Asian-American vote up for grabs? Not so fast, says Margaret Cho

By Aliyah Shahid

Asian-Americans may be the fastest growing minority group in the United States, but lumping them into a voting bloc could prove detrimental, says comedian Margaret Cho.

“Asian-American voters don’t have a group identity because there are so many diverse identities within what we call Asian America,” Cho told msnbc’s Melissa Harris-Perry on Sunday. “There’s an unwillingness for everyone to identify as the same.”

Her remarks come as Obama has recently made efforts to reach out to the Asian-American community. In 2008, Asian-Americans made up 2% of the electorate, but that figure is expected to increase this time around.

Cho chastised President Obama—who was born in Hawaii and raised in Indonesia—for telling a group of Asian-American business leaders in Palo Alto, Calif. earlier this month that “coming here feels a bit like coming home.”

 ”I think he does sort of claim [that he’s Asian]—in the same sort of way Tiger Woods says he is Asian,” she said, referring to the golf icon who is part Thai, African-American, Chinese, Native-American and Dutch. 

According to a new Lake Research Partner poll, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are largely being ignored by both parties.The group identified themselves as Democrats over Republicans by a 3-to-1 margin. But only 23% said they were contacted by the Democratic party over the past two years, while 17% said they were contacted by the GOP.

According to the latest Census data, there are about 7.3 million Asian Americans, or about 3% of the population, in the U.S. today. That number is expected to balloon to 20 million, or more than 6%, by 2020. 

Jane Junn, a political science professor at the University of Southern California, told msnbc that Asian-Americans cast their ballots according to issues important to most voters in the country, including the economy, healthcare and jobs. She acknowledged Asian-Americans tend to vote Democratic overall because of the “language of inclusiveness in the Democratic party.” 

Barack Obama

Asian-American vote up for grabs? Not so fast, says Margaret Cho