How will America’s diaspora communities vote?

Immigrant diasporas could help swing today's presidential election

Latitude News staff By Latitude News staff

People vote at Holy Cross School during the U.S. presidential election in Indianapolis, Indiana, November 6, 2012. (Reuters/Aaron Bernstein)

At last. Election Day.

For a sideways look at what might happen at the polling booths, we’ve examined how the world’s press is covering their various diaspora voting blocks in the U.S.

Disillusionment is the prevailing sentiment among Arab Americans, according to the Saudi-owned television station Al Arabiya. When it comes to policy towards the Middle East, the general consensus is that it won’t make much difference who is in the White House. What’s also shared among the 1.9 million strong community is a frustration with the “media’s misrepresentation of Muslims and Arabs.”

“While concerned with the fate of their countries of origin, the main political battle for Arab American activists has been one for the guarantee of their communities’ civil liberties in the United States. In the past years, they have rallied efforts against racial profiling and police surveillance of Arabs and Muslims… Nevertheless, [James Zogby, director of the Arab American Institute] stresses, that political leaders from both parties are paying more and more attention to the Arab American constituency.”

Meanwhile, nine million Polish-American voters are being directly lobbied by anti-communist hero, Nobel-prize winner and former President of Poland Lech Walesa. Four years ago, Polish Radio reports, Walesa supported Barack Obama. This time round? He’s changed his mind.

“‘The USA needs someone new,’ Walesa told Polish news source Onet. ‘[Romney] is a man of values with a clear view on business,’ the former Solidarity leader said. ‘It would be good for America and the world if someone with both moral and economic values was more prominent,’ he added.”

America’s first Chinese American congresswoman has urged her fellow Chinese-Americans to vote – whatever the candidate – in today’s presidential election, reports the China Daily. In a letter to her supporters, Judy Chu (D-CA) wrote:

“Asian-Americans are now the fastest-growing community in the US, and we are uniquely positioned to have a profound impact on the 2012 elections. But that only happens if you choose to vote. Now is our chance to honor our forbears who never had the voting privileges that we enjoy today.”

Four million Americans are of Chinese descent, or around 1.3 percent of the population. Analysts expect Asian-Americans to have a big impact in crucial swing-states like Nevada, Pennsylvania, Florida and especially Virginia, where they make up about seven percent of the population.

Finally, the Salvadoran digital newspaper El Faro expresses disappointment that U.S. policy towards Latin America never became an issue in this year’s president election.

“It is significant, for example, that when the Washington Post, the week after the first debate, published a series on the difference between Obama and Romney around six policy issues, it made no reference to Latin American in the section about foreign policy. None.”

But that neglect seems to have hurt Romney more than Obama. If Mexicans could vote, reports El Financiero, 61.2 percent would vote for the president. Only 13.2 support Romney.