Interesting article and comments here about why the Republican Party has failed to capture the votes and imaginations of most Asian immigrants to the US.
As many have observed, many Asians come with a certain set of values that in theory would make them a shoo-in to vote conservative. Many Asian cultures, particular Indians, Chinese, Koreans and Japanese, are very aspirational, with strong beliefs in the importance of achieving status or material success through education and hard work. Yet these groups are some of the most solidly Democratic. Indian-Americans are the highest-earning ethnic group in the US, yet they are 4 times more likely to identify as Democrats rather than Republicans. Of the major Asian-American groups, only Vietnamese show a significant lean towards the Republican party. This is another example of how material self-interest is not always a dominant factor in how a group votes. Vietnamese are more working-class than the aforementioned groups, as unlike the others they have a foundation in the refugee experience rather than as skilled migrants. But that refugee experience seems to shape their voting patterns in a different way; having fled the Communist Party, they are drawn to the strongly anti-Communist Republicans.
But the Republicans are not merely the party of business and the free market. They are also the party of social conservatism, and therein lies the problem.
Bryan Caplan, focusing particular on Indian-Americans, thinks it's a matter of the Republicans showing them more respect, to the point of pandering. Right-wing race blogger Steve Sailer, in the comments, thinks it's the opposite: that white America needs to respect itself more, which will make groups like Indians and Hispanics want to associate with the white majority, rather than being drawn into the identity politics that are often characteristic of the Left.
But respect need not go as far as pandering. Asian-Americans are a group that will assimilate into the mainstream quite easily, given the chance. By comparison, the Repubs have a whole heap of historical baggage coming between them and African-Americans and Hispanics. Those groups are easily attracted by identity politics because conservative white America (for whom the Republicans are the mouthpiece) has constantly alienated them, even without trying. To win those groups over (especiall African-Americans), the conservative side needs to make serious gestures over an extended period of time, like an abusive husband trying to convince a departed wife that he's changed. But the Asian community does not have that same amount of historical baggage. All the Republicans need to do to win over a sizeable chunk of Asian votes is to show that they don't think there's anything inherently wrong with not being a white Christian.
Indians, for example, are largely Hindu, with Sikhs, Christians and Muslims making up the rest. Hindus assimilate into the mainstream more easily than Sikhs and Muslims, largely because their religion as commonly practiced does not make huge distinctions between believer and non-believer. But many don't feel at home in the Republican Party, largely because the party sees them as foreign and strange, and treats them accordingly. Muslims and Sikhs even more so. It is telling that the two Indian-Americans with the highest profile in the Republican Party have both converted to Christianity and Anglicized their names - Bobby (Piyush) Jindal and Nikki Haley (born Nimrata Kaur Randhawa).
I'm not a conservative and thus I can't say I want Asian-Americans to start voting Republican. But if the Republican Party can drag itself a little further out of its medieval xenophobic headspace in which the only good candidate is a Bible-thumping one, then it will start to see rewards. And that shift would be better for everyone.