Vietnamese-Americans look forward to election day spectacle

By Anh Ngoc   November 3, 2020 | 03:47 pm GMT+7
Vietnamese-Americans look forward to election day spectacle
Voters wait in line to enter a polling place and cast their ballots on the first day of the state's in-person early voting for the general elections in Durham, North Carolina, U.S. October 15, 2020. Photo by Reuters.
Jimmy Luong plans to vote for President Donald Trump and party with friends while waiting for the election results on Tuesday night.

"I will vote on November 3 at a polling booth near my house. Perhaps my vote will help Trump win, or at least make Biden lost one vote," the Vietnamese-American, a resident of Boston, Massachusetts.

Massachusetts is a blue, or Democratic, state, but Luong, who has been in the country for 15 years, supports Trump.

When he initially took office in 2017 he did not like him, but after four years he likes Trump’s employment and tax policies, he said.

"On the evening of November 3, I will hold a party and watch the election result on TV with 10 other friends, nine of them Trump supporters."

He has bought nine Trump shirts, while the other will wear a Biden shirt.

"Those voting for the losing candidate will have to drink beer as punishment."

According to a survey by the Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC, Asian and Pacific, Islander American Vote (APIAVote) and AAPI Data in September, Vietnamese Americans are the only Asian American group that prefers Donald Trump to Joe Biden in this presidential election.

As of November 2, more than 96 million people had already voted, either by mail or early, according to the nonpartisan United States Election Project. In the entire 2016 election, 136.5 million people voted, so turnout is already more than two-thirds that number.

While Biden is well ahead in the polls, things are not open and shut since most Republicans will choose to vote on election day instead of by mail.

Many Trump supporters have said they are not afraid of standing in line or Covid-19 when waiting to vote on November 3. Some others are worried mail-in ballots might face trouble, making voting in person a Hobson’s choice.

Many Vietnamese-Americans are thrilled that the presidential election is almost upon them.

"I will wait until November 3 to vote and enjoy the vibe," Julia Ngo of Westminster, California, said.

Her state has allowed voting booths to open since October 30, which is later than most others. But Ngo, busy with work, will cast her vote on Tuesday evening just before the close.

"We will wear a Trump shirt and hat to the poll."

She has been surprised to see a lot of Trump supporters in her blue town but not many banners and posters supporting Biden.

But supporters of the former vice president have a reason for that: most have voted by mail or early to avoid the Covid-19 threat, so they will not be joining the bustle out on the streets.

A helicopter passes over the White House, seen behind a fence and protest posters, the day before the US presidential election in Washington, DC, November 2, 2020. Photo by Reuters

A helicopter passes over the White House, seen behind a fence and protest posters, the day before the US presidential election in Washington, DC, November 2, 2020. Photo by Reuters.

Huy Pham of Willits, California, said: "I chose Biden for many reasons. In general, the Democratic Party is more open in its policies on immigrants, black people and the environment; which is the worldwide trend."

Under the Trump administration, many middle-class people have seen their quality of life deteriorate or have lost jobs, and he is curious to see the fate of America after November 3, he said.

Poll after poll has showed Biden leading Trump in many swing states, but the president has claimed those numbers are wrong and he would win.

Many Vietnamese-Americans are now seeing the difference within their families when it comes to choosing between Trump and Biden.

In Florida, a crucial swing state where Biden leads by 1.7 points according to an average of leading polls, Dinh Cong Bang and his son have not voted yet, while his wife and daughter have cast their votes for Trump.

"The number of mail-in ballots is huge this year, so counting and checking the votes will be a challenge," Bang said.

"If they cannot finish the job on November 3, people will protest as both sides are worried the other will cheat."

In Massachusetts many people are also worried about possible post-election violence by the losing side. A large drugstore in Boston has barricaded itself from potential protesters.

Many ethnic Vietnamese will also work as poll workers.

Huong Nguyen of Texas will work from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at a booth but believed that the number of voters on election day would not be high since many have voted early.

"My job is to check their personal information to see whether they are eligible to vote," Huong, who cooked for her family before her busy Tuesday, said.

She hoped that people would vote since everyone’s voice matters.

"Vietnamese who have become Americans should exercise their civil rights. Vote for whom you trust, or leave the ballot blank if no candidate deserves your trust."

 
 
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