Both major candidates in the upcoming US presidential election continue to ignore the growing importance of the Filipino-American vote especially in battleground states in Florida, Arizona, Nevada, and the Midwest. The Filipino diaspora in the United States comprised of more than 4.3 million individuals who were either born in the Philippines or reported Filipino ancestry or race.
Filipino Americans are the largest group of Asian Americans in two of the swing states in the 2020 US elections — Arizona, Nevada. There’s also a sizable number of Filipino-Americans in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida all battleground states this election season.
Filipino-American registered voters are showing the highest levels of enthusiasm, 62% said they are “more enthusiastic” than they were in previous cycles, compared to the major Asian American groups as the 2020 presidential election nears, according to a new survey. Despite the enthusiasm, when it comes to contact from either the Republican or Democratic Party, a majority of respondents answered: “not at all.” 55% of Filipino-Americans said the Democratic Party has not engaged them, while 56% said the same for the Republican side.
Only 18% of Fi-Ams say they contributed money to a campaign. Possibly the reason why campaigns from both Parties are not reaching out to the Fil-Am community.
Issues that matter to Fil-Ams
The survey also took a look at voters’ positions on issues from jobs to health care to gun control. Largely, the data points to Fil-Americans groups moving more progressive which just means that the parties and campaigns, including issue campaigns, have to pay attention to Fil-Am communities.
Government spending / Economy: 39% of Fil-Ams said they would prefer a bigger government providing more services, while 38% said it would depend. 63% says jobs and the economy is extremely important.
Healthcare and immigration: 92% says healthcare is extremely important. 55% of Fil-Ams said they agree that the government should expand access to health insurance for all immigrants, regardless of their legal status. Meanwhile, over 60% said they agree that undocumented immigrants should have the opportunity to become U.S. citizens.
Climate change policies: 77% of Fil-Ams support stronger legislation to reduce the effects of climate change.
Gun control / Policing: 51% of Fil-Ams said they “agree strongly” that the U.S. should have stricter gun laws. 57% of Fil-Ams agree for reallocating police funds
Civil rights and racial concerns: 58% of Fil-Ams strongly in favor and on affirmative action, 69% of Fil-Ams in favor. The survey asked voters to rate the level of discrimination against Asian individuals to which 55% of Fil-Ams said “some,” while 48% said they worry very or somewhat often about experiencing a hate crime or harassment because of the stigma around the coronavirus.
On all issues that matter for Fil-Ams, Democrats rate highly or doing their work better on ALL except on national security and economy.
Sa pula, sa asul?
Among Fil-Ams, 52% back Biden, while 34% support Trump — the second highest support among the groups after 48% of Vietnamese voters who said they would re-elect the current president. 12% are undecided.
The survey also asked about the candidates’ favorability with a majority of Fil-Ams saying they have a very or somewhat favorable opinion of Biden while 46% view Trump as “very unfavorable” but 25% say “very favorable.”
Overwhelmingly Democrat but a large portion will vote for Trump
Fil-Ams would two to one support the Democratic candidate against the Republican incumbent yet a large portion in the presidential election of 2020 would support Trump, second only to Vietnamese voters. 46% of Pinoys identify as Democrats while only 28% identify as Republican. 16% says they’re independent.
Filipino Americans have traditionally been socially conservative because of their religious affiliations. More than two-thirds said they opposed allowing same-sex or homosexual couples to marry legally, and somehow this attracts them to the Pro-life Republican Party as opposed to Democrats who support gay marriage and woman’s right to self-determination.
Filipino-Americans are also wary of the incursion of China in Philippine territory and they feel that Republicans are stronger on issues of global security than Democrats.
A possible reason why Fil-Ams are attracted to trump is that Filipino longing for a stronger leader similar to the reason for support Duterte is getting back home. Filipinos also have a penchant to support a celebrity or who is more well known and Trump has been covered in all media even before he was President.
The 2020 election is the most consequential referendum for American democracy and Filipino-Americans hopefully would cast the right vote.