Grand new party?

"Grand new party?" Continued...

Issue: "Going it alone," Nov. 2, 2013

Kim, who is running for assembly in a traditionally conservative district that was taken over by a Democrat last election, said that Republicans need to work on issues that Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Cambodian communities are concerned about, such as North Korean human rights or the attack on families. Republican’s biggest advantage is the large number of small-business owners in the group that are feeling the burden of high taxes and regulation in the state.

It comes down to getting involved in the community—talking to people, showing up at meetings, attending parades—and having candidates who look like them to gain Asian votes, Steel said.

Latino Republicans expressed similar sentiments that individual leaders can change Hispanics’ perceptions of the Republican party. 

“Latinos are always Democrats–but why?” Mayor Ignacio Velazquez of Hollister, Calif., asked. “People will trust you once they believe you have what it takes to succeed. … I just talk to the community, some people say ‘I trust you even though we know you’re a Republican.’”

Velazquez is part of Grow Elect, a grassroots organization to endorse, train, and fund Latino Republicans for office. Led by Mexican-American Ruben Barrales, the former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush, Grow Elect has helped elect 30 Latino officials since late 2011, and the group has another 24 candidates this year.

At the Grow Elect roundtable, one Latino official said he was a Republican because everything he learned from his father about hard work and faith lined up with the Republican Party. Another pointed out that Latinos care much more about job creation than immigration, and with Democrats in complete control of the state, they’ll soon see Republicans are the ones who can provide that. Attendees also criticized the Republicans for alienating much of the population with insisting on English-only campaigns, and they stressed the need to reach out to the Latino faith community. 

Young people milled around the convention, some hailing from liberal bastions like West L.A. and San Francisco. A meeting for the Young Republican Federation packed the room, led by its state chairman in a Los Angeles Dodgers T-shirt.

Tiffany Abrahms, a 36-year-old from Santa Monica, said part of what keeps young people from joining the Republican Party is the cool factor. “The characterization of being a Republican is that it’s not cool, unfortunately. But its values—like individual freedom and keeping your own money—everybody wants that.” Abrahms believes the party needs to show that it’s relevant, that Republicans do charity, are up-to-date, and have fun.

“It’s a lot more fun being a Republican in California,” said 27-year-old Adam Ellison of Sacramento. “We need to work for it to be a success.”

Angela Lu
Angela Lu

Angela is a reporter for WORLD Magazine who lives and works in Taiwan. She enjoys cooking, reading, and storytelling. Follow Angela on Twitter @angela818.


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