SHOULD I DECLARE VICTORY?:  I’m really tempted to.  Things look pretty good.  But they can still change.

As many of you know, for the past eight months, I have been spending gobs of time trying to discourage the California Senate from passing Assembly Constitutional Amendment 7 (“ACA7”) and preparing for a campaign in case it does.  That’s why I haven’t been posting much.  ACA7 passed the Assembly on a strict party-line vote back in the autumn.  If it somehow passes the Senate before the end of June (or by July 4 at the latest), it will go on the November ballot.  Increasingly, however, it looks like maybe, just maybe, it won’t.  The bill seems to be stalled in the Rules Committee, and it’s getting pretty late in the day to put it through two committees and have it reach the Senate floor. (Alas, the Democrats won’t tell me anything, and the Republicans don’t seem to know anything.)

Some background for those of you who are not regular readers:  ACA7 is the second attempt by the California legislature in less than four years to gut Proposition 209.  Prop 209 was an initiative back in 1996 that amended the state 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.”

I co-chaired that campaign (back when I was younger and cuter than I am now).  Not only did it pass, but it also spread to several other states. And it literally made the history books.  Paul Johnson’s A History of the American People spans from the Lost Colony of Roanoke to the end of the 20th century, but somehow he found room for a paragraph on Prop 209.

Then came Act II.  In 2020, in the midst of the panic over George Floyd, the California Legislature floated a referendum—Prop 16—to repeal Prop 209 outright.  The old Prop 209 gang got together again—with Ward Connerly as chair and me again as co-chair.  Plus we had a lot of energetic new faces.  We were outspent more than 14 to 1, but we beat the pants off the “Yes on 16” campaign. More than 57.2% of voters said NO.

But the Assembly Democrats just couldn’t stop, so now we’re in Act III. Rather than accept the voters’ decision, they came up with ACA7.  Unlike Prop 16, ACA7 would not repeal 209 outright.  Instead, it would allow the governor to make as many EXCEPTIONS as he pleases, so the end result would be the same.

I’ve mainly been lobbing practical arguments at the senators:  You will lose.   And you will lose more than just ACA7.  Your party is already hemorrhaging Asian American voters.  ACA7 will cause even more to take the red pill.  If you put ACA7 on the ballot, it will assure that Republicans retain control of the U.S. House of Representatives and perhaps even tighten their grip on it (since California has several evenly balanced Congressional districts with high numbers of Asian voters).

The first senator I tried to talk to told me pointblank, “This is going to pass.”  She was not encouraging.  But by March I’d spoken to several senators who were smart enough to understand that passing ACA7 was not in their interest.  Heading it off in the Senate started to seem like a very real possibility.

I will keep pushing for a little while more.  I just finished another epistle to some of the more reasonable Democrats, making one more argument against ACA7.  But I am already dreaming of my victory dance.

Of course, the bums can always pass it later and put it on one of the 2026 ballots.  But I can worry about that some other day.