The ousting of the city's woke school board is a sign of things to come
This week’s massive vote against three of San Francisco’s most woke school board members represents a triumphant outbreak of reason in one of the most insanely progressive places on the planet. But it is also, far more consequently, a rejection — in this case by over 70% of voters — of radical Left politics that is building up across the country.
To be fair, the recalled board members were defeated not just for extreme politics, but for their reluctance to open schools during the pandemic. Instead of re-opening schools during the pandemic, they advanced a plan to rename 44 public schools named after figures such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Dianne Feinstein and Abraham Lincoln, with one board member even claiming that “black lives didn’t matter” to the president who freed America’s slaves.
The school board also engaged in openly racial taunting towards the city’s largest non-white group — Asians — who constitute over one-third of the city population. The now-recalled board vice President, Allison Collins, once wrote a long Twitter thread accusing Asian Americans of using “white supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead’,” and comparing them to a “house n****r” (she added the asterisks and did not spell out the word).
These sentiments, combined with the anger at the schools’ worst record in California for poor students, motivated Asian parents in particular. Analysts ascribe the recall in large part to the activation of Asian voters who were motivated to keep admissions to elite high schools based on merit. But Heather Gonzales, a San Francisco native with long ties to California Democrats, told me it was mostly a “mum’s revolt. It was mums of all races saying they had had enough.”
Yet it would be a mistake to see the San Francisco vote as an isolated case. In fact, it is part of a widening grassroots revolt against urban chaos. Last November, Seattle, a city with a political orientation as blue as San Francisco, removed its city attorney and elected a moderate Republican. This June, San Francisco voters may also recall their ultra-Left District Attorney, Chesa Boudin, and there’s also a movement in Los Angeles to ditch their own radical DA.
Critically, this is not just a rebellion among whites or Asians; African-American voters, rejecting the “defunding” agenda of the far-Left, have generally supported more police. In Houston, black politicians, like Mayor Sylvester Turner, have backed the police officers against largely white progressive activists. Similarly Buffalo, where close to 40% of the population is black, this year rejected a socialist candidate who won the Democratic primary, re-electing with write-ins their centrist African-American Mayor. Among Latinos as well, more conservative candidates have gained favour both in Miami and across south Texas cities.
This is not especially a Republican or conservative movement. In the post-Trump era, being a Republican is toxic in urban settings, even among moderates. Greg Youngkin, the GOP’s blue state poster boy, won largely in white suburbs and failed to turn in a strong performance in Virginia’s black communities. Rick Caruso, a developer running for Mayor in LA, actually registered as a Democrat before entering the race. Yet the shift to the centre in urban areas seems real, and hopefully will slow the deterioration of America’s great cities, and perhaps revive some of the laggards as well.