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GOP confronts big trouble in Little Saigon

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WESTMINSTER, Calif. — Here in the heart of Orange County’s Little Saigon, home to the largest number of Vietnamese Americans outside of Vietnam, the GOP is quietly conducting an experiment that will go a long way toward determining the future of the party.

In a strip mall storefront off Bolsa Avenue, the Republican National Committee in June opened its first Asian Pacific American community center, designed to organize, recruit and train AAPI volunteers, in addition to providing a gathering place for local grassroots activists.

The idea is to use the center to build the GOP’s ground game, but that’s only part of what’s happening here. People who identify as Asian are the fastest-growing racial group in the nation, according to recently released Census figures, and the Republican Party is floundering in its attempts to win them over.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump by 69 percent to 25 percent among AAPI voters nationally. Trump ran ahead of that pace in 2020 but still lost by a landslide margin — 61 percent to 34 percent, according to exit polls. In California, the result was even worse: Joe Biden won 3 out of every 4 Asian voters.

Even in Orange County, among the Vietnamese American voters who have long been a part of the Republican coalition, the GOP has been losing ground. After an election year in which AAPI voters turned out across the nation in record numbers, there is greater urgency than ever for the party to rethink its approach.

"The only way to grow the base of the GOP is by sticking with the core issues, running on the issues that would make the GOP an attractive party for hardworking immigrants, and not so much rally around a cult personality,” said Tyler Diep, a former Republican assemblyman from Orange County. “And I think that if the party can ever get to that state again, then it can be competitive nationwide. But if not, then I'm not sure how successful we can be as a party in the long run with the AAPI community."

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, with the Sept. 14 California governor recall........

© Politico

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