Confident Democrat will win presidency
A WEEK after Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders made campaign stops in Los Angeles, Democratic National Committee (DNC) CEO Amy Dacey visited the city to lay the groundwork to expand the party’s base and meet with Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters, who comprise a crucial electorate in coming elections.
At a roundtable discussion with reporters on Tuesday, March 29, Dacey remarked that she is confident that a Democrat will win the presidency this November.
“[Donald Trump] isn’t just talking over the Republican Party — he is the Republican Party. That just shows to us how much we have at stake,” Dacey said. “I think the choice before us is clearer than ever. We, throughout this campaign, have had both our candidates, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, who have shown that they have the right priorities. Whether you’ve seen them at debates or out on the trail, the discourse between them, with the voters they’ve reached out to, has been incredible.”
While Dacey did not hint at whether Sanders or Clinton would be the party’s nominee, she said that they have both “run campaigns worthy of the office.”
“I’m confident that one of them will be the 45th President of the United States, but I’m not underestimating the amount of work that’s going to take,” she added.
Dacey also took a slam at the “divisive politics” of the Republican Party.
“You’re watching the debates on the Republican side and I’m working harder the next day because it’s just unbelievable what you see,” she said, describing some of the Democratic Party’s work to reach out to more millennial voters and devote resources to various communities.
Despite the two Democratic candidates sparring over different views on the campaign trail, Dacey said she expects that supporters of either candidate will come together once a nominee is selected.
With four months until Philadelphia, a contested DNC convention is not expected, unlike what many predict may happen in Cleveland at the RNC convention should no presidential candidate win a majority of the delegates.
“I’m fully confident that we’ll go through this process — that we’ll have a presumptive nominee going into the convention. Our convention is literally going to be about bringing everybody together, having conversations, holding trainings,” Dacey told reporters. “We want to have outreach at the convention. It’s a substantive, inclusive process so that when we leave Philly, you’ll see a stark contrast from the week before in Cleveland, where I do think it could potentially be in disarray.”
The DNC’s CEO went on to say that her party is focusing on issues that voters care about, especially those relevant to AAPI communities. Among those issues Dacey mentioned were the Affordable Care Act, equal pay and comprehensive immigration form.
“We saw a record turnout from the Asian American community and support of President Obama in the 2012 election cycle. We’ve also seen that 4.5 million Asian Americans were registered to vote in 2012, so I do think they have a strong voice in this election. I do think that the issues we’re talking about are issues they care about,” she said, adding that various party programs are geared specifically toward AAPI voters and figuring out how AAPIs acquire information and become civically engaged.
Fritz Friedman, a Filipino American who is part of the credentials committee for the DNC’s upcoming convention, lauded the Democratic Party’s outreach to the Filipino-American community in particular.
“A lot of the issues that Amy mentioned are core to the lives of Filipinos and Filipino Americans, specifically immigration and health care. Also the fact, I find personally, the Democratic Party is much more inclusive than the Republican Party. They understand the issues that are relevant to minority groups, like the Filipino-Americans,” Friedman told the Asian Journal.
Friedman added that the values of the Filipino-American community align with the Democratic Party, and that should guide voters come November.
“The bayanihan spirit — we are a community, the Democratic Party is a community. Filipinos and Filipino Americans take care of family and friends, as does the Democratic Party,” he said. “I think those base, core things are really are one of the important reasons why the goals of the Democratic Party align with the goals of Filipino Americans.”
Even with the party’s confidence, Dacey said there is more work to be done in the coming months.
“It’s going to be a tough general election. I think anybody discounting it because they’re seeing what’s happening on the Republican side, is making a mistake,” she said.
Following the roundtable, Dacey attended a fundraiser with AAPI supporters — which was co-hosted by actor George Takei and attended by elected leaders, such as Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Ted Lieu and Rep. Mark Takano — and spoke at the Advancing Justice conference co-hosted by the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation and Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
“[We’re] trying to make sure the [AAPI] community knows that there’s a home for them in the Democratic Party and that they’ll turn out and vote for Democrats in the fall,” she said.
Both Democrats and Republicans have continued to reach out to AAPI voters, an electorate considered to double by 2040, reaching 12.2 million, according to a 2015 report from the UCLA Center for the Study of Inequality and Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies.
Leading up to California’s primary on June 7, both Clinton and Sanders are expected to continue campaigning in the state, where 475 delegate are at stake. (Christina M. Oriel / AJPress)