In Chinatown, Surprising Support for Trump from New Immigrants

(Photo by Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons license)

(Photo by Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons license)

A random sampling of recent Chinese immigrants in Chinatown suggests that support for presidential candidate Donald Trump is surprisingly strong, writes Rong Xiaoqing in City Limits.

A reporter for Sing Tao Daily in New York, Xiaoqing notes that a poll as recently as May indicated that only 19 percent of Asian voters favored Trump, with Chinese support coming in even lower, at 17 percent. But she draws a distinction between likely responses from Chinese Americans and Chinese who have lived here for many years, and more recent Chinese immigrants, who “have no family members directly affected by the notorious Chinese Exclusion Act, who may not know of the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War.”

Here’s what she found, sampling the views of some in Chinatown:

A street artist said she thought Trump’s idea of barring Muslims coming into this country could really make America safe. A real-estate agent who was smuggled into this country in the 1980s from a rural area in Southern China said he thought Trump would be a better president than Clinton because he is rich, and “a rich person won’t abuse his presidency for his own financial interest.” An office manager who came to this country a decade ago to attend graduate school said she thought Trump is right to put the interests of documented immigrants ahead of undocumented immigrants.

And the most pungent quote came from a craft vendor on Chinatown’s Canal Street, who likes Trump’s outspoken style and hates Clinton for being part of the establishment. “I think Trump is like Sichuan food. It may be covered by peppers and look scarily hot but it’s indeed delicious,” he said. “And Hillary is like an old pear. It may look beautiful on the surface but it is rotten inside.”

For more analysis of the surprising support, and how recent immigrants may be misreading signals Trump is sending, go to City Limits.

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