George Will

WASHINGTON -- Come November, voters will decide more than half a million federal, state and local officeholders and ballot initiatives. Ninety-nine percent of these decisions will matter less than will the five civil rights initiatives that might be on the ballots in Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Missouri.

If the initiatives qualify for those states' ballots, all probably will pass. But the initiatives must surmount ferocious opposition from defenders of racial preferences, such as the politicians who administer and benefit from Missouri's racial spoils system. The crux of the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative (MoCRI) would amend that state's Constitution to say: "The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting."

Similar language has been approved by voters in California (in 1996), Washington state (1998) and Michigan (2006). California's initiative passed 55 percent to 45 percent even though opponents outspent supporters 13-1. Washington's initiative won 58-42 against 10-1 spending. Michigan's initiative won 58-42 although supporters were outspent 5-1. Those spending disparities understate the initiatives' disadvantages because in each state, opponents were assisted by the "diversity" industry that administers racial preferences in the public and private sectors.

Missouri law requires the secretary of state to draft a summary of an initiative, which appears on the ballot "in the form of a question using language neither intentionally argumentative nor likely to create prejudice either for or against the proposed measure." The following, not the MoCRI language quoted above, is what the state's Democratic secretary of state and Democratic attorney general proposed to put on the ballot:

"Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to: Ban affirmative action programs designed to eliminate discrimination against, and improve opportunities for, women and minorities in public contracting, employment and education; and allow preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin to meet federal program funds eligibility standards as well as preferential treatment for bona fide qualifications based on sex?"


George Will

George F. Will is a 1976 Pulitzer Prize winner whose columns are syndicated in more than 400 magazines and newspapers worldwide.
 
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