Frequently Asked Questions

Important 80-20 FAQ's

The proposed plan is to use the presidential election of year 2000 to gain equal opportunity for Asian Americans. The fact is that Asian Americans have only one-third of the opportunity enjoyed by other Americans to rise to management levels in the academic and corporate world where millions of us work (see following page). In addition, subtler discrimination works against us in almost every aspect of our lives. This impacts our children’s access to top universities, our community leaders' access to policy-level government service, and our business people's access to small business loans, ..., etc.

The time has come for Asian Americans to practice ‘realpolitik’ -- the kind of pragmatic politics practiced by other immigrant groups in their paths to equality. We must reward the political leaders and parties that fight for our equal opportunity. We must censure those who don't - through the ballot boxes as our framers empowered us to do.

We are nine million in number and strategically located in CA and NY - states with the largest electoral college votes in the presidential election. Hence we have the ability to reward and censure political parties effectively during a presidential election by adopting the right plan of action. That plan is for us to (1) publicly inform the two parties that we are dissatisfied with their services, (2) give the two parties between now and the presidential election of 2000 to compete to redeem themselves, (3) empower a small group of our community leaders to endorse, after the national conventions of both parties in 2008, one political party based strictly on how hard it has fought for our equal opportunity between now and then (See Endorsement Committee Structure for details), (4) form a Pan-Asian coalition to vote and contribute money to the presidential nominee of the endorsed party, regardless of our personal choices and party affiliations, and (5) pore all our organizational energy into California (12% Asian Americans), New York (5%), and New Jersey (5%), where Asian Americans are most populous, and whose summed electoral college votes are about half of what is needed to be elected President. The goal is to achieve a margin of 80/20 in favor of the presidential candidate of the endorsed party.

With such a margin, we have the ability to make or break the presidential nominee of either party. Then and only then will the two political parties look out for our rightful interests even when it is sometimes politically inconvenient.

The above strategy is aggressive and lawful. Indeed it is in the best tradition of democracy -- citizens exercising our rights to assemble and using our power of the ballot box to work for our rightful interests. For those reasons, the two parties will likely respond positively, as soon as they get wind of this plan. However, we should not be made complacent by the initial flurry of positive gestures from the two parties. True equal opportunity will come ONLY after we have demonstrated our political maturity to vote 80/20 for one or other party.

No. But you be the judge. (1) Academic administrators are predominantly drawn from faculty and professionals in universities. The ratio of the number of administrative personnel to the number of faculty plus professional could attest to whether Asian Americans have been discriminated. Nationwide, that ratio for blacks (non-Hispanic) is 0.21; for Native Americans is 0.20; for whites (non-Hispanic) is 0.16; for Hispanics is 0.15, using data provided by National Center for Education Statistics, US Department of Education. However, it is only 0.06 for Asian Americans. In other words, Asian-American faculty and professionals in institutions of higher education institutions have only one third the opportunity to rise into management as all other Americans. Bear in mind that the academic world is where Asian Americans contributed greatly -- seven Nobel Laureates in 4 decades.

(2) Statistics from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission show that in companies with over 38,000 employees, Asian Americans are the only minority group that is disproportionately under-represented in managerial positions.

(3) President Clinton promised in 1994 to make his Cabinet "look like America itself." To his credit, he appointed women, blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans to cabinet and sub-cabinet positions. However, of the 250 such positions that are at or above the rank of assistant secretary, he appointed only one Asian American to be an assistant secretary. One Asian American out of every 250 Americans is not the demography of America: we are nine out of every 250 Americans. When Clinton and Gore campaigned for their second term, their emissaries worked the Asian American community hard. They urged us to contribute generously so that they could, after the election, help us achieve equal opportunity. The Asian Americans responded most generously, some too generously. Asian Americans voted slightly more Democratic for the first time in decades. However, when the election was over and the John Huang scandal ballooned, promises of inclusion and equal opportunity were forgotten. The same pattern of token appointment for Asian Americans continued - one assistant secretary and one acting assistant attorney general were appointed. And of the 845 serving federal judges, only 6 are Asian Americans.

If Asian Americans were grossly under-represented in only one of the above three categories of leadership positions, or if Asian Americans were under-represented in all 3 categories, but only slightly so, there might be more subtle explanations that account for such facts. However, when Asian Americans are grossly under-represented in all three categories and are the only minority group to bear that fate, we think the facts speak for themselves. We must stand up and be counted. We must have the courage to take corrective measures. Our plan of action will help us and our children gain equal opportunity. Indeed, our efforts will help make America "a more perfect Union."

Absolutely. Ask any political strategist, "Which of the following two constituent groups would you court earnestly – one with 1 million people or one with 10 million?" The answer will be, "It depends. If the 10 million group tends to vote 50/50, say 52/48 at best, and the 1 million group has the internal cohesion to swing from one party to the other and deliver at 80/20, then any politician will court the 1 million constituent group more diligently." Why? Because the larger group, voting 52/48, can only deliver a margin of 4%. Four percentage of 10 million provides a margin of 400,000 votes only, while the smaller group, only 1/10 in size, delivers a margin of 800,000 votes.

