Why Do Chinese Immigrants Tend to Vote for Democrats and Why is This Changing?
Chinese Americans in general are inclined to vote for Democrat candidates. I, being a Chinese immigrant, understand the rationales behind their decisions, though I have never voted for a Democrat.
Living in a Blue State
First, by chance, Asian immigrants and Chinese in this case are apt to live in a blue state, like CA, HI, NY, MA and NJ. Chinese culture discourages rebellion against ruling authorities. It advocates the idea that “when in Rome do as the Romans do.” Focusing on assimilating into American society, Chinese immigrants in a blue state are easily influenced by the political positions prevalent in their environment. They tend to vote for the governing party in their state, the Democrat Party.
A Risk-Free Life
Also, Chinese culture promotes a risk free life. Many Chinese immigrants choose to work for the government, enjoying its benefits and the sense of security it provides. For them, it’s a quick and easy way to settle down in America. Many of them have an unrealistic understanding about American government, regarding the system as a powerful machine that can last perpetually. They by and large do not contemplate the danger of a big government. Besides, being part of the system, they naturally support government’s using taxpayers’ money to expand social benefits. Normally, they would vote for a Democrat candidate, and their children, presumably, would probably follow the same practice.
In addition, Chinese tradition values education which is considered the most respectable channel to improve one’s social and economic condition. Chinese immigrants and the next generation are expected to attend college where progressive ideology, in-line with Democrat ideology, has been taught as the only acceptable position. It’s unlikely that, after exerting so much effort to get to the U.S., they would reject the belief dominating the universities where they’ve spent most of their lives since arriving here. Many Chinese immigrants at universities embrace progressive ideology, mistaking it as part of what has made America the best place. They would naturally join the Democrat Party.
The Chinese Relationship Culture
Further, Chinese relationship-based culture has also played a significant role in their support of the Democrats. Many Chinese immigrants are successful in various areas in our society. They are capable of mastering subjects that require logic and reason. However, when processing issues relating to social and relational matters, they often use completely different set of rules unlike the way a westerner would handle a similar situation.
This idiosyncrasy derives from the foundation of the Chinese culture which is centered around building relationships, dividing the world as “our friends” and “our foes.” Consequently, building a positive relationship with the Chinese community and emerging as “our friends” is very attractive to the Chinese. Anything advantageous done to the Chinese community would make them feel obligated to return the favor because failure to reciprocate is considered the most unrighteous and shameful behavior in the Chinese culture. Relationship is everything.
The Party of Immigrants?
The Democrats have reached out to the Chinese community, presenting itself as the party of the immigrants. Their efforts have produced noticeable results. In 2020, my niece who legally came here to study told me that people in the Chinese church she was attending were worrying that Trump would win a second term because they believed that he would close the door to immigrants. I tried to explain to her that Trump supported legal immigration while the Democrats, illegal. I assured her that any Chinese who had come here legally should not be concerned about Trump’s immigration policies. My point was not received well. But I got that.
The Democrats, understanding Chinese culture, had done a fabulous job winning their support.
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By contrast, the GOP has not done enough to reach potential voters. In 2001 I became an American citizen. After the ceremony, I was told that there were tables outside set up for new citizens to register to vote. Rushing outside to exercise my right, I was soon disheartened, realizing that there wasn’t a table for those who wished to register as a Republican. Looking at the crowds lining up at the tables, I thought how many of them would register as a Democrat only because it was the only option at that moment.
However, the wind has been shifting rapidly in spite of all the success the Democrats have achieved among immigrants, including the Chinese. It turned out that the strategy the Democrats employed in getting Chinese votes has its limitations.
The Manifestation of Marxism in America
Chinese immigrants, specifically the first-generation Chinese immigrants from mainland China like me, having lived through the Cultural Revolution, possess a keen grasp on the various manifestations of Marxism and know precisely the devastating consequences they can produce.
I was appalled by events happened in the past two years — BLM, Critical Race Theory, war on Whites, coercion of potentially dangerous vaccination and new regulations on clean energy and the environment. These are reminiscent of the political climate during the Cultural Revolution, the darkest time in Chinese history.
I knew I was obligated to take a stand and expose Marxist activities to my American friends. By no means did I want America to become a totalitarian society like China. That would defy my purpose to immigrate here in the first place. But I was disappointed that I was just one of a few Chinese who were vocal on social media. Where are the other Chinese? My American friends who grew up here have an excuse for their silence because they are unaware of what Marxism is. But how can the Chinese who have firsthand knowledge of this evil ideology remain silent?
But I was wrong. It turns out that when a threat becomes formidable enough, no amount of cultural etiquette and protocol can deter Chinese from taking action to fend off the threat. Under such circumstances, Chinese do not abandon their God-given logic and reason after all.
First-Generation Immigrants Stand Up
Recently, using Chinese as the search language, I came across an army of undaunted Chinese fighters on YouTube and other social media platforms. They have been running channels with the intention of reaching Chinese, mostly Chinese immigrants in the U.S. The hosts of these channels are almost exclusively first-generation immigrants from mainland China. Like me, they understand our current situation because of their experience living under a totalitarian regime.
Had they had any confidence in progressive ideology prior to 2020, it would have been shattered by what happened in the past two years. Unequivocally they recognized that American Leftists are essentially totalitarian Marxists cut out of the same mold as the CCP. That revelation superseded the cultural etiquette deep rooted in each Chinese, and motivated them to take action.
They offer commentary on current events in mainland China and in the U.S., consistently not only rejecting the CCP but also renouncing the American Left. In addition to retelling the atrocities of the CCP, they also urge Chinese immigrants to stand up and fight to preserve our Republic. I was amazed by their acute grasp on key issues in today’s America including the truth of Jan 6, election fraud, Critical Race Theory, BLM, racial struggle, CCP’s infiltration of the American government, the significance of the upcoming midterm, etc.
No Other Place to Go
Many of the hosts have been censored by social media giants. Some were demonetized and have been operating sacrificially, putting in great effort and countless hours. Some were punished by drastically cutting off their viewability and deleting the number of followers. Several entities from the American Left also fabricated false evidence to throw mud on them. Some even received death threats. Yet, they are unstoppable. They view what they are doing as the last battle because they know so well that if America falls, there is no other place to go.
Here I paraphrase what I watched on one occasion, “You know you have not been treated badly in America. You know America is not a racist place. You and your family have benefited by this great nation. Why do you still act as if you were sojourners in other people’s country after being here for so long? We know what’s going on in this country because we’ve been there. Now it’s time for us, the Chinese community, to give our contribution to this great nation. How can we do that? It would be the best contribution we can make if we tell Americans what happened in China so that they may understand how potentially horrifying our current situation is, and so that they may wake up and fight. We must not remain silent! Tell your neighbors what happened during the Cultural Revolution. Get involved in politics! Put away the sojourner mentality and act like the owner of the land. Fight for your country!”
A Red Wave is Coming
From the quantity of followers each channel has generated, I know those channels have been effective in reaching Chinese Americans. The numerous comments the viewers left give me the impression that many Chinese Americans have risen up to the occasion, fulfilling their unshirkable duty to this great nation. I can tell that a red wave is sweeping through the Chinese community. I know it will show in November.
Chenyuan Snider was raised in Communist China and majored in Chinese language and literature in college. After immigrating to the U.S. and having studied at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary and Duke Divinity School, she became a professor and taught at Christian colleges and seminary. After March of this year, she sensed God was leading her to use her unique voice to provide a warning about various kinds of Marxist influences in our society. She lives in northern California with her husband and has two grown children.