Why black, Latina and Asian voters are abandoning Democrats

Why black, Latina and Asian voters are abandoning Democrats

Democrats are losing ground with people of color.

The percentage of black Americans who voted Republican in the 2022 midterms nearly doubled compared to the 2018 cycle. Asian American support for Democrats is slumping generation over generation. And young Latinos are increasingly registering without a party affiliation.

It’s a historic shift that threatens to shake up the upcoming presidential election, as Biden’s polling numbers continue to sink dramatically among voters of color — and particularly younger ones in battleground states.

The Post spoke with black, Asian-American and Latino-American voters who have shifted right in their political priorities about why they feel alienated by the Democratic Party:

Sidni Standard says she was indoctrinated into far-left thinking while in college. Stephen Yang

Sidni Standard: ‘I was really indoctrinated into this way of thinking’

When Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, then-Smith College student Sidni Standard took to the streets to protest.

“The day after Donald Trump’s election, it was as if there was a death,” she told The Post. “Everybody was in black. We had this meeting at our campus center. People were crying. It was something I’d never witnessed before in my life. It was crazy, and I was a part of it.”

But by the next election, the 28-year-old podcaster and hobby coder from White Plains, New York, had done a complete 180 and cast her ballot for Trump.

Sensing a loss of freedom during the pandemic caused Standard to switch parties. Stephen Yang

“It wasn’t until I got outside of the college bubble and I really started to work on myself that I picked up on the fact that most of my values are conservative,” Standard said. “I was really indoctrinated into [a far left] way of thinking. The more that I pulled back the layers, the more that I saw that actually I don’t even align with this.”

One major catalyst, Standard says, was “seeing our freedoms being taken away” during Covid-19 lockdowns. Identity politics run rampant and left-leaning politicians pandering to black Americans in 2020 also turned her off.

Today, Standard is a proud political independent. Stephen Yang

“I started to recognize that this whole notion of like, ‘Oh, we’re gonna help you  — you’re black, you need our help’ — is very condescending because it’s implying that I look this way and therefore I can’t help myself,” Standard said.

Today, she identifies as a political independent, though she “resonates more with what the Republicans are selling.” Looking toward the 2024 election, Vivek Ramaswamy is a favorite.

Since her politics have shifted, Standard has lost all of her friends from Smith, she said — adding that the backlash was harshest from her black friends and her white liberal friends.

“So many people that I knew from high school and college just started attacking me,” Standard recalled. “People who knew me forever are now saying I’m this horrible person, I’m this racist — meanwhile, I’m black, right?”

Nonetheless, she stands firm as a proud, independent thinker: “Especially within the black community there’s such a box around how you’re supposed to act, what you’re supposed to do, what you’re supposed to like. It’s almost like you have to think a certain way.”

Once an Obama supporter, Grace Zhang now is a Republican.

Grace Zhang: ‘Affirmative action, to me, is indefensible’

Grace Zhang voted enthusiastically for Barack Obama in 2008, seeing her own story as an immigrant from China in his family’s past.

“Back in Obama’s time, the reason that many immigrants like me chose Obama is because he had a compelling story as the son of an immigrant who came to the United States to look for opportunity,” she said. “As an immigrant I identified with that a lot.”

But, in the years since, rising crime, social unrest and affirmative action led Zhang to begin questioning the Democratic Party — and to run for New Jersey state assembly as a Republican last year.

Affirmative action’s impact on Asian Americans is an animating issue for Zhang.

“I want nothing but the best for my country — a safe environment, a good economy, and an environment that is peaceful, friendly and clean,” Zhang, who works as an accountant in Princeton, told The Post. “The question is, what party is going to give us that?”

The answer, she decided, is the Republican Party.

One especially motivating issue for Zhang has been affirmative action, which she believes unfairly hurts Asian Americans.

Zhang immigrated to the United States as a student 32 years ago with her husband, two suitcases and debt owed for their airfare. She credits education for her ascent up the economic ladder. But now, as a mother of three, she feels the next generation is unfairly disadvantaged by race-based affirmative action.

Zhang ran for New Jersey State Assembly as a Republican in 2023. Courtesy of Grace Zhang

“Affirmative action, to me, is indefensible,” she said. “What about Asian Americans? We came here with nothing. We were discriminated against for a long time, all the way back to the Chinese Exclusion Act and Japanese internment.”

Zhang has noticed more and more Asian-American friends shifting right, especially following the recent Supreme Court decision overturning race-based affirmative action — and also social unrest in 2020.

“Rioting, looting, pulling down historical statues, defacing American flags, defunding the police — a lot of those things are too radical for us,” she said. “What kind of society is that?”

Zhang’s son, Kenny Xu, is running for Congress in North Carolina in 2024.

After Zhang unsuccessfully ran for State Assembly in 2023, her son Kenny Xu, 26, is picking up the torch and throwing his hat in the race for Congress in North Carolina as a Republican. Xu is the president of the nonprofit group Color Us United and lead insider in the recent Supreme Court case that overturned race-based affirmative action in college admissions.

