Obama For America (OFA) Nevada
Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are the fastest growing
racial group in the United States, making AAPI voters a force to be
reckoned with as a key constituency group for the 2012 presidential
election. The Obama For America (OFA) campaign is
capture the attention of ethnic voting blocs in various
of AAPIs turned out to vote in 2008, making them the lowest
registered group compared to 62 percent of all Americans. Only half
of eligible AAPIs are registered to vote, making AAPIs the lowest
racial or ethnic group that's recorded. OFA can still remain
optimistic though since 81 percent of first-time AAPI voters voted
for President Obama.
mainstream news outlets focused on AAPI
flashy campaign donors in the already blue state of California,
what's really at stake for many is outside of the San Francisco Bay
Area. AAPI populations can make a big difference in
states throughout the country, especially Nevada.
votes, Nevada is a key swing state to win the presidential election.
is home to the nation’s fastest growing AAPI population. AAPI
and Latino voters were the margin of swing victory in U.S. Senator
Harry Reid's run for re-election in Nevada during the 2010 mid-term
Americans are the second largest ethnic group in Nevada alone and
make up 4 percent
the state’s population
at 98,000, 86,000 of whom
Clark County. Tagalog will be the third language, aside from English
and Spanish, to be used in election materials in Clark County. OFA
has a clear investment in AAPI communities, with a total of seven
field offices in Las Vegas alone, which is located in Clark
speculate that because of poor voter turnout during the previous
elections, as well as a likely
of white swing independent voters supporting Obama, OFA will
to recapture base voters, particularly communities of color.
the end of last year, OFA launched Operation
a voter engagement and outreach program intended to expand support
from ethnic groups. Operation Vote focuses on
groups for Obama, ranging from African Americans, Women, to Veterans,
most recently Obama Pride (Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender
community or LGBT Americans for Obama.
month, OFA launched Asian
Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) for Obama.
effort to reach the largest of AAPI ethnic groups, with some campaign
translated in Asian languages such as Chinese, Tagalog,
Obama by a nearly five to one
to one among Indian Americans, and three to one
have come out recently focusing on
AAPI community's preferences to political parties, there is still no
substitute for having voters identify with staff and volunteers who
share the same face, experience,
language, making voters more likely to vote for the candidate whose
campaign actively reaches out to them.
American labor organizer and attorney,
off as a Deputy Field Organizer for OFA in Pennsylvania in 2008.
Director of Nevada's
Vote, a position vital to help win battleground states for the 2012
presence in the campaign, like that of
other AAPI staff at OFA pictured in the video above shows that OFA
values inclusion and diversity on staff across various departments.
But it's less about marketing to a constituency group, and really
about showing how AAPIs are a part of a larger family.
Soetoro-Ng, Obama's Asian American sister, and her husband Konrad Ng,
are Obama campaign veterans,
currently are campaigning on their brother's behalf, something Obama
wasn't shy about addressing at the
Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) annual
Uy, an OFA Nevada volunteer,
“His sister is half Asian, so when he talks about the AAPI
community, he’s talking about us as family.”
this won't be an easy fight, --2012 won't be without its challenges
for online and field organizers for the campaign.
still a large segment of the AAPI community that is not registered to
vote (taking into account that there is still a large number of
have not yet naturalized and can become eligible to vote in this
election). Research shows that naturalized immigrants,
registered, vote at higher rates than the native-born.
has the most sophisticated data
metrics-driven programs that even the D.C.
Beltway has ever seen,
it will still take some work to capture the vast AAPI community
online. Fortunately, according to the
English speaking AAPIs'
engagement is among the highest of racial groups on mobile and the
Internet. How this looks when disaggregated by ethnic groups and in
native Asian language can get super technical.
challenge OFA will take on is harnessing online activity (use of apps
and social media) and translating
into field work--
registering people to vote, getting AAPI communities to mail their
to the polls in November.
energy from the 2008 campaign may not be the same. The average Joe
Jane may not be creating their own ”Barack the Vote”
to wear at
next hottest party,
playing Obamagirl YouTube videos with their friends this time around
just yet, but a strong passion for volunteerism and getting involved
in community through the campaign remains.
Uy, a single mother and nurse,
volunteering for OFA, and after one meeting has dedicated more and
more time to organizing her community, while also coordinating
phonebanks in Las Vegas.
me, I have seen President Obama take a real stand on issues that mean
the most to me. ...
of the Affordable Care Act, my daughter can stay on my healthcare
insurance plan and my friend’s children can stay on theirs--
point I bring up with my friends all the time. As of now, I haven’t
met that many AAPIs in my community who are engaged in the election,
but I’m hoping to change that. That’s why I organize;
is my way of helping hundreds and thousands have their voices heard.
I believe President Obama has stood for our communities;
time we stand united with him.”
like Uy hope to contribute to making history a second time in
November to land
a second presidential
shall see what color Nevada will be on November 6.
The Romney campaign was contacted to interview for this article. We
await a response and hope to feature them in a future article.
The author was involved in
Filipinos For Obama in 2008.
Erin Pangilinan has worked as a Philippine News
Correspondent for over six
and as a Change.org Immigrant Rights Cause blogger. She is a reporter for Hyphen's Politics