Affirmative Action, Biden's Student Loan Woes, and Chris Christie Making His Way
A potpourri of thoughts...
I had a few thoughts I wanted to get out there as we head toward the holiday. Plus, I wanted to wish you all a happy and safe Fourth of July!
Affirmative Action Takes an Appropriate Hit
Last week the Supreme Court concluded that race-based admissions policies at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, that deeply discriminated against Asian applicants in an effort to advantage applicants of other races, were unlawful. The court effectively struck down race as a factor in college admissions, while leaving in place measures that grant preferential consideration to situational-based applicants, like victims of discrimination, and the financially and medically disadvantaged.
“… by preserving the ability to consider specific accounts of racial discrimination, schools retain the ability to provide advantages to people who’ve confronted concrete acts of racial injustice,” French writes. “…The idea that schools can attain real diversity without engaging in racial discrimination in admissions is no mere theory. There are, in fact, specific examples of state university systems that have managed to become more diverse without engaging in race-based affirmative action. As Justice Thomas notes in his concurrence, both California and Michigan prohibit race-based affirmative action in their public universities, yet state schools in both states have boasted of enrolling extraordinarily diverse classes of students.”
I don’t expect such reasoning to resonate with affirmative action supporters and advocates, of course, but this ruling dealt a blow to racial discrimination in this country… which is supposed to be their cause.
Bye Bye Biden’s Student Loan Transfer
Speaking of the Supreme Court, they also struck down President Biden’s unilateral move to cancel over $400 billion in student loan debt at the expense of U.S. taxpayers.
The only thing stunning about this ruling is that three justices, much to their shame, dissented from it. Biden clearly never had the authority to sidestep Congress on something of this nature. He knew it. Everyone knew it. Any good-faith interpretation of the law left no question about it. The president did this to court a key voting demographic, and appease some far-left activists.
Biden and the Democratic party will assuredly frame this ruling in the coming election as “another example” of an “extreme right-wing court,” but that’s nonsense. The court did it’s job.
If Democrats want to enact Biden’s plan — and they still can — the answer is to do it lawfully through Congress. But the real plan all along was a political one. And Dems now have another weapon in their arsenal to drive a deeper wedge between the GOP and young voters.
Additionally, as my friend Jay Caruso joked, Biden can use what happened to brag a $400 billion reduction in the deficit. It would, after all, be very on-brand for this president.
The One Opponent Who Gets It?
Conservative commentator Matt Lewis (an upcoming No BS Zone guest), wrote an interesting piece for the Daily Beast the other day, in which he argues that Chris Christie is the only Republican presidential contender “who actually realizes the 2024 election is about one question and one question only: Trump or not Trump.”
This is to say, the 2024 GOP primary is not about who has the best 10-point policy plan or who is the most anti-woke. It’s simply about whether or not Republicans want Trump again.
Christie is the only candidate whose strategy and message suggest he accepts this reality—and is acting accordingly.
What this means is that Christie can get on TV at any time he wants because Trump is always in the news.
And Christie takes good advantage of those appearances, says Lewis, by being the “only non-Trump candidate who is not only tough, but also funny and entertaining. Perhaps it’s a commentary on our culture, but this is vitally important.”
I certainly agree with him that the entertainment factor is a big deal, especially on the political right. I wish it wasn’t the case, but there’s a reason why a former reality-show host is at the center of the personality cult that has dominated Republican politics for the last eight years. It’s the same reason so many right-wing media outlets these days more resemble pro-wrestling promos than they do news programs.
Between understanding what this primary is about, being an effective showman, and spreading an honest gospel, it would seem that Christie is well positioned to at least gain a little traction among the field. Whether he actually will is hard to say. Despite some promising new polls, the former New Jersey governor is still in low single-digits in the RCP average. With the current culture of the Republican party, it’s nearly impossible to see him going all the way and winning the nomination, but as I’ve written a few times before, I think Christie’s value in the race probably lies elsewhere.
What’s clear is that no other Trump competitor has caught on so far, and pussyfooting around the MAGA base has only made Trump stronger. DeSantis’s popularity waned as Trump pummeled him for months prior to the Florida governor getting into the race. As a declared candidate, DeSantis has remained stagnant with Republican voters, and most of his hits on Trump have been very selective, clumsy, and downright weird. He’s leaving a wide opening for another challenger to grab the reins and build some momentum.
We’ll see if Christie or anyone else manages to capitalize off that opportunity.