“Being an Asian I feel that we need to participate in the political process more,” Zhang said. “I’m very proud of him, and I hope he will inspire young people to participate in politics and to engage as conservatives.”

Lydia Dominguez: ‘A lot of Hispanics actually share my same values’

When Lydia Dominguez was 8 years old she asked her mother what Democrats and Republicans were.

“I remember she looked at me and she said, ‘Democrats are for poor people and we’re poor, so we’re for Democrats. The Republicans are for rich people, and so that’s why we’re not for Republicans,’” the 34-year-old Las Vegas resident told The Post.

As a Mexican American, Lydia Dominguez says she was raised with the expectation she would be a Democrat. Ronda Churchill for New York Post

So Dominguez, the daughter of a construction worker from Mexico, fell in line. She registered as a Democrat and voted for Obama twice.

It wasn’t until she joined the Air Force in 2011 that she began questioning that allegiance.

“When I finally got out of the bubble I was raised in and started having conversations with diverse people that I respected, that started to sway my ideals,” she recalled. “I realized Democrats aren’t talking about the biggest issues that affect Latinos. They ignore us as if they’re just expecting our vote.”

It was the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and an uptick in rioting and anti-police sentiment that pushed Dominguez to vote for Donald Trump in 2016.

Conversations while in the military inspired Dominguez to open her mind about the Republican Party. Ronda Churchill for New York Post

“I thought about safety, security, good jobs, good education — all that stuff is very important to my family and my community,” she recalled. “And when I broke down those values between Democrats and Republicans, to me it was obvious who stood up for my values.”

But her shift rightwards wasn’t without consequences.

“A lot of my family distanced themselves from me. I did lose a lot of friendships,” she said. “Sometimes I tell my family, ‘I was raised this way. You raised me this way.’”

But she’s also found a new like-minded community: “The Latino people that I talk to — just getting something fixed at my house, going grocery shopping, going to the DMV — it seems like we’re all in the closet [about being conservative], and we’re all kind of shy about talking about it.”

Dominguez now serves as the Southwest director for Latinos for Americans First. Ronda Churchill for New York Post

That’s why she’s stepped up as the Southwest director of Latinos for America First, where she helps organize social gatherings for fellow conservative Hispanics.

“If these conversations weren’t so taboo, I think a lot of Latinos would realize which party actually defends their American dream values,” Dominguez said. “Family, God, country … those just aren’t the top values for the Democratic Party.”

Frederick Tappan: ‘I can’t stand with the Democratic Party’

When Tennessee native Frederick Tappan registered to vote 40 years ago, he didn’t affiliate with a party.

“Sometimes I would vote Republican, but it was not at all based on party. It was based on position,” the 58-year-old told The Post. “It used to be that you just voted for who you thought was the best individual. So I voted my heart. I just voted based on who I am.”

Pastor Frederick Tappan re-registered as a Republican during the Covid-19 pandemic. Igor Mazor for NY Post

He’s cast votes for everyone from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama over the years. But in 2019 Tappan, who is the senior pastor of Eureka TrueVine Baptist Church in Memphis and a teacher of remedial English, finally had enough and registered red.

“I’m a Christian conservative, and I can’t stand with what the Democratic Party is standing for right now,” he told The Post.

The decision came after watching the Democratic Party’s positions grow more extreme over his lifetime. He points to late-term abortion, lax immigration policy and critical race theory in schools as major turn-offs.

“Trying to frame all white people as bad because of slavery is idiotic, especially to me as an educator,” he explained.

Pastor Tappan strives to teach his congregation to be politically independent and open-minded.

“I was just done, so I decided to go ahead and register as a Republican,” Tappan recalled. “There’s no coming back from that stuff. I just don’t stand for what they stand for.”

Now, Tappan hopes more Black Americans will wake up to what he sees as decades of pandering unfulfilled promises made by Democrats.

“We’re allowing the Democratic Party to continue to cast a check that they wrote over 50 years ago,” he told The Post. “Can you tell me we’re better off as a people — as a culture — than we were prior? Have they returned any dividends on African American loyalty?”

Still, he estimates that roughly three-quarters of his majority Black congregation are Democrats. “A lot of the staunchest Democrats look at the Republican party as a white party. But we’ve got to change that,” he said.

As a Christian conservative, Tappan says he cannot stand with the Democratic Party’s values. Igor Mazor for NY Post

And, although Tappan doesn’t let partisanship creep into his sermons, he’s open to talking politics with anyone who’s interested. His conversations have led him to believe many of his fellow African Americans are actually largely open to Republican values.

“I challenge a lot of African Americans to look at what they believe in and see which side is closest to them,” Tappan explained. “I guarantee you that most will see more similarities to conservatism than they will to liberalism.”

Looking forward, he predicts more Black voters will abandon the left: “I’m seeing more and more people that are leaving the Democratic Party — more people leaving the liberal way of thinking.”

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