Democratic Investments Set the Stage for Record AAPI Voter Turnout

Democrats, including the DNC and the Biden campaign, worked in close partnership to make unprecedented early investments in building the on-the-ground infrastructure needed to mobilize AAPI voters and set the stage for record-breaking AAPI turnout in 2020. Here are some of the Democratic programs that contributed to the historic level of AAPI voter engagement this year:

Early Community Outreach and Infrastructure Building: Democrats invested early and big in building critical infrastructure to engage AAPI communities in key battleground states that served the Biden campaign and Democrats at every level of the ballot during the general election. Here are just a few examples of Democratic efforts:

  • Beginning in 2017 and beyond, the DNC prioritized continuous and consistent engagement with AAPI communities by building a strong network of AAPI caucuses and councils in Democratic state parties across key battlegrounds, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.

  • DNC Vice Chair Grace Meng and AAPI Caucus Chair Bel Leong-Hong worked to connect local AAPI elected officials to the DNC’s national infrastructure, and facilitate meaningful Democratic party engagement with a diverse group of AAPI communities, including the Hmong American community, which is the largest Asian ethnic group in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

  • DNC senior leadership met with AAPI community leaders in Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Detroit, Miami, Houston, Dallas, and Atlanta to discuss grassroots outreach efforts and bring key AAPI voices into the fold.

  • The Biden campaign organized early in the primary election through the general, including organizing over 14 AAPI affinity groups, AAPI State Leadership Councils in most key battleground states, and a robust national grassroots infrastructure.

  • The Biden campaign spearheaded culturally relevant engagement by organizing more than 200 events targeting specific affinity groups to discuss various issues important to the diverse communities within the AAPI electorate. Live translations in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese were offered during events.

Granular Data: Early on, Democrats recognized the need for granular data on the diverse AAPI electorate. That’s why we made massive investments in data and technology to give organizers the tools they needed to start conversations on the unique challenges that each AAPI community faces.

  • The DNC’s sophisticated data targeting program facilitated Democrats’ granular, constituency-specific outreach to AAPI voters. As a result, we empowered organizing teams to micro-target AAPI voters based on 16 different ethnicities, including South Asian, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, and Hmong.

  • This was the first ever presidential cycle where granular data on AAPI voters was made widely and directly available, allowing state programs to conduct targeted outreach to specific ethnic and affinity groups within the AAPI community.

  • The DNC’s data targeting program was instrumental in helping the coordinated campaign make millions of calls and texts to AAPI voters in key battleground states.

  • The Biden campaign organized phone and text banks based on sub-ethnicity and faith, many of them in-language.

Advertising: Democrats made an unprecedented investment in meeting AAPI voters where they are and in the language they speak through multilingual ad campaigns across battleground states.

  • The DNC launched a multilingual print, digital, and radio advertising campaign to reach 1 million AAPI voters in key battleground states as part of a six-figure investment in get-out-the-vote ads in constituency media. The ads ran in Chinese, English, Hindi, Korean, Telugu and Urdu, and Vietnamese in national and local outlets across the country.

  • The Biden campaign launched an unprecedented seven-figure investment in paid media in language to reach AAPI voters through multilingual television, digital, radio and print ads that aired nationally and in over 16 key battleground states — the largest ever political advertising investment specifically targeted at AAPI voters from a presidential campaign.

Targeted Outreach: Starting as early as October 2019, the Biden campaign released in-language campaign materials translated into 20 different languages, including Hmong, Hindi, Tagalog, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese.

  • Biden penned op-ed pieces in prominent AAPI constituency media outlets, including Yonhap News, India West, Viet Bao, and World Journal — some of the first ever from a presidential candidate.

  • In October 2020, the AAPIs for Biden coalition organized an “AAPIs Assemble! Virtual Bus Tour” that made 12 stops in key battleground states to drive AAPI voter registration and educate AAPI voters.

  • The campaign also provided live translations at events and released in-language Fact Sheets tailored to different AAPI constituency groups.

AAPI Organizing: Democrats put robust organizing programs in place to reach AAPI voters early and often, and facilitate cycle-long conversations with AAPI communities in key battleground states.

  • In 2018, the DNC made a six-figure investment in organizing staff dedicated to engaging AAPI communities in targeted areas, including in Southern California, Phoenix, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Las Vegas, Houston, and Atlanta.

  • Early in 2020, the DNC funded organizing staff focused specifically on reaching AAPI voters and engaging with AAPI community leaders in the early primary states of Iowa and Nevada, as well as in Texas.

  • During the general election, Democrats’ coordinated campaign organizers specifically focused on engaging the AAPI community and building coalitions in key battleground states including Arizona, Georgia, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

  • The Biden campaign’s staff included a National AAPI Director and an expanded national AAPI team in the general election.

Coalition Building: Ahead of the election, the DNC played a key role in building a broad coalition of support in the AAPI community for Joe Biden. Through continuous conversations with a diverse group of AAPI leaders across the country — including elected officials, community leaders, organizers, small business owners, technologists, and activists — the DNC helped to unite AAPI leaders behind the Biden-Harris ticket.