Californian vote to reject affirmative action exposes the limits of identity politics

Tuesday’s election should remind the Liberals of the limits of identity politics. Nationally, Joe Biden received a record number of votes and California became Democrat by more than 20 points. At the same time, however, Proposition 16, a referendum on the Golden State ballot that sought to restore state-sanctioned race-based affirmative action, ended in resounding defeat.

The continued Republican control of the Senate and the erosion of Nancy Pelosi’s margin in the House of Representatives seem likely. Meanwhile, Republican support among blacks and Hispanics has increased from four years ago. In this context, a Biden administration should think twice before including “equality of outcome” or racial preferences in its government agenda.

In California, support for the reintroduction of state-sponsored affirmative action was a top-down affair led by Silicon Valley and the activist community. In other words, the support of the vital center was lacking.

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