While there was hype about Latino and even black voters turning, there wasn’t much of that outside Florida. In New York, one of the other epicenters of the red wave where Zeldin’s campaign helped tilt House seats and Congress toward the Republican side, there were some interesting factors.
The Orthodox Jews coming out for Zeldin and Republicans, and swinging a House seat away have been widely discussed. Ross Barkan notes something that hasn’t gotten as much play.
(Of course the Asian shopkeepers and small businessmen are a world away from the Big Tech Asian employees with six figures and Uppababy strollers, much as the Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn are a world away from the hipsters who cheer AOC.)
In Brooklyn and Queens, Zeldin found his staunchest support from two communities, one which is mostly lost to Democrats (the Orthodox Jews) and another that Democrats desperately need back if they are going to avoid a shock loss in the coming years. The Asian American neighborhoods of New York City are now, officially, Republican strongholds. They are not all electing Republicans to the city and state legislatures, but some are beginning to, or will very soon. Zeldin dominated the heavily Chinese 47th and 49th Assembly Districts of Brooklyn and won a strong victory in the new 17th State Senate district, which was created in the redistricting process to elect an Asian legislator from Brooklyn. In the 49th, an Asian American Republican unseated a white Democratic assemblyman who was first elected in 1986. All of these districts take in, to varying degrees, the neighborhoods of Sunset Park, Dyker Heights, and Bensonhurst, all home to enormous Chinese immigrant populations. Zeldin outright won the 40th Assembly District based in Flushing, where Chinese and Korean immigrants have long made their home.
I think Barkan exaggerates somewhat. The Asian vote in this case is mostly situational. Like Latino voters, they’re not zombie Democrats, they’ve seen the chaos, decay and crime, and they’re responsive to other options. This isn’t a cultural shift, it’s an expedient political one.
All Democrats have to do is actually start arresting and locking up criminals, bring back broken windows policing, stop and frisk, get junkie vagrants away from neighborhoods and clean up the city again.
This was all quite doable under Bloomberg who maintained Guliani’s policies. It’s an impossible ask in the AOC NYC where the WFP and the DSA call the shots and term limits ensured that each generation of city council members is more radical than the last. The state legislature for that matter is in the hands of black nationalists like Carl E. Heastie and Andrea Stewart-Cousins who refuse to do anything about crime. The woke-black nationalist alliance has been disastrous for New York Democrats, but they retain the governorship and will have enough power to call the shots.
Is this going to push Asians closer to voting for Republicans? Possibly.
Mayor Adams has been trying but failing to clean up crime. And Hochul is unlikely to offer any kind of meaningful course correction. With Illinois, under Prtizker, set for its own pro-crime ‘Purge’, Asians are going to be under siege. In SF, Mayor London Breed realized the scope of the crisis and tried for a course correction by purging some of the wokes and racists. The Asian community was grateful.
But SF is a long way from being fixed.
Barring another generation of Giulianis, tough-talking and acting urban mayors who can get their hands dirty cleaning things up, it may only get worse. And that has implications for the urban Asian vote.