Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Filipino-Americans Involvement in US Politics
My next door neighbor and I were recently discussing about political involvement of Filipino-Americans in the political arena in the US. In spite of the fact that there are now close to 4 million Americans with Filipino ancestry, there is no such thing called the Filipino vote. I told my neighbor, It will not be in my lifetime, when the US will elect a President or Vice President, a man or a woman with Filipino blood in his or her ancestry. I have a feeling though that in the next decade we will have a few more Filipino-Americans in the House of Senate and House of Congress.
Today there are only two members of Congress and Senate, since the resignation of Senator John Ensign, the only Filipino American( 1/8 Filipino ancestry)from Nevada. Senator Ensign resigned while being investigated for ethical reasons in May 2011. The Representatives who are Filipino American are:
1.Representative Robert C. Scott ( 1/8 Filipino ancestry) of Virginia, a Democrat and
2.Representative Steve Austria ( 1/2 Filipino ancestry) of Ohio, a Republican
Filipino Americans have been known to be socially conservative. In the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election Republican president George W. Bush won the Filipino American vote over John Kerry by nearly a two-to-one ratio. A similar support for the Republican party occurred during the 2000 election. However, during the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election, Filipino Americans voted majority Democratic, with 58% of the community voting for President Barack Obama and only 42% voting for the Republican Candidate, Senator John McCain. The 2008 election marked the first time when a majority of Filipino Americans voted for a Democratic presidential candidate.
It is nearly impossible for Filipino Americans to win an election solely based on the Filipino American vote because they lived in scattered areas all over the US. Majority of the Filipino Americans reside in California, Hawaii, New York, Texas and Illinois. At the national level and state level, Filipino Americans have increased their visibility over the past few decades.
Ben Cayetano, former governor of Hawaii, became the first governor of Filipino descent in the United States. The number of Congress-members of Filipino descent doubled to numbers not reached since 1937, two when the Philippine Islands were represented by non-voting Resident Commissioners, due to the 2000 Senatorial Election. In 2009 there were three Congress-members who claim to have at least one-eighth Filipino ethnicity.
Do you know of a Filipino-American currently active in the political scene in your city, county or in your state?. Can you guess what % of the Filipino-American vote be with the Democratic party this coming November election. My guess will be about 53%. This is 5% less compared to the 2008 election of Barack Obama. I will attribute this loss to Paul Ryan as the VP candidate of the Republican Party.