Conservatives and limited-government activists have made some progress against Big Government in recent years; but usually in red (Republican) states. However, a recent defeat of a bill in one of the bluest of blue states has given some hope that citizens are getting tired of liberals and their policies.

This legislature debated a bill that would have brought back affirmative action (and race quotas) in this state’s college admissions process. Caucasian and Asian-Americans would have had to score much higher on college entrance exams than blacks or Latinos. Many deserving applicants would be denied admission to certain colleges because of this bill.

Because of thousands of phone calls and e-mails from concerned citizens, it went down to defeat.

In which state did this common-sense education victory occur? Texas… Kansas… or Iowa? Nope. This Affirmative Action bill was shot down in the ultra-liberal state of California.

The proposal, Senate Constitutional Amendment Number 5, (SCA 5) would have been put on the November general election ballot to exempt colleges and universities from the existing ban on racial preferences.

Believe it or not, California was the first state to ban Affirmative Action back in 1996. That’s when Proposition 209 was passed, which prohibits discrimination or preferential treatment based on race, ethnicity or national origin.

SCA 5 passed on party lines back on January 30. However, state Senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) recently withdrew the bill. Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) said he didn’t have enough support to put the measure before California voters in November.

The political tide turned when three key Asian senators reversed their support for the bill. Sens. Carol Liu (D-Glendale), Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) and Ted Lieu (D-Redondo Beach) all voted for SCA 5. They soon received a negative barrage of correspondence from their constituents, which led them to publicly state “reservations” about their votes.

Affirmative Action Bill Fails in California

A grassroots campaign led by Asian Americans led to the defeat of SCA 5, because they had no desire to see deserving applicants denied because of a racist progressive policy. Although some Asians protesting the bill were Democrats, they sounded almost like members of the Tea Party or Constitutional conservatives.

Olivia Liao, president of the Joint Chinese University Alumni Association, was quoted in the Pasadena Star News and described the initiative as racist. “[Legislators] feel like the Chinese-American community isn’t paying attention to politics,” Liao said.

“We are concerned citizens. We need to stand up when things are not right; we need to be heard. We shouldn’t have any [exceptions)] related to race. After all, America is a free country.”

The newspaper also quoted Marina Tse, who spoke out against SCA 5. “It has a negative impact on high-performing students and Chinese students,” Tse said. “We need to put merit and academic performance as a priority.”

Shikha Dalmia of Reason magazine summed up the defeat of SCA 5 best:

“What this episode demonstrates is that the zero-sum politics of divvying up a fixed pie — rather than expanding it — is a losing game for Democrats, precisely because America is becoming more diverse… [I]t’ll be a losing battle to ask Asians to conform to the mentality of white liberal guilt.”

It looks like liberal Democrats have just about maxed out the race card. A growing number of Americans are tired of being called “racist” because they oppose Affirmative Action, ObamaCare or any other liberal policy.

The defeat of SCA 5 gives us hope that the political tide in America is turning back towards achievement, merit and common sense.

Photo credit: Walt Mancini, Staff Photographer, San Gabriel Valley Tribune