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Emerge USA

Muslim voting

So it turns out that prolonged demonization of a population is a good way to get said population to turn out and vote against the party that is demonizing them.

MJ Khan

MJ Khan

A record 86 percent of registered Muslim voters are expected to cast ballots nationally this year, and the overwhelming majority — more than 70 percent — are expected to vote for the Democratic nominee, according to surveys. Muslims represent only about 1 percent of the population, but high turnouts in states where the election is close could push the electoral votes to Clinton, analysts said.

Texas could be one of those states as recent polls show Clinton within striking distance of Trump. While most analysts expect the state to stay in the GOP column, a high turnout of Muslims voting for Clinton could help upset those predictions.

Among those who say they will vote for Clinton is M.J. Khan, a Republican who served three terms on the Houston city council from 2004 to 2009. Khan, who immigrated from Pakistan in 1976 and owns businesses in oil, gas and real estate, said Muslims historically were attracted to Republicans because of their opposition to abortion, support for limited government and emphasis on values that frown upon divorce and pre-marital sex. But Trump’s derogatory comments and attacks against Muslims, Mexicans, and other minorities will lead him to vote against his party’s presidential nominee.

“We expect leaders to have strong character and inclusivity in their discourse,” Khan said. “After what Mr. Trump has said about many groups, Latinos, Blacks, Muslims and women, I cannot support a leader with such insulting views.”

Texas has one of the largest Muslim populations in the country, and Houston the largest in the state. More than 60,000 Muslims live here; the city is home to more than 20 mosques.

Houston’s Muslim population is nearly as diverse as the city itself, community leaders say. About 75 percent have Indian or Pakistani backgrounds and 15 percent are Arab. The remaining 10 percent were born in places like China, Myanmar, South Africa — and the United States.

[…]

Nabila Mansoor, director of the Houston chapter of Emerge USA, an Islamic civic organization, has gone to mosques across Houston to register voters and hand out fliers with information about early voting. In past elections, she said, she had to recruit people to help. Not this year: volunteers are flooding her organization, most driven by fears of a Trump presidency and determination to try to prevent it.

With early voting underway in Texas and other states, Mansoor said, anxieties are growing among Muslims. But she hopes tensions will ease if Clinton, as recent polls suggest, wins.

“People just want this election to be over,” Mansoor said.

Well, I think we can all agree with that. Some of this is overlap with the Democratic trend of Asian Americans, though not all of it is. Along those same lines, both of these groups were considerably more amenable to Republicans as recently as the George W. Bush presidency. It’s really kind of amazing how much things have shifted, but they have, and it didn’t come from nowhere. The real question is whether Republicans can make a credible pitch to these voters again after Trump, perhaps following the recommendations of that post-2012 autopsy report, or if they’ve lost them for a generation or more. If it’s the latter, it will have been richly deserved.