Taeku Lee

Bae Family Professor of Government, Harvard University

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About Taeku

Lee's research focuses on racial/ethnic politics, public opinion, participatory politics, and social movements. His most recent scholarship includes studies of changes in patterns of partisanship in America, Asian American politics, racial categorization, and the democratic effects of deliberative participation. He currently serves on the Board of the American National Election Studies and the Council of the American Political Science Association; he is also co-Principal Investigator of the National Asian American Survey. He has served in various leadership, advisory, and consultative capacities for the academy, policy think tanks, advocacy groups, community-based organizations, and multi-national institutions.


How Democrats and Republicans Can Draw Uncommitted Minorities into Politics

    Zoltan Hajnal ,

In the News

Opinion: "Why Trump Fears Women of Color," Taeku Lee (with EunSook Lee), New York Times, August 13, 2019.
Quoted by Emily Badger in "A Census Question That Could Change How Power Is Divided in America," The New York Times, July 31, 2018.
Research discussed by Alastair Iain Johnston and George Yin, in "Beijing Wants Taiwanese to Identify as Chinese. But How Do Taiwanese Really Feel?," The Washington Post, June 4, 2018.
Opinion: "Asian American Voters in the 2016 Election, Part 2," Taeku Lee, Huffington Post, October 28, 2016.
Quoted by Farai Chideya in "Vietnamese-Americans Are No Longer a Lock for the Republican Party," FiveThirtyEight, October 18, 2016.
Research discussed by Betsy Miller, in "Influence of Asian American and Pacific Islander Voters Grows," UCR Today, October 5, 2016.
Opinion: "Can the GOP Win Over Asian Americans?," Taeku Lee, Huffington Post, October 5, 2015.
Quoted by Ed Kilgore in "Probably No Giant Tilt to GOP Among Asian-Americans," Washington Monthly, November 10, 2014.
Opinion: "Asian Americans Turn Democratic," Taeku Lee (with Karthick Ramakrishnan), Los Angeles Times, November 23, 2012.
Opinion: "The Untold Future of American Politics," Taeku Lee (with Zoltan Hajnal), New York Times, June 4, 2012.
Opinion: "Polling Prejudice," Taeku Lee, The American Prospect, March 9, 2011.


"Why Americans Don’t Join the Party: Race, Immigration, and the Failure (of Political Parties) to Engage the Electorate" (with Zoltan Hajnal) (Princeton University Press, 2011).
Offers the first encompassing account of how race and immigrant status affect the relationship that ordinary individuals have, or fail to have, with the American party system. Our analysis not only explains the high levels of ambivalence and uncertainty that shape the partisan views of so many Americans but also offers incentives and strategies for political parties and other interested observers to re-engage the electorate.
Accountability through Public Opinion: From Inertia to Public Action (edited with Sina Odugbemi) (World Bank Press, 2011).
Introduces a broader concept of "accountability" as a critical resource to improving both democracy and development. Challenges technocratic approaches to accountability and argues the value of bottom-up demands for accountability.
"Asian American Political Participation: Emerging Constituents and their Political Identities" (with Janelle Wong, S. Karthick Ramakrishnan, and Jane Junn) (Russell Sage Foundation Press, 2011).
Asks why Asian Americans – one of the nation’s fastest-growing, most diverse, and socioeconomically privileged racial groups – have seemingly been left out of the U.S. political system; shows that the motivations for and impediments to political participation are as diverse as the Asian American population itself.
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow? Post-Racial and Pan-Racial Politics in the Age of Obama" Daedalus 140, no. 2 (2011): 136-150.
Examines the continuing racial undertones of politics in the wake of President Obama’s 2008 election. Challenges the understanding that an electoral key to Obama’s post-racialism is the debt he owes to white independents; stresses the need to redouble efforts to understand the processes of racialization; and proposes the concept of pan-racialism to think about how individuals of a shared demographic come to engage, politically, as a group.
"Race, Immigration, and the Identity-to-Politics Link" Annual Review of Political Science 11 (2008): 457-478.
Argues that that a key to settling questions about whether and how America’s demographic changes will effect the construction of a new politics of race is a clearer specification of the identity-to-politics link.