IN THE NEWS: Presidential campaign in the Pacific

The Democratic caucuses in Washington state, Hawaii, and Alaska — states with significant Asian Pacific American populations — handed presidential candidate Bernie Sanders with very strong victories. His landslide wins in these states against front-runner Hillary Clinton indicated a much closer race for the Democratic presidential nomination than widely reported.

Major news media have inaccurately characterized the demographics of these Pacific states as predominantly white. the population and electorate profiles of these states indicate more diversity than reported after the caucuses. Although African American representation in these states are low, non-white citizens are proportionally significant. In Washington state, 7.8% of eligible voters are Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). Hawaii’s eligible AAPI voters represent 66% of its electorate.

Learn more:

  • [New York Times] Bernie Sanders Seizes 3 States, Sweeping Democratic Contests: “Mr. Sanders found a welcome tableau in the largely white and liberal electorates of the Pacific Northwest, where just days after resoundingly beating Mrs. Clinton in Idaho he repeated the feat in the Washington caucuses, winning 73 percent of the vote. He did even better in Alaska, winning 82 percent of the vote, and in Hawaii, he had 71 percent with a few precincts still be counted.” Read more
  • [NPR] Bernie Sanders Sweeps Caucuses In Washington, Alaska, Hawaii: “Compared to primary elections, where voters just fill out a ballot, the caucus process rewards candidates with passionate supporters.” Read more
  • [The Atlantic] Sanders’s Super Saturday Sweep: “Party officials in Washington said that at least 225,000 voters showed up, rivaling the record turnout of 2008; the 10,600 who voted in Alaska exceeded that state’s 2008 tally; and the 33,716 in Hawaii, while below the 2008 level, included 7,000 new Democrats registered since late last year.” Read more
  • [NBC News] In Hawaii, a Sanders Victory Among Long Lines, Waits: “Sanders win came despite endorsements for Hillary Clinton from the state’s top Democratic leaders, including former governors George Ariyoshi, Ben Cayetano, and John Waihee, and current U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono.” Read more
  • [APIAVote] Washington’s AAPI Electorate in 2016: “Largest AAPI ethnic groups in Washington include: Filipino (147,000), Chinese (137,000), Indian (98,000), Korean (90,000), Vietnamese (86,000), and Japanese (77,000). “ Read more
  • [APIAVote] Hawaii’s AAPI Electorate in 2016: “Largest Asian ethnic groups in Hawaii include: Filipino (351,000), Japanese (311,000), Chinese (198,000), Korean (44,000), Vietnamese (15,000), and Okinawan (7,000). 21% of the Asian population also claims NHPI as a race.” Read more

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