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Christian Living

chinaconnection 02/06/08

Super Tuesday and Chinese Voters

While Super Tuesday's record voter turnouts didn't disappoint the hype, the resulting outcome is far from earth-shattering.  Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton remain in a race that's too close to call, and even though John McCain has emerged the Republican frontrunner, neither Mitt Romney nor Mike Huckabee appear ready to hand him the nomination. 

In honor of this morning after, this blog will not rehash, regurgitate, or refine the candidates' often-nebulous views of China.  We've heard enough of them already, and we can start gearing up for more.  Instead of looking at how the next potential president will affect US-China relations, it's important to analyze the way that Chinese voters are affecting the presidential elections.

Chinese Americans definitely don't comprise the large voting blocks of other minorities, but they definitely made their voices heard.  Many Super Tuesday states had sizeable populations of Asian American voters, like New Jersey, New York, California, Illinois, and Minnesota.

Sen. Clinton, the favorite of the Asian-American PAC, won three out of these five states, but with so many factors in consideration, it's difficult to know the full extent of the PAC's influence.  In California, where the PAC is based, however, Clinton defeated Obama by about ten percent, so it's probable that this voting bloc had an influence over the results.

The Hindustan Times links Romney's stance on "renegotiating liberalised trade with China to stop currency manipulation that gives Chinese products unfair advantage" to his California loss to John McCain.  Considering that Romney lost California to McCain by about eight percentage points, which is comparable to the entire population of Asian American voters (about 7-10%), chances are, this claim probably isn't the most accurate.  Nonetheless, it's an interesting perspective.

Though Chinese American voters continue to influence U.S. politics, their views may not necessarily reflect the political desires of those in Mainland China.  According to Kishore Mahbubani's Newsweek article, "If the World Could Vote," Indians and Chinese generally favors the predictability of Republican leadership, and probably would favor McCain amidst the current crop of candidates.  Nonetheless, with various global economic and security uncertainties, anything is possible. 

Li Yuan of the Wall Street Journal, had an insightful column from the perspective of someone born in Mainland China.  She was a college student in China during 1989, and after the Tiananmen Square Incident, developed a bad taste for politics.  Experiencing the political process, and potential to change, from the U.S. made her think about the outcome of the same presidential race in China, and the way that a democratic system or political activism would influence the nation.

With all of the flaws of the American political process, and extreme policy disagreements, it's easy to lose sight of the amazing opportunity presented to American citizens.  Not only are we able to elect the leader of our nation, but our president's decisions, for better or worse, will also impact the rest of the world.  

Whether we're thrilled or horrified by the results of a particular election, at least we have one. 

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