When the leftist cabal that runs California tried to bring affirmative action back via a ballot initiative in 2020, Ward Connerly came out of retirement to fight them off. Connerly was no stranger to this fight. Back in 1996, Connerly led the effort behind Prop. 209, a ballot initiative approved by California’s voters that banned affirmative action.
The only way laws passed by voters via ballot initiatives can be overturned in California is via a new ballot initiative, and in 2020, it was Prop. 16 that was designed, if approved, to overturn Prop. 209 and restore affirmative action.
The coalition Connerly built to stop Prop. 16 relied on an emerging political giant in California, an increasingly politically active, left-of-center Asian community. These Asian activists, already discriminated against in college admissions, realized that if Prop. 16 passed, their presence in California’s public universities would be reduced to their percentage of the population.
When Asian students represent half of the National Merit Scholars in California, but only 15 percent of the population, one may understand how restoring affirmative action might seem not only unfair, but a dire threat to the future of their children.
Prop. 16 was defeated with surprising ease, losing 57 percent to 43 percent. But without Ward Connerly’s outspoken defense of Prop. 209, and his relentless efforts to help mobilize California’s Asian community, they might not have won.
Connerly, a former businessman who once served as a University of California Regent, is now looking into a ballot initiative for 2022 that will target critical race theory. Reached for comment on his new project, Connerly said “There is a growing recognition that the country is in trouble and California is leading the way.”
With respect to the Asian activists he enlisted once, Connerly believes they are now permanently awakened. “There is a concern among Asians in California that our institutions are collapsing. They are frightened and eager to get involved. There are a lot of them and their network is very formidable,” he said.
Ward Connerly is another example of a Black patriot with an uncompromising vision of justice and fairness who will never get the mainstream media attention he has earned. But behind the scenes, he is quietly building a coalition that may achieve election breakthroughs nobody thought possible. He is a man to watch.
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