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Asian American communities hold key in US presidential election: Biden supporters

WASHINGTON -- Asian American voters, including Pacific Islanders, will play a major role in determining who will win in many of the most closely contested states of the upcoming US presidential election, a group of supporters for Democratic candidate Joe Biden said Thursday.

They said the number of registered Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters more than doubled over the last decade, making them the fastest growing block of voters in the US.

"There are over 11 million eligible AAPI voters," said Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens), adding the number accounts for about 5 percent of all US voters.

"If you take a look at the numbers of all the eligible AAPI voters in almost all of our battleground states, (they) outnumber the number of votes that we lost by (four years ago), so our community should feel proud and empowered," she said in a virtual press town hall meeting organized by a coalition of affinity groups supporting Biden, AAPIs for Biden.

The coalition recently staged a virtual tour of 12 battleground states where the Democratic Party had lost in the 2016 presidential election by a margin that is now exceeded by the number of AAPI voters in each of the states.

"We went to 12 key battleground states where AAPI voters have tremendous power and potential to make a difference -- states like Texas, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Pennsylvania where AAPIs make up at least one to two percent of the electorate and can be the margin of victory," Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) said.

Understanding the importance of Asian communities in the US and in the upcoming election, the Biden campaign is doing all it can to reach out to their community members, possibly for the first time by any presidential candidate, the participants of Thursday's event noted.

"The investments that the Biden team has made in multilingual ads on TV, on radio and hiring organizers who speak multiple languages and who can communicate to our community in their language, over 19 languages I believe, has really made such a big difference," Meng said.

"Our AAPI community is not always accustomed to being reached out to by either party. And so the fact that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris' team was willing to do this and to make sure that they were listening to their concerns and reaching out to our AAPI communities made a huge difference," she added.

Connie Chung, a renowned journalist and former news anchor, urged Asians to vote, saying, "We Asians, remarkably, can make a difference in this election."

The supporters insisted a Biden administration would not only bring peace among different ethnic groups but also restore America's leadership on the global stage.

"As president, Joe Biden will immediately take steps to renew US democracy and alliances and protect our economic future and help to restore America's leadership on the global stage," Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), a former national security specialist at the Department of Defense, said.

Murphy argued that President Donald Trump has undermined the United States' relationships with its key allies, in turn weakening its ability to mobilize others against common threats, such as climate change and nuclear proliferation.

"And unlike Donald Trump, Joe Biden is a battle-tested leader who is going to strengthen our relationship with our allies in Asia and Europe, and he's going to stand up for America's interests and values, in the face of aggression from China and Russia," the congresswoman said. (Yonhap)