In 1996, voters in California passed Proposition 209, which prohibited discrimination and preferences based on race, gender, ethnicity, color, or national origin, in public employment, contracting, and education. In 2020, when the Democratic supermajority in the state legislature sought to overturn Prop 209 by placing Proposition 16 on the ballot, voters in California overwhelmingly rejected the effort by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent.
In the current age of rampant woke-ism and identity politics, many have wondered how the “No on 16” campaign managed to prevail against California’s political, business, and media establishments. Ward Connerly, renowned national advocate for equality, recently offered, through a series of Tweets, an explanation of the “No on 16” victory and a short history of the equality movement he has led for the past quarter of a century. (The Tweets, reproduced below, were dictated by phone. Please pardon any typos.)
Ying Ma served as Bay Area outreach coordinator of the Prop 209 campaign in 1996 and as communications director of “No on 16” in 2020.