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BHN Live: Why the ‘red wave’ phenomenon did not pan out for the Republican Party, say these experts

By BHN- Julia Dudley Najieb

In this election news followup, Black Headline News show host, Julia Dudley Najieb, recaps on the 2022 midterm election results, explaining why the "red wave" phenomenon did not pan out for the Republican Party, where featured experts during an Ethnic Media Service briefing analyze the voting trends among Latino, AAPI, Black voters, election security issues, and the impact of gerrymandered maps on voters of color.


Using 2022 exit polls data and those of earlier elections compiled by Edison Research, the Brookings Institute analyzed data that shows that among people voting for House of Representatives candidates, key demographic groups that traditionally favor Democrats (young people, women, racial minorities, and white female college graduates) played a significant role but only some of these groups showed as strong or stronger a D-R margin than was the case in the 2020 presidential election or previous midterms. Especially notable among these groups were young adults.

In contrast, groups long associated with former President Donald Trump’s base (such as older voters and white male non-college graduates) stayed with Republican candidates.


The Brookings Institute continued:

Among the youngest Americans, Democrats have held an advantage in votes for House of Representatives candidates in every midterm or presidential election since the late 1990s. Yet in 2022, the 18- to 29-year-old age group (made up of Gen Z and the youngest millennials) showed an even more pronounced shift toward Democrats. It is one of the few demographic groups to show a higher D-R margin in the nationwide House vote than for the 2020 presidential election.


Especially important to this youth vote is the contribution of young women. Prior to the midterm election, there was much speculation about how the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade would affect women’s voting patterns. The new exit polls show that 47% of female voters felt angry about that decision, and 83% of those women voted for a Democratic candidate.

Dr. Sergio Garcia-Rios, assistant professor, associate director for research, Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, at the University of Texas at Austinwas born and raised in Durango, México, but considers El Paso, Texas, his second home. His research investigates the formation and transformation of Latino identities as well as the political implications of these transformations. He also examines voter turnout, political participation and public opinion, especially among Latino immigrants.

Dr. Garcia-Rios's other academic interests include issues related to Latinos and the Voting Rights Act, border issues and border research, and the politics of Mexico. He served as Director of Polling and Data at Univision News.



Christine Chen is a co-Founder and Executive Director of Asian Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote), one of the most trusted national, nonpartisan organizations. APIAVote’s mission is to work with local and state community based organizations (CBOs) to mobilize Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities in electoral and civic engagement. Since 2007, APIAVote has been building power in AAPI communities by investing in their capacity and infrastructure to mobilize voters. This investment, as well as, proactively training and resourcing community leaders across the country, paid off in the 2020 election cycle and Census.


Under Chen’s leadership, APIAVote strengthened and expanded APIAVote’s partners into 28 states and made two historical milestones; attracted, then candidate Joe Biden to speak directly to the AAPI electorate, a first in history for a Presidential nominee, and second, contributed to the groundwork that led to the highest AAPI voter turnout in history.

Chen has been a champion for the empowerment of AAPI communities from the start of her career. Moving to Washington, DC, from Ohio, she took on organizing and leadership roles at the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), and started a consulting firm, Strategic Alliances USA which was built on her broad and deep pool of relationships and skills in the AAPI community and in government. Chen’s firm included clients such as the Linsanity documentary, Comcast, and USDA to coordinate their outreach to Hmong farmers in Arkansas.


While serving as Executive Director of OCA National from 2001 to 2006, Chen served as a member of the executive committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, founding member of APIA Scholars, and served on numerous boards including the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans and Demos Board of Trustees. She was a Resident Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics during the 2022 spring semester. She currently serves on the Kennedy Center Community Advisory Board and the Center for Asian American Media. She is also a member of the Election Assistance and Policy (EAP) Standing Committee at the American Political Science Association.



Karma Cottman, pronouns she, her, hers, serves Ujima Inc.: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community as Executive Director. In addition to leading the team, Karma’s responsibilities include engaging in discussions with other programs, legislative officials and state and local government agencies. She works to change legislation and laws as they relate to domestic violence and the black community.

Before joining Ujima, Inc., Karma led the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence as Executive Director for a decade, and prior to that, served the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), for a decade. As the Vice President of Policy and Emerging Issues, she directed the agency’s policy agenda and supervised NNEDV’s state coalition and housing technical assistance projects. Karma also worked closely with national policy partners to strengthen federal legislation to effectively respond to the needs of all survivors of domestic violence.

Karma, a Washington, DC native, has worked with numerous national partners to address emerging issues in domestic violence service provision and sits on several national committees. She also served as the co-director of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence Rural Diversity Initiative where she assisted with the development of a community assessment tool used to identify service gaps in numerous local Florida communities. Karma currently serves on the steering committee of the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African Community and the Policy Partnership for Communities of Color. Karma enjoys spending time with family and friends and reading.


Gowri Ramachandran serves as senior counsel in the Brennan Center’s Democracy program. Her work focuses on election security, election administration, and combatting election disinformation.


Before joining the Brennan Center, she was professor of law at Southwestern Law School, in Los Angeles, California, where she taught courses in constitutional law, employment discrimination, critical race theory, and the Ninth Circuit Appellate Litigation Clinic. Her work was published in Election Law Journal, North Carolina Law Review, and Yale Law Journal online, among others. She served on the Ninth Circuit’s Fairness Committee, which considers racial, religious, gender, and other disparities in the administration of justice.


Ramachandran received her undergraduate degree in mathematics from Yale College and a master’s degree in statistics from Harvard University. While in law school, she served as editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. After graduating from law school in 2003, Ramachandran served as law clerk to Judge Sidney R. Thomas of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Billings, Montana.



Kathay Feng is Common Cause’s National Redistricting Director. Feng has led Common Cause’s work to challenge partisan and incumbent gerrymandering, through litigation, state-based organizing around ballot initiatives and legislation and creating new platforms for community-based redistricting. As Executive Director of California Common Cause, she championed and won election and redistricting reforms, stronger government sunshine and accountability laws, campaign finance reforms, stronger net neutrality laws, and the voting rights of traditionally disenfranchised communities. Kathay is the architect of California’s Citizens Redistricting Commission, leading the multi-year effort to study, write, and pass the two initiatives, Propositions 11 and 20, that created the commission and new community-focused process. She also led efforts that secured passage of California laws bringing online voter registration and same day registration (called conditional voter registration) to the state.

Locally, Kathay helped lead successful efforts to improve Los Angeles’ matching funds campaign finance system, providing a super-match of public funds to city office candidates that raise small dollar donations from city residents. Under Kathay’s leadership, CCC has anchored California’s election protection efforts, assisting and independently monitoring elections throughout the state, since 2006. Kathay has been an activist and civil rights attorney in California for more than 20 years.

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