Of course, there was never any reason to think Trump was a “white nationalist,” based on his rhetoric during the campaign. Trump took heroic stands for law and order and immigration control, policies that help all Americans—arguably blacks the most. Yet he was quiet or equivocal on ant-white racial preferences—Affirmative Action.
When Chris Wallace asked him about Affirmative Action, he replied,
I'm fine with it, but we have it, it's there. But it's coming to a time when maybe we don't need it. That would be a wonderful thing. I don't think we need it so much anymore. It has served its place, and it served its time. Some people have loved it and some people don't like it at all. But I think there will be a time when you don't need it.’Trump criticized Justice Scalia’s comments about how Affirmative Action recipients may perform better at easier schools (based apparently on the “mismatch” theory that Affirmative Action is bad for its beneficiaries), saying "I don’t like what he said," because it was “very tough to the African-American community,” while demurring on whether he supported the policy. [Trump hits Scalia over comments on black students, By Eugene Scott, CNN, December 13, 2015]
[Full Interview and Transcript: Donald Trump on "FOX News Sunday", RealClearPolitics, October 18, 2016]
Trump’s education platform skipped the issue of racial preferences, and in his policy director Sam Clovis simply said, "Affirmative Action needs to be settled by the courts” [Trump's Emerging Higher Ed Platform, by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, May 13, 2016]
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court subsequently upheld racial preferences in Fisher v. Texas, but it has also held that in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action that it’s not mandated. Thus, the courts have decided that the legislative and executive branch must make that decision.
Remember the issue here: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act states that
No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.Thus, under the plain language of the law, the Department of Education can and should deny federal funds, including subsidized student loans, to all colleges which engage in racial preferences—which is nothing more than discrimination on the basis of race.
The Obama Administration, through both regulation and “Dear Colleague” letters, has encouraged universities to promote quotas, draconian date rape policies, and has prevented local school districts from punishing their students because blacks get punished i.e. are more violent than whites.
Of course, the Secretary of Education should immediately rescind these burdensome rules, and ideally, remove funds from schools which suppress free speech. These issues are 1,000 times more important than whether or not we have Common Core, school vouchers, or charter schools.
Unfortunately, Betsy DeVos ’s record suggests that she has no inclination to fight racial preferences or Political Correctness. Instead she will most likely waste the Trump Administration’s political capital on the Sisyphean task of raising minority test scores through “education reform.”
DeVos is the wife of conservative philanthropist and Amway heir Dick DeVos . She is former chair (1996–2000 and 2003–2005) of the Michigan Republican Party. This put her in a strategic position in the Affirmative Action debate, which she totally flubbed.
In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively upheld racial preferences in two companion cases involving the University of Michigan, Grutter and Gratz. The heroic Ward Connerly helped fund an initiative to bar public colleges and government contractors from being able to “discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race.”
But as chair of the Republican Party, DeVos stated that she feared “this proposed ballot initiative would only serve to further divide people along racial lines which would be entirely counter-productive" [Statement by Betsy DeVos , Chairman, Michigan Republican Party regarding a potential Affirmative Action ballot initiative, Michigan Republican Party, July 8, 2003]
She explained that fighting preferences was unnecessary because—
The plain fact is that the reason for the perceived need for Affirmative Action in college admission policies is very simple.In other words: the only reasons why minorities need have low test scores which necessitate racial preferences is because they have bad schools. If we give them charter schools or vouchers, then they will perform just as well as whites and Asians.
Some say that minority kids aren't as smart. Try again. Some say that minority kids don't have as much money. Try again. Some say that minority kids' schools don't have enough money. Try again.
The real reason is very obvious to anyone who is willing to be objective. Far too many minority kids are being left behind because they attend schools that fail them. They are stuck in under-performing schools in their K-12 years, and they have no choice in the matter. Their families don't have the money to move to better performing school districts or to place them in an alternative school of their choosing. [Affirmative Action brawl in Michigan would be divisive, neglect true reform, by Betsy DeVos , Grand Rapids Press, July 22, 2003 (not online)]
This is the height of cuckservative cowardice. If it were true, there’d be no racial test gap within schools. But there is.
At best, vouchers and charter schools are a mixed blessing. They take away power from educrats and teachers’ unions. However, they also inevitably funding radical organizations like La Raza—which has founded over 50 charter schools—and result in even crazier Afrocentric curriculums than public schools.
Although vouchers usually end up funding new private schools in practice, there’s always a risk that they will fund the very same inner city youth that parents send their kids to private schools to get away from to go to those private schools. Additionally, they could bring further government regulation to existing private schools that accept voucher-financed students.
DeVos ’s opposition to the MCRI was likely based on bad political consultants. Back in 2001, she had given $35,000 to the Center for Individual Rights which was litigating against Affirmative Action in Michigan. In 2003 when she vocally opposed the MCRI, the Michigan GOP was apparently afraid that it would boost black turnout against George W. Bush in 2004. In fact, MCRI didn’t end up on the ballot until 2006, when DeVos’ husband Dick received the GOP nomination for governor.
These consultants were, of course, wrong. MCRI won with 58% of the vote and 14% of the black vote. Dick DeVos , who opposed the initiative, received only 43% of the vote and 9% of the black vote. GOP Senate candidate Mike Bouchard who also opposed the MCRI only received 44% of the vote and 9% of the black vote.
As far as I can tell, DeVos has never discussed racial preferences since then. However, she has not learned her lesson about pandering and appeasing the Left.
In 2014 Michigan Republican Committeeman Dave Agema made some admittedly blunt statements about gays and Muslims, most notably asking, "Have you ever seen a Muslim do anything that contributes positively to the American way of life?” DeVos responded by attacking to the State GOP for refusing to stand against his “intolerance and insensitivity” and demanding his resignation. She threatened financial “consequences” if the party did not remove him. She later went to Reince Priebus who demanded Agema’s resignation after he posted an article from American Renaissance on Facebook. [DeVos Calls out GOP culture of Intolerance, by Nolan Finley, Detroit News, November 11, 2014 Why Can’t the RNC Rid Itself of a Racist?, by Betsy Woodruff, Daily Beast, January 12, 2015].
Based on DeVos’ past actions, it’s hard to imagine her taking any initiative in fighting Political Correctness or racial preferences. Of course, the White House can tell her to make these issues a priority, but this makes her, at best, a neutral vessel.
What is the takeaway? While this is a disappointing pick it’s not worth panicking over. Trump was questionable on Affirmative Action and campaigned for school choice during the election, so my hope for him to crack down on preferences was just that, not an expectation.
I can live with DeVos and she may very well surprise us. That being said, we cannot be Trump’s blind cheerleaders. Senators should push DeVos on free speech and racial preferences during her confirmation hearing.
And we need to continue to press the Trump administration to fight quotas and Political Correctness.
Washington Watcher [email him] is an anonymous source Inside The Beltway.