Passage of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) really was the key conservative victory of the election (true, the passage of marriage amendments in seven states was a huge win as well). Here’s my big-picture take from last night. I want to second John Miller’s point about the amazing performance of the MCRI–winning 58 to 42, even when pre-election polls had it tied or losing, even when pundits said it would fail, and even when elites from labor, business, and both parties were against it. MCRI was also outspent by a 2 to 1 margin. Yet the measure won comfortably in a relatively liberal state, with everything going against it. This bodes very well for the passage of such measures in other states.
It’s vitally important, however, that conservatives get back on board in the battle against reverse discrimination. We can’t leave advocates like Ward Connerly hanging, as we have up to now, because lack of financial and public support has got Connerly and his cohorts too broke and too exhausted to carry the battle to other states. We’ve also got to support the Center for Individual Rights. CIR did the crucial legal work that kept MCRI on the ballot, and did it all pro bono. In the absence of Republican Party support (and conservative pressure has now got to turn the party around on this issue), Connerly and CIR are the organizational basis of the movement against preferences. Conservatives need to buck up both to keep the Michigan momentum going.
Here’s a piece from today’s Chronicle of Higher Education about MCRI’s victory. Note the absurd and utterly inaccurate polling results. Note also what strikes me as a clear implication by the president of the University of Michigan that she means to find a way around the law. This is another reason we need to support the Center for Individual Rights. It may take a major effort just to monitor compliance and force universities to comply with the law. But there’s no doubt that MCRI has given opponents of reverse discrimination the initiative.