Newt Gingrich is Still Chasing the Asian-American Vote

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.<a href=""></a>/Flickr

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Although his presidential campaign has all but imploded, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has at least one more big plan to boost his chances in the Republican primaries: an appeal to Asian-American voters. His staff already has him committed to a new batch of outreach efforts in Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in Hawaii, California, and—at the end of August—Virginia. Politico reports:

“We are still new with the Asian-American community, so we’re just starting to break in,” said Michelle Selesky, Gingrich’s deputy press secretary, who is heading up his Asian-American outreach…

Gingrich has been talking for months about the untapped potential of the Chinese community in Iowa, thanks to a local Chinese activist who told him in January that as many as 10,000 Chinese Americans live in the state — a number the Census Bureau pegs at 1.7 percent of the [state’s] population. Gingrich also sees what could be the state’s next immigrant boom in the University of Iowa’s large number of international students from China, though it’s not clear how many of them are citizens and able to vote.

(Emphasis mine.)

Jonathan Chait poked fun at this strategy back in early June, when he wrote about the improbability of Gingrich emerging victorious in Iowa after “mobilizing a wave of Chinese-Americans” to attend a “caucus that notoriously caters to a small cadre of motivated partisans.”

Newt Gingrich’s master plan has just one major shortcoming: He has no real appeal to Asian-American voters. It’s not him, really; it’s his party affiliation (though the whole “we would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor” thing from last summer certainly didn’t do him any favors). These days, Asian-Americans vote overwhelmingly Democratic: In 2008, they helped put Barack Obama over the top, and thanks to the moderately liberal (as well as pro-immigration) consensus growing among the demographic’s young generation, the right lost out on those votes over half a decade ago.

In trying to seize upon the conservative sliver of an already tiny ethnic population, Newt’s strategic gamble just comes off as an exercise in the kind of futility that the Gingrich campaign has come to typify. Then again, if you’re going to fall flat, you might as well do it in Hawaii.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend