I wouldn't get too excited about the San Francisco school board vote

My rule of thumb is that, if I'm appropriately cynical and pessimistic, I will eventually be proven right.  That's why I'm not seeing the recent San Francisco school board recall election as any sort of useful bellwether about what's going to happen in America in November 2022 and moving forward.  I'm not trying to rain on the seeming red wave that's coming up; I'm just saying San Francisco's recall is not part of that wave.

As you may recall, the San Francisco School Board used the lockdowns as an excuse (a) to rename a bunch of San Francisco schools for woke, stupid reasons and (b) to turn Lowell High School, an academic school, into a regular high school, all in the name of racial equity.  Then Alison Collins, one of those school board members, was found to have created a long Twitter thread in 2016 brutally attacking Asians as "housen------" because they were using "white supremacist thinking to assimilate and 'get ahead.'"  In a city that is 35% Asian, those are not words that will inspire support.

Monica Showalter put together an excellent analysis explaining the recall election outcome.  The three radical school board members lost by a substantial majority.  Alison Collins, to no one's surprise, lost by a margin of 79% to 21%!

A lot of people are viewing the election as a bellwether that shows that Americans are turning against extreme leftism.  As Monica noted, the San Francisco Democrat Clubs endorsed some of the recall positions.  I am unconvinced.

This picture shows the turnout for the recall election:


Image: SF Elections.

San Francisco has 873,965 citizens.  That means that slightly more than 13% turned out to vote.  That's not a wave or a bellwether.  That's nothing.

Moreover, I'm willing to bet that the issue that really agitated those voters who showed up wasn't renaming schools, but the decision to turn Lowell into a regular high school rather than an academic high school.

Lowell graduates about 700–800 students annually.  That's low compared to what it used to be.  In the late 1970s, a class would be around 1,000.  At the peak of the Baby Boom, the number was closer to 1,200.  In the 1970s, a graduation class would be about 40% Asian.  The school district put quotas on Asian admissions a few years later, but, eventually, lawsuits forced them to do away with those quotas.  Lowell has been majority Asian for decades now.


Image: Lowell High School in 2010 by Blackjack 48.  Public domain.

One of the things about Lowell grads, up until the school board changed it to an ordinary high school, is the fact that they are very proud of having attended Lowell.  There are decades of proud Lowell graduates out there, many of whom still live — and vote — in San Francisco.  They don't care that the school board is stupid enough to have claimed that Abraham Lincoln High School needed to be renamed because Lincoln himself didn't do enough for slaves.  They do care, though, and quite deeply, about maintaining the reputation of the school from which they graduated.

Why do I know this?  Because I follow a bunch of Lowell grads on Facebook.  They were deeply upset by the decision to take away Lowell's cachet and those who lived in San Francisco campaigned for and donated money to the recall.  At the same time, they continued to post all sorts of woke, anti-Trump (he won't vacate their brains), pro-Biden garbage on their Facebook pages.

What the above means to me is that the 13% or so of people who bothered to vote in that election were probably predominantly Asian and predominantly concerned about Lowell, whether in terms of their pride in the school they attended or their hope that their own children can attend Lowell.  This has nothing to do with anything else.  Again, it's not a bellwether.

Having said all that, while I may be cynical, I'm not trying to dismiss all the other signs of an awakening (in opposition to the left's "awokening") across America.  All I'm saying is that you shouldn't get too excited about what just happened in San Francisco.  It's a purely local phenomenon that has nothing to do with anything national. 

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