Members of the Asian American Pacific Islander community participate in a Tagalog caucus training put on by the Cory Booker for President campaign. (Photo: Michael Lyle)
Ano ba ang Demokratikong Pagpupulong ng Partido ng Nevada?
In Tagalog, it translates to “What is the Nevada Democratic Caucus?”
More campaign materials and presidential candidates are expected to cater to the rising Asian American Pacific Island community, especially Nevada’s growing Filipino population. On Feb 22 when Nevada becomes the third state to vote in the presidential nomination process, Tagalog will be included in the caucus for the first time.
Presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker was the first campaign to host a caucus training in Tagalog during a visit Wednesday. Speaking with members of the AAPI community, Booker stressed the importance of diversity and having their voices included.
“I believe we are a better nation when the voices of our country, when diverse people in our country aren’t just voting but also helping to lead,” he said. “That’s what my campaign is going to be about. When I’m president of the United States, God willing, we will have the most powerful administration because we have the value of diversity and inclusion as a part of my administration.”
Holding signs that read “Mag-Kokus Para-Kay Cory” or Caucus for Cory in Tagalog, about 20 people from the AAPI community attended the training.
Booker also answered questions on issues ranging from immigration to education. But mostly, the event was designed for people to learn about the caucus process, which was explained in Tagalog.
“Every campaign needs to understand the diversity in the state,” said Alana Mounce, the executive director of the Nevada Democratic Party. “One third of our community is Hispanic and another 10 percent in Nevada is AAPI. I think campaigns should focus on trainings for (those communities) to mobilize them.”
Some campaigns have been hosting Spanish-specific trainings trying to cater to Nevada’s Latino-heavy population. While other candidates have done AAPI outreach and events for the community, no other campaign has announced any Tagalog-specific trainings.
The AAPI community had nearly 6 million eligible voters across the country in 2015, which is projected to grow to more than 12 million by 2040 according to Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote.
Nevada has one of the nation’s fastest growing AAPI populations, which has increased 167 percent since 2000 according to the policy research group AAPI Data.
An estimated 335,000 AAPI Nevadans account for roughly 10 percent of the state’s population. About half of them, roughly 162,000 are Filipino.
In preparation, Mounce said the party has been preparing caucus training materials in Tagalog and is planning a mock caucus with the AAPI community in January. She also added that one of the early vote locations will be at Chinatown Plaza.
Booker’s courtship of the AAPI population also comes at a time he hasn’t risen much in the polls. “I hear pundits ask, ‘Cory, what about poll numbers?’ ” he said. “I laugh at that because if the polling was predictive we wouldn’t have had a President Obama.”
But getting AAPI participation and reaching into diverse communities, he added, is also is about encouraging stronger election turnout overall, which he noted is how sweeping change happens in this country.
“The last time we had record turnouts in 2008 and 2012 it was because we brought forward the biggest rainbow coalition this nation had ever seen in participation,” he said. “We swept in one president and got back the Senate with (voting) majorities we haven’t seen since.”
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