The Times podcast: The Battle of 187 ends — and the war begins

L.A. Times front page with the headline "Wilson and Prop. 187 win"
The Nov. 9, 1994, front page of Los Angeles Times reports election results, showing victories for Gov. Pete Wilson and Proposition 187. But those wins had longer-term ramifications.
(Los Angeles Times)

California’s Proposition 187 won alongside Gov. Pete Wilson in the 1994 election. But the victories proved to be a double-edged sword. Wilson, who had aspirations to run for higher office, never won another election. And although Proposition 187 eventually was declared unconstitutional, torpedoed the California GOP and inspired many Latinos to get involved in their communities, it also laid the political groundwork for successful xenophobic campaigns nationwide. That paved the way for Donald Trump to win the U.S. presidency in 2016.


This is Part Three of our rerun of the L.A. Times-Futuro Studios 2019 podcast series “This is California: The Battle of 187,” about the 1994 California ballot initiative that sought to make life miserable for undocumented immigrants but instead radicalized a generation of Latinos in the state.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

More reading:

State GOP haunted by ghost of Prop. 187

Prop. 187 flopped, but it taught the nation’s top immigration-control group how to win

The legacy of Proposition 187 cuts two ways

Listen to more episodes of The Times here

About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, producer Shannon Lin, senior producer Denise Guerra and editors Lauren Raab, Shani O. Hilton and Julia Turner. Our intern is Ashlea Brown. Our engineer is Mario Diaz and our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.