President Barack Obama will join Asian-American and Pacific Islander (API) business leaders for a fundraising roundtable event in Palo Alto on Thursday night…
(KTSF by Michelle Yue)
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders make up 5.6% of the total US population. According to Robert Smith, a professor of political science at San Francisco State University, this year’s elections will be tight and both parties will go after API votes.
“Almost every vote counts,”says Smith. “In particular, I think Obama has an appeal to minority communities. I think he is going to make a special effort, as he did the last time, to attract the votes of not only blacks, but also Latino, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.”
Obama was born in Hawaii and partly raised in Indonesia. Professor Smith believes that Obama will use his “Asian background” to attract API voters.
Tickets for Thursday’s roundtable with API leaders costs $35,800 per person. Professor Smith says that Obama is now tapping into the wealth of API voters in Silicon Valley for campaign contributions. In turn, Obama will promote tech and immigration policies favorable to high tech companies in the valley. “Particularly how to get talented people from those parts of the world and make it easier for them to immigrate to the country and work, ” says the professor. “I think these issues will come up during the roundtable and I think Obama would be very sympathetic to those kinds of concerns.”
In the last presidential election, Obama garnered 66% of the API votes. However, Professor Smith says that Mitt Romney will also use his business background to attract API voters and that API support for Obama might change this year. “API Support for Obama might be diminished from what it was the last time, if the economy is still kind of struggling along as it is now,” he says.
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