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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Monday, April 22, 2024

Rightward Shift Among Chinese Americans in SF

In Defying the Odds, we talk about the social and economic divides that enabled Trump to enter the White House. In Divided We Stand, we discuss how these divides played out in 2020.  Our next book will carry the story through 2024.

 Jim Carlton  and Christine Mai-Duc at WSJ:

Long a reliable voting bloc for the left, Chinese-Americans have been important drivers of a recent backlash against progressive policies in San Francisco, which has grown in support and been backed by tech industry money.

Members of the Chinese community, who make up one-fifth of this city of 810,000 and a slightly smaller percentage of registered voters, say they have been particularly incensed by incidents of anti-Asian violence, school policies they believe have emphasized equity over merit, and street homelessness. Many are also upset that property crime has long been higher in San Francisco than most other major cities, though it has dropped this year.

Chinese-Americans were among the most emphatic backers of ballot measures passed last month mandating drug screening for public welfare recipients and expanding police powers, as well as the 2022 recall of the three school board members and the district attorney, Chesa Boudin. Their margin of support for those efforts was 10 to 30 percentage points higher than the overall San Francisco voting population, according to an analysis of publicly available data by research firm Data Second. The firm is run by the husband of Marjan Philhour, a candidate for San Francisco Board of Supervisors running on a moderate platform.

In the past, Chinese-Americans often voted for representatives from their own community, in which political activists had close ties to left-wing political movements. That was particularly true in Chinatown, the oldest enclave of Chinese immigrants in the U.S., dating to the 1850s.

As Chinese residents climbed the socioeconomic ladder, however, they increasingly moved to the city’s western, more suburban neighborhoods and began voting for reasons other than ethnic representation, political analysts and community leaders said.

Many Chinese-American voters grew angry at the political establishment during the pandemic, when prolonged school closures and a move away from merit-based admissions at one elite high school incensed families who put an emphasis on education.