In California, New York and New Jersey, Asian Americans can easily affect the outcome of the presidential election in 2008, when we vote 80/20 for the candidate of the endorsed party. Mind you, the total electoral college votes of those three states is about half of what is needed to elect a president.

The John Huang scandal set us back badly. But we can turn a disaster into a golden opportunity. There is so much frustration and anger in our community against both parties these days that the time is ripe for us to forge the necessary unity in order to make the above strategy work.

Our numbers are small. We traditionally voted and contributed to each party about 50/50. These two factors condemned us to be the doormat of both political parties. However, when we will have forged unity and adopted the right strategy, overnight we'll become the darling of both parties.

Have you ever wondered why the Jewish Americans, only 6 million in population, are politically so powerful? It is because they demonstrated that they have the internal cohesiveness to vote and togive financially in lopsided ratios for a presidential candidate of either party. The African Americans voted 90/10 for Democratic presidential candidates in recent decades. However, their one party affiliation makes them less effective.

For state and local elections, we may want to maintain our party loyalty so that we don't waste  hard earned political capital, small as it may be. By the same token, we must give those Asian Americans who are currently holding offices or running for offices elbow-room during our execution of the plan. Don't force them to make a choice between our strategy and their party loyalty. Their hands are tied. We must think strategically and long-term.

As soon as both parties recognize that we have a good strategy and are gaining support at the grass-roots level, they will compete to win our favor. Specifically, they may do the following.

First, the Party in control of the White House and the executive branch, will immediately make a series of significant appointments of AsAms to policy-making positions. It'll be the easiest thing to do because there will be no political repercussions -- ordinary citizens don't pay attention to sub-cabinet level appointments, and the Democratic senators, by that time, will not be foolish enough to oppose the nominations. Federal grants may flow like water to such AsAm civic organizations as OCA, JACL, AAJA (journalists), AALA (lawyers), IFSSS, LEAP, NAPABA (bar), Asian Pacific Legal Center ..., etc. Federal "Small Business Loans" may become much more available to AAs.

Second, the Party that is in control of the Legislative branch will open congressional hearings on the strong statistical evidence showing the existence of glass ceilings for AsAms in the academic and corporate world. The committees may criticize the current or previous Administration for leaving AsAms out of Cabinet positions. The hearings may conclude with explicit instructions to relevant federal agencies (e.g. the Department of Education, EEOC, and Commerce Department) to report annually to Congress with evidence of progress in removing the glass ceilings of AsAms. Such actions will cause the universities and corporations to begin treating AsAms as first class citizens -- drastically increasing opportunity for good jobs to millions of AsAms in the academic and corporate world. The Administration may decide to compete with Congress for turf in this vital arena. If so, great!

Third, both parties will begin to court well-established AsAm fund-raisers again. Presently, the two parties cannot put enough distance between themselves and their respective AsAm fund-raisers. The parties figure that those fund-raisers have no alternative but to come back to the fold when the parties need them in the coming election year. But once the parties are aware of our plan of action each party will fear that its AsAm fund-raisers may defect to the other party. Both parties shall demonstrate a quick change of heart. However, I don't think our AsAm fund-raisers will be that easily pacified.

Fourth, both parties will seriously recruit AsAm candidates to run for various city, county and state offices in order to win our favor. The parties may also begin to treat AsAm candidates on equal footing with other minority candidates in term of protecting them from intra-party primaries.

Fifth, statesmen in both parties, regardless of their racial background, will secretly be pleased that Asian Americans have finally wised up and adopted the American way -- using the political system to climb out from the underclass to the class of equality. Generations of earlier immigrants have done just that -- the Irish, the Polish, and the Italians in the last two centuries; the Jewish, the blacks and the Hispanics in this century. Those statesmen will know that by helping us remove the glass ceilings, they help at the same time build "a more perfect Union."

Of the 5 responses anticipated above, the second one will probably benefit the largest number of AsAms in the most significant manner.

The following are estimated 1997 population statistics:

Total Asian Am population: 9.5 to 10 million
Population ratios among the major ethnic groups:
Chinese
Filipino
Viet/Cam/Laos
Japanese
Indian
Korean
2
1.8
1.1
1.1
1
1

AA Population in cities (in million):
California
NY
Other
LA SF/Oakland San Diego Sacramento Greater NY Chicago
1.3
.4
.26
.16
.5
.32

The purpose of raising money is to get votes. The purpose of casting votes is to decide who gets enough electoral college votes to be the next president. If Asian Americans at this time already has enough assets -- emotion, strategic locations in CA, NY and NJ, and leadership -- to impact upon about half of the electoral votes needed to elect a president, we have "THE pressure point" right under our thumbs.

Unite and seize the opportunity for the sake of our children and ourselves. Be proud to have also helped make America "a more perfect Union."