A new super PAC, the Asian American Pacific Islander Victory Fund (the “AAPI Victory Fund”) seeks to mobilize the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities during the upcoming 2016 election. But what exactly is a super PAC you ask? Oxford dictionaries describe the super PAC (Political Action Committee) as a “type of independent political action committee which may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, and individuals but is not permitted to contribute to or coordinate directly with parties or candidates”
For example, a super PAC cannot say they specifically support Donald Trump and their funds go directly in Mr. Trump’s pockets, but with the super PAC’s own funds it can run ads that are favorable to Mr. Trump or negative ads that go against competing candidates e.g. Ben Carson or Ted Cruz. It is no surprise that super PACs are as controversial as they are popular, with super PAC’s currently raising millions (sometimes even hundreds of millions), during election season and providing a monetary backbone for candidates. Moreover, although super PACs are required to release the names of donors, many PACs avoid disclosure through affiliated nonprofit organizations that are not required to release names of donors and many donors can remain unidentified for months.
The APPI Victory Fund is an original type of super PAC because its focuses specifically on voter turnout and civic engagement of the APPI community. As the website states, the AAPI Victory Fund’s ultimate goals are to have “a position of influence for the 2016 Presidential candidates,” to “mobilize a broad population … [to show] AAPI force not just in numbers, but also in its leverage on the issues that impact and matter to us.” This fund will hopefully combat the surprisingly low number of registered AAPI voters turning out to vote (currently more than one-third of registered AAPI voters do not turn out). This super PAC is designed to provide a movement toward political advocacy for the over 18 million AAPI persons in the United States.
In the current 2016 election cycle, with immigration issues taking center stage in many political debates, AAPI voters have an opportunity to have their voices heard nationwide and potentially could be seen as a community that should be focused on more politically. Hillary Clinton’s campaign is one of the few candidates who see the advantages of obtaining the AAPI vote, with recent functions specifically tailored to obtain AAPI voters, the now fastest-growing racial group in the nation. As recent as January of 2016, Clinton has made speeches to try and appeal to Asian voters through immigration reform (specifically to shorten wait times for those seeking visas). She has also aligned herself with Democratic Asian Representatives such as Judy Chu, the chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and has been vocal about her past ties and experiences in the Philippines.
Although nothing is guaranteed when the time to vote comes, the potential AAPI vote with the help of super PACs like the AAPI Victory Fund could prove fruitful for AAPI persons nation-wide. Now is the time for the AAPI to take advantage of its voting power and to not be silent in the next election.* For more on the AAPI Victory Fund, or to donate to the APPI Victory Fund, visit their website: http://www.aapivictoryfund.com/. * Please note there is no political affiliation associated with this post.
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