"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

A Missouri Civil Rights Initiative Post Mortem; Nixon Breathes Sigh of Relief!

May 5th, 2008 by mopns · No Comments

Two camps are breathing a huge sigh of relief this morning now that the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative has failed to gather enough signatures to place the referendum on the November Ballot. First obviously is the Missouri Republican Party. The last thing party officials wanted in this presidential election year, especially a year where an African American was probably going to be the Democrat nominee, was a controversial ballot initiative that was guaranteed to drive more African Americans to the polls.

The second camp breathing a sigh of relief is the Jay Nixon campaign. Nixon, whose relationship with the African American community has at times been contentious, certainly didn’t want to have to choose between his party’s African American constituency – who obviously were against the measure, and white rural Democrats who most likely would have favored it. It would have been interesting to watch Nixon walk the very fine line of trying not to offend both groups.

Where did the effort go wrong? In our humble opinion, the organizers of MoCRI never attempted to form their own grassroots groups to counter ACORN, WE CAN, the NAACP, ACLU, and the other myriad of groups lined up against them. Nor did they attempt to take advantage of alternate media sources to get their message out. To rely on the mainstream media to hopefully provide you with objective media coverage was very naive.

On the surface, the effort looked like a Black California activist, hires a disgruntled white man to end affirmative action in Missouri. From a MoCRI release:

“Special interest groups including the ACLU, ACORN, Jobs for Justice, and the NAACP, together with union organizers and minority contractors, aggressively fought to preserve the many race-based programs that advantage them financially under our current system.”

This is no reflection on MoCRi Executive Director Tim Asher, but he should have never been the public face of the organization. He was not going to carry the day on this because frankly, no one knew who he was. Asher didn’t have a high profile lawsuit going on like the organizer of the successful Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, he was unintentionally set up to fail. He does correctly place part of the blame for the initiative’s failure on the shenanigans of Secretary of State Robin Carnahan:

“Today’s developments are certainly not what the many volunteers and supporters of the MoCRI had anticipated. It is particularly disheartening when you consider our elected officials played such a prominent role in derailing our effort.”

Asher does vow to fight on:

“On behalf of all who seek an end to preferential treatment in our state, I want to thank Ward Connerly and the American Civil Rights Coalition for responding to our request for help. Their assistance was invaluable throughout the campaign and we anticipate their support and direction yet again in 2010.

Related: 

WE CAN MO:Missourians Reject Discrimination

K.C. Blue Blog: BREAKING: Missouri The First In The Nation to Reject The KKK Backed Anti-Civil Rights Initiative

Arch City Chronicle: Missourians Pass on Petition, Affirmative Action Continues

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Tags: Decision '08 · Jay Nixon

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