<Losers who fulfill their duties are not losers>
The 2014 Midterm Elections have ended with the ruling Democratic Party suffering a complete defeat. The Republican Party gained control of the Senate by keeping its 3 seats and picking up 7. In addition, the GOP also picked up 10 seats in the lower chamber. While the Republican Party has achieved a sweeping victory in 70 years, the Democratic Party, which once seized control of both the Senate and the House in the 2006 Midterm Elections during the Bush administration, has degenerated into a minor party within 8 years. As the opposition party became the majority in D.C., it seems inevitable that the remainder of President Obama’s political journey be a daunting and formidable one.
According to the analysis of the 2014 Midterm Elections results, the voters seem to be holding the Obama Administration responsible; although they cast their votes for the GOP, it is not because they approved of its political strategies, but because they were deeply disappointed at the Obama Administration.
In fact, the ethnic minorities who voted for Obama in the last presidential election did not participate, making this year’s midterm election turnout the lowest in 30 years. For this reason, it is difficult to accurately comprehend the public sentiment based on this year’s midterm election results. Even though the GOP achieved a landslide victory, it is hard to predict that it will be in an advantageous position for the 2016 presidential election.
However, the current voting tendency of the electorate is favorable for the minority presidential candidates. This is because only the ethnic minority voter groups create the bandwagon effect in elections. An ideal presidential election requires two important things: a voter turnout and cohesiveness. First, the electorate must participate in elections. Voter turnout is far more important than the mere number of eligible voters because it leads to unity and cohesion, which further leads to a surge of votes. Although it is premature to say that Korean American voters show this tendency, experts are cautiously asserting that Korean American electorate possesses such potential. Thus, evidently the most important thing is voter participation.
From this year’s midterm election, the Korean American community must learn two important lessons. First and foremost, if a candidate runs for an election for the Korean American community, he or she must have a background in the grassroots activity of the community. Secondly, the election campaign fund must be made at an early stage. For example, the title as ‘a grassroots politician’ allowed Ron Kim to successfully win the seat of the House at the reelection in the fifth congressional district of Flushing. Ron Kim had a clear answer to the question, “Why should I cast my vote for you?”—his answer was “I am a son of Flushing. I was born and raised and was active in this area.” In a local district election, there isn’t a stronger winning tactic. One of the most apparent weaknesses of New Jersey’s candidate, Roy Cho, was that he did not have a valid answer to confront the overwhelming criticism that he suddenly appeared from a thin air to run for the office. Roy Cho needed to let his name be known among the local Korean American electorate at least a few years before the election. Moreover, he was also falling behind in amassing his campaign funds. Undeniably, a crucial factor in anyone who is running for an election is “Early Money”. Despite the fact that Roy Cho earnestly asked for Korean American voters to support him in raising his campaign fund, the actual fund raising campaign wasn’t initiated until June of this year, ultimately resulting in his failure. Clearly, timing is a crucial factor in a candidate’s success. Although Roy Cho had the determination, will, and capacity of being competent congressman, he did not utilize his time wisely in his election campaigns. In all, it is the responsibility of Korean American candidates to fully prepare themselves before running for an election, but at the same time, the Korean American community should also maintain a heightened level of professionalism.
The world of politics is a cold place. An incumbent assemblyman, who was able to keep his seat amidst the Korean voters who were wild for Korean American candidate, stated “Although not a single Korean supported me, I still managed to increase my polling rate compared to last year’s”. This is an important comment for the Korean American community, including Korean candidates, to acknowledge. Taking this into consideration and handling these kinds of things wisely is what promotes our political empowerment.
Midterm elections are over. What scares me is that there might be no future Korean American candidates running for elections any more. What is really needed is increasing voter registrations and encouraging voter participations for the growth of the Korean American community.