm . . . maybe because they believe in science (I’m sure in your statistics there somewhere there’s something about the overrepresentation of Asians in scientific fields) and the GOP has been hostile to science ever since it allowed itself to be taken over by a bunch of religious zealots.
There’s lots more, but you get the picture. Unless the comments section has been taken over by a bunch of sock puppets, I’ll assume these are all different people and bona fide commenters. What’s going on here (and I know it is not limited to Asian Americans) is that, even though economic issues are seen as important, the propaganda about Republicans as racist anti-science zealots eager to restrict people’s private sex lives has taken hold and flourished.
We can state all we want that it’s not true, that these people are picking and choosing a few Republicans who don’t represent the whole, and that the Republican positions and goals aren’t really as they perceive, but the message is not getting through. These voters see the reality of Republicans as matching liberal rhetoric about Republicans, and until that is somehow corrected it will be difficult to counter such perceptions and win national elections. And it also comes through loud and clear that, at least at the present level of economic hardship, social and cultural issues and perceptions trump economics. If that seems counter-intuitive, so be it.