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The politics of the U.S. state of Hawaii typically take place within the framework of a Democrat-dominated government.


The Democratic Party in Hawaii was formed in 1900, by supporters of Queen Liliʻuokalani. For the first half of the twentieth century, the Republican Party ruled comfortably, dominating local politics until the end of World War II.[1]

After the war, Honolulu police officer John A. Burns began organizing plantation laborers, including many Japanese Americans and Filipino Americans, and built a coalition that gradually strengthened the Democratic Party in Hawaii.[2] This culminated in the Hawaii Democratic Revolution of 1954, after which Republican political influence in the islands was greatly diminished.

State government

Main article: Hawaii State Legislature

The Hawaii state government is composed of a bicameral system, with the Hawaii senate and the Hawaii House of Representatives making up the upper and lower houses.[3]

Congressional representation

Hawaii's congressional politics are typically dominated by Democrats. The state has elected just one Republican U.S. senator, Hiram Fong, who served from 1959 to 1977, and two GOP House members.[4] The rest have been Democrats. Hawaii is currently represented in the Senate by Democrats Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz. In the House, Ed Case (HI-1) and Kai Kahele (HI-2) represent the state.[5]

County governments

City and County of Honolulu - Kirk Caldwell
County of Hawaii - Harry Kim
County of Maui - Michael Victorino
County of Kauai - Derek Kawakami

Hawaiian nationalism

Hawaiian nationalism is focused on producing a national identity. Most Hawaiian nationalists have argued that the Hawaiian race and their descendants should govern the islands as a constitutional monarchy.[6] It is also important to note that Hawaiian nationalism is not limited to Native Hawaiians but have included other groups including whites and Asians such as Walter M. Gibson.

The popular green, red and yellow flag, the Kanaka Maoli flag was designed around the 1990s,[7] probably by Gene Simeona.[8] According to Dr. David Keanu Sai of the University of Hawaiʻi, it had no historical significance before the 1990s,[7] after which it was reported (and widely believed) to be an "original" flag of the Kingdom of Hawaii destroyed by the British.[8] Dr. Sai stated that it was in fact a modern design, part of a "reawakening" of awareness of the Kingdom's history; he added that the present-day Hawaiian state flag was also the Kingdom's flag (in the 19th century), designed by King Kamehameha I.[7]

Most citizens of Hawaii do not share the same sentiments of the sovereignty movement with public opinion seemly being in favor of remaining a part of the United States. As of 2014 a poll by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser found that only 6% of respondents supported the creation of a Native Hawaiian nation with 63% being against it.[9]

Presidential elections

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2020 34.27% 196,864 63.73% 366,130
2016 30.03% 128,847 62.22% 266,891
2012 27.84% 121,015 70.55% 306,658
2008 26.58% 120,446 71.85% 325,588
2004 45.26% 194,191 54.01% 231,708
2000 37.46% 137,845 55.79% 205,286
1996 31.64% 113,943 56.93% 205,012
1992 36.70% 136,822 48.09% 179,310
1988 44.75% 158,625 54.27% 192,364
1984 55.10% 185,050 43.82% 147,154
1980 42.90% 130,112 44.80% 135,879
1976 48.06% 140,003 50.59% 147,375
1972 62.48% 168,865 37.52% 101,409
1968 38.70% 91,425 59.83% 141,324
1964 21.24% 44,022 78.76% 163,249
1960 49.97% 92,295 50.03% 92,410

Hawaii has supported Democrats in every presidential election in which it has participated, except 1972 and 1984, when incumbent Republican candidates won 49-state landslides. In 2004, John Kerry won the state's 4 electoral votes by a margin of 9 percentage points with 54% of the vote. Every county in the state supported the Democratic candidate. In 2008, Barack Obama won by an overwhelming 45 point lead: 72% for the Democrat and 27% for Republican John McCain. Hawaii is the only actual state that gave either candidate more than 70% of the vote. Obama again won Hawaii by a large margin in 2012, suffering only a small swing against him, winning 71% to 28% for Republican Mitt Romney. Hawaii once again gave a higher vote share to Obama than any of the 49 other states, though on this occasion, Obama's vote was not quite as high as his challenger's best state (Utah, where Mitt Romney polled 73%).

See also


  1. ^ "History". Democratic Party of Hawai‘i. 2015-10-27. Retrieved 2017-10-02.
  2. ^ Nakamura, Kelli Y. "John Burns". Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  3. ^ Inc., US Legal. "Hawaii State Legislature – System". Retrieved 2017-10-02.
  4. ^ Bernstein, Adam (2004-08-20). "Hiram Fong, 97; Senator From Hawaii for 18 Years". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-10-02.
  5. ^ "Hawaii Senators, Representatives, and Congressional District Maps -". Retrieved 2017-10-02.
  6. ^ "Hawaiian nationalist discusses rights Constitution doesn't recognize (4/98)". Retrieved 2017-10-02.
  7. ^ a b c Horgan, TJ (November 10, 2019). "What is the real meaning of this flag?". KITV. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  8. ^ a b "The Honolulu Advertiser | Local News". Retrieved 2019-10-01.
  9. ^ Hill, Malia (2014-06-03). "Star-Advertiser Poll Indicates a Lack of Enthusiasm for a Native Hawaiian Nation | Grassroot Institute of Hawaii". Retrieved 2019-11-24.