Commentary on politics and racial preferences

John Fund:

In 1996, Californians voted to end racial preferences at state universities. The Left has been fighting to restore them ever since.

Rather than focus on COVID-19 or the economic recovery, California liberals insist on pushing their pet issues. The “stimulus” bill rammed through the House this month by Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco was a liberal wish list of subsidies and spending. Now other California Democrats are ramming through an effort to repeal the state’s ban on racial preferences.

Two things often happen when a single political party dominates a state the way Democrats dominate California. First, an echo chamber of the dominant party convinces its leaders they can steamroll over any opposition. Second, that conviction leads to political overreach.

Caucasian Americans are now only 19 percent of UC students, down from 38 percent a quarter century ago — this change reflects the increasing ethnic diversity of Californians .

Next month, Golden State Democrats plan to use the two-thirds control they have in the legislature to push through a November ballot measure asking voters to end the ban on racial preferences.

They should remember what happened when this was attempted before. Last year, liberals in Washington State used a similar route to repeal that state’s version of Proposition 209, which had passed with 58 percent in 1998. Liberals vastly outspent opponents and won endorsements from leading establishment figures. But they still lost, as voters rejected preferential treatment 51 to 49 percent. Retrying that strategy in a highly visible California referendum would be dicey.

That’s also what California Democrats themselves concluded back in 2014.