Pro-Bush in California's 'Little Saigon'

Vietnamese-American Community Back 'No Communist' Zone

A Vietnamese-American woman at a rally in Westminster, Calif., to commemorate the fall of Saigon

A Vietnamese-American woman at a rally in Westminster, Calif., to commemorate the 29th anniversary of the fall of Saigon to communists. Karen Grigsby Bates, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Karen Grigsby Bates, NPR

Garden Grove and Westminster, two cities in the suburban sprawl of Orange County in Southern California, are home to the largest Vietnamese communities outside the city once called Saigon, now called Ho Chi Minh City.

California politicians are keenly aware that these immigrants embrace many conservative Republican values, including a desire to eradicate communism.

As the election year heats up, NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates discovered the Vietnam War is still influencing local politics, nearly 30 years after the fall of Saigon. Both Garden Grove and Westminster want to be declared "no communist zones," a proposal actively backed by the Vietnamese-American community.

Democratic Sen. John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, opposed the war upon his return home — and in "Little Saigon," people haven't forgotten. Orange County is GOP country, and President Bush is likely to get the lion's share of votes come November.

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