The more surprising post election statistic is the strong Democratic support from the Asian American community, almost as strong as Hispanic support.
Asian Americans are among the most successful immigrants and one may have believed that their value of core American ideals would be less receptive to the dependent culture and class war championed by the Democrats.
While the GOP whines about the the growing dependency of Democratic voters, the 47% that will not vote against the hand that feeds them, they are missing the greater problem. The GOP is increasingly identified with a white Christian culture that excludes, unintentionally or otherwise, other cultures that are rapidly growing in this country. Even the phrase Judeo-Christian excludes Asian religions. This is also the reason that Jews remain distant from a firm commitment to the GOP. Every meeting that begins with a prayer in the name of Jesus is a less than subtle reminder that those other than Christians are lesser members.
The term “ethnocentric” wonderfully describes the inability or unwillingness of an ethnic or religious group to empathize with nonmembers. This scene from the Good Shepherd displays an attitude that many still carry, even if done so in far more subtle manner.
Jonah Goldberg addressed this in The GOP – Not a Club for Christians, in Townhall , 12/12/12.
“Whenever a Gujarati or Sikh businessman comes to a Republican event, it begins with an appeal to Jesus Christ,” conservative writer Dinesh D’Souza recently told the New York Times magazine. “While the Democrats are really good at making the outsider feel at home, the Republicans make little or no effort.”
My friend and colleague Ramesh Ponnuru, an Indian American and devout Catholic, says the GOP has a problem with seeming like a “club for Christians.”
That rings true to me. I’ve attended dozens of conservative events where, as the speaker, I was, in effect, the guest of honor, and yet the opening invocation made no account of the fact that the guest of honor wasn’t a Christian. I’ve never taken offense, but I can imagine how it might seem to someone who felt like he was even less part of the club.
As someone who’s long argued for theological pluralism and moral consensus on the right, it strikes me as nuts for the GOP not to do better with Asian Americans, particularly given how little religion has to do with the policy priorities of the day.
Twenty years ago, conservatives started referring to Judeo-Christian values in an effort to be more inclusive. The challenge now is to figure out how to talk in a way that doesn’t cause decent and dedicated Christians to pull in like a turtle, while also appealing to non-Judeo-Christians and the nonreligious. That’ll be hard, requiring more than name-dropping Confucius or Krishna.
While the GOP trots out Condoleeza Rice and Marco Rubio at the National Convention to prove how inclusive they are, the Democrats are reaching out to the ethnic minorities at the precinct levels where the votes are. Many issues dragged into the voting both would be better addressed from the pulpit. Those in the GOP who insist that America is a Christian nation reflect Matt Damon’s characterization in the film clip above that immigrants are “just visitors.”