Vietnamese-American GOP Rep. may vote with Obama by mattsteinglass
April 1, 2009, 8:21 pm
Filed under: United States, Vietnam

The Hill reports that newly elected Vietnamese-American Republican congressman Joseph Cao (R-La) may break ranks and vote for Obama’s budget. Marc Ambinder hypothesizes this is due to Obama’s continuing popularity among independent voters who Cao needs for reelection. I would guess it also has something to do with the relatively fluid party identification of Vietnamese-Americans, who lean Republican but are typically quite willing to play both sides of the fence.

Vietnamese-American power brokers in the San Jose area, for example, tend to be well connected with both the national GOP machine and with local Democratic politicians, such that in the previous administration they might show up for private national GOP fundraisers in Crawford in the same week they were shaking hands with local Democrats like Zoe Lofgren and Mike Honda. People often think of the Vietnamese-American community as monolithically conservative Republican, but that’s a misunderstanding drawn from a narrow focus on Orange County and Northern Virginia. In both those places the local white political power structure was traditionally Republican, and Vietnamese-Americans built bonds with the establishment. In San Jose, however, and increasingly in Orange County and Northern Virginia as demographics have shifted those areas to the left, the Vietnamese-American community has been able to keep a foot in each party. One might draw some interesting connections to the fluidity of factional identification in pre-1975 Republic of Vietnam politics as well…but that’s pretty speculative I suppose.


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[…] April 2, 2009, 11:58 am Filed under: United States, Vietnam Just to add to my earlier point about Vietnamese-Americans being rather fluid in their party loyalties, I was just reminded of […]

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