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Affirmative action didn't hurt the cause of actual Liberals because Liberals believe in equal opportunity for all regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and so forth. The key word is "opportunity," that people are not judged by these classifications but by their personal and professional qualifications. Affirmative action, however, has hurt the cause of collectivists on the Left, who believe in equality at all cost as well as equal outcomes, rather than equal opportunity, even if that means denying people opportunity simply because other members of their community have succeeded.