Past Features

January 7, 2016

Building Myths About Proposition 187
Lies about how we lost California

L.A. Times threatened the L.A. Daily News if it ran this ad.
Harold Meyerson -- Prospect.org -- January 7, 2016 
Building Myths on the Border
    The year was 1994, and the ad was the centerpiece of California Republican Governor Pete Wilson's reelection campaign. Trailing in the polls after a lackluster first term, Wilson resurrected his prospects by excoriating the Clinton administration for its presumed lack of border enforcement and by backing a ballot measure (Proposition 187) that would deny all public services, including the right to attend K-12 schools, to the undocumented:
    Short-term, the strategy worked. Wilson won reelection; Prop. 187 passed handily, though it was soon struck down by the courts. Long term, Wilson's strategy proved to be a Republican cataclysm --- indeed, in a state on track to become “majority minority,” (today, California is 39 percent Latino, 13 percent Asian, 6 percent black and 38 percent non-Hispanic white), a more thorough act of political suicide is hard to imagine. In 1996, Latinos began voting in far greater numbers, overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates; in time, as the GOP's anti-immigrant crusades continued, they were joined by the state's Asian voters as well. What had been a politically purple state at the time of Wilson's reelection turned deepest blue. Today, Democrats hold nearly two-thirds of the seats in the legislature, represent more than 70 percent of the states congressional districts, and of the 56 regularly-scheduled elections for statewide office that have been held since 1994 (for the eight statewide constitutional officers and the two U.S. senators), Republicans have won exactly one --- Arnold Schwarzenegger's 2002 gubernatorial bid.

Glenn Spencer -- American Patrol Report
Answering Meyerson
    This morning I sent the following e-mail to Harold Meyerson.....
    Harold,
    Much of what you say in Building Myths on the Border is true, but not everything.
    For example:
    "Prop. 187 passed handily, though it was soon struck down by the courts. Long term, Wilson's strategy proved to be a Republican cataclysm --- indeed, in a state on track to become “majority minority,'”
    Gray Davis killed Proposition 187, not the courts. It was his responsibility to challenge the wrong decision of Mariana Pfaelzer and take 187 to the Supreme Court. He didn't.
    I explain what really happened here:
    California is on track to become a “majority minority” because the will of the people and the Constitution were violated by Gov. Davis - and cowardly Republicans like Paul Ryan who rolled over and played dead.
    Yours truly,
    Glenn Spencer

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