Posted on October 30, 2020

California’s Racial Scare Campaign

The Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal, October 25, 2020

Scarcely more than a week from Election Day, the champions of California’s Proposition 16 — a ballot initiative that would repeal the ban on racial preferences in the state constitution — are desperate to push the measure over the top. So they are falling back on a scare tactic: accusations of white supremacy.

One recent ad urging a vote for Prop. 16 says the Yes on 16 campaign is supported by leaders like Sen. Kamala Harris. By contrast, it says, the measure is “opposed by those who have always opposed equality.” In case you miss the point, the ad features men carrying tiki torches at the infamous white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in 2017.


{snip} They oppose Prop. 16 because they know their children will be its chief victims, especially in education. Look at the lawsuits against Harvard and Yale for the opaque process they use to penalize qualified Asian-American applicants.

Prop. 16’s supporters also claim that racial minorities have been devastated since the state was prohibited from using race as a factor in decisions, especially at California’s public universities. {snip}


{snip} As a result of a better match between under-represented minority students and the UC campus they attend, minority performance has increased.

In September, a Public Policy Institute of California poll reported only 31% of likely voters saying they would vote for Prop. 16, with 47% opposed and 22% undecided. A new PPIC poll released last week shows 50% of voters now saying they will vote no with 37% in support—and 12% undecided. {snip}

Gail Heriot, a University of San Diego law professor who sits on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and co-chairs the No on 16 campaign, notes that even in deep blue California voters aren’t buying coerced racial preferences. “The Yes on Prop 16 campaign manager told potential donors that, according to the campaign’s internal polling, accusations of white supremacy would be effective,” Ms. Heriot says. “But Californians aren’t that gullible.” {snip}