By Jordan Lalata, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
SAN FRANCISCO – Some voters are still undecided, others aren’t registered in California, but a group of AAPI youth is feeling the Bern.
The Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco’s Japantown was a strategic location for these Bernie Sanders supporters to outreach to the Bay Area’s significant Asian American and Pacific Islander population.
Sanders supporter Christine organized a meeting to encourage a large AAPI voter turnout at California’s critical Democratic primary on June 7. Sanders needs to win by a huge margin in California in order to stay in the race.
AAPI voters could make a difference, but Christine said Asian Americans in the area may not yet be familiar with Sanders’ message.
“It was really concerning and shocking that no one was leading the effort to reach out to this community,” said Christine. “This community, for the most part, is still very pro-Hillary just by name recognition.”
A recent field poll showed Sanders actually leading among Asian American Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters in California by 44 percent, with Clinton trailing slightly at 43 percent.
While the nerve center of Sanders’ California campaign operates from Los Angeles, Christine believes the heart of his movement in the Golden State is right in the Bay.
“I think the Bay Area has always been a leader,” she said. “Other cities and counties have always looked to this area to lead in innovative things. If we can set the example here, I think other places in California and the rest of the nation will also follow.”
Fil-Am Al Ydian agrees, adding that Sanders has acknowledged the Fil-Am community by addressing the larger issues of immigration and inequality.
“He’s a supporter of the immigrants,” said Ydian. “He, from day one, would always say he’s for us no matter what color you are. That’s why I really feel to Bernie Sanders.”
Much of Sanders’s momentum, so far, has been fueled by younger voters like Ydian, who are 45 years old and under.
“There’s a lot of young people here that can change the outcome of the elections,” he said. “Now, people are aware of what’s really happening in the system, especially in D.C.”
California has a closed primary. To be eligible, voters must register as either Republican, Democrat or no party preference by May 23.
No to BERNNNNN!!!