In Huge Setback for Soros, San Fran's Progressive DA Booted Out by Leftist City's Residents
Voters in one of America’s most leftist cities sent a message Tuesday to progressive criminal justice reformers and their patron, billionaire financier George Soros: Enough is enough.
After a campaign dominated by skyrocketing murder and burglary rates in the city, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin was decisively recalled by voters. According to the Los Angeles Times, over 60 percent of ballots were cast to oust the DA, who eliminated cash bail, emptied jails and reportedly didn’t prosecute individuals for drug dealing, apparently over concerns they would be deported.
Tuesday’s results could deal a major blow to other progressive criminal reformers like Philadelphia’s Larry Krasner, Los Angeles’ George Gascón and Manhattan’s Alvin Bragg — and a blow to Soros, who has spent significant cash on criminal justice reform, his pet project.
(Here at The Western Journal, we’ve highlighted how progressive DAs — often fueled by money from Soros — have been behind policies that have supercharged crime in major cities like San Francisco. We’ll keep detailing how the left’s criminal justice “reform” puts criminals ahead of law-abiding citizens. You can help us bring America the truth by subscribing.)
Boudin, who became attorney general with 50.8 percent of the vote in the 2019 election, faced massive criticism for his refusal to prosecute quality-of-life crimes like drug dealing and shoplifting.
While leftists have hailed these policies as humane and claimed they don’t drive crime, the numbers in San Francisco don’t bear that out. The city has seen a proliferation in thefts and open-air drug-dealing; videos of shoplifters openly denuding shelves in city stores seemed to go viral on a weekly basis.
Boudin didn’t take money directly from any of George Soros’ political action committees, it’s worth noting. However, The Washington Times reported in an August 2020 piece that “a network of left-wing donors connected to the Hungarian-born billionaire helped Mr. Boudin raise more than $620,000” during the 2019 election.
“The donor web included Chloe Cockburn, who is with Mr. Soros’ Democracy Alliance, along with the Tides Foundation and Brennan Center for Justice, both of which have Mr. Soros as a deep-pocketed contributor,” the Times noted.
Boudin insisted, in a speech after the race was called, that the movement wasn’t finished.
“This is a movement, not a moment in history,” Boudin said, according to Fox News. “The coalition that we built … it is broad, it is diverse, it is strong. And it is a coalition that is deeply committed to justice.”
San Francisco Mayor London Breed will pick Boudin’s successor.
Boudin is arguably the biggest face in the progressive district attorney movement, especially given his backstory. He is the son of Weather Underground radicals David Gilbert and Kathy Boudin, both of whom spent decades behind bars for murder and robbery convictions. He was raised by Weather Underground co-founder and left-wing activist Bill Ayers.
Even The New York Times acknowledged the major shift Boudin’s recall constituted.
“Tuesday’s vote had echoes of another tectonic election in the city, the ouster of three school board members in February, a recall that reflected voters’ sour mood during the pandemic and an assertion of political power by the city’s Asian Americans,” the Times’ San Francisco Bureau Chief Thomas Fuller wrote.
“Many of the volunteers in both recall elections were from the Chinese community, members of whom were stung by burglaries and shoplifting and who felt particularly vulnerable after a spate of attacks on Asian Americans in the city during the pandemic.”
“There is anger at the failure of government, the failure of City Hall, to address pressing problems,” said David Lee, a political science lecturer at San Francisco State University. “In San Francisco, a third of the population is Asian and they don’t feel like anyone is listening to them — City Hall or the Democratic establishment.”
(Still, Fuller was beyond sympathetic to Boudin, writing that a “clear analysis of Mr. Boudin’s two-and-a-half-year tenure was also made difficult by the fact that it occurred during the pandemic, when a near total shutdown of the city influenced criminal behavior much more than the policies of a district attorney.”)
Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown called Boudin “a warrior for the downtrodden” — and he didn’t mean that in a positive way.
“That’s what he is,” Brown told the Times. “He’s certainly not a prosecutor.”
Boudin might not be the only Soros-backed prosecutor to fall this year, either. A few hundred miles to the south in Los Angeles, District Attorney Gascón might also be on chopping block.
According to Fox News, recall campaigners had collected over 500,000 signatures by last week and have until July 6 to collect another 67,000. Gascón has been dealing with similar problems as Boudin.
It’s true that he doesn’t have the Weather Underground problem following him around, but whatever advantage that confers has been erased by a high-profile case in which a 26-year-old male who identifies as transgender was sentenced to just two years in a juvenile facility for a sexual assault he committed in 2014, weeks before turning 18.
Gascón’s office refused to prosecute the defendant now known as Hannah Tubbs as an adult because of a pledge to not try those who committed crimes as minors in adult courts. For better or worse, the fallout from that decision was soon rendered somewhat moot by murder charges brought against Tubbs in a 2019 case, a crime committed when Tubbs was decidedly an adult.
According to the conservative website California Globe, Gascón received $2.5 million from Soros during his 2020 campaign. The conservative think-tank the Heritage Foundation noted numerous members of Gascón’s transition and advisory teams also had ties to the billionaire financier’s organizations.
Those working to recall Gascón celebrated Baudin’s loss in San Francisco.
“Tonight showed that voters from every community and every walk of life, regardless of political ideology, are rejecting pro-criminal policies that are masked as criminal justice reform,” said a representative of the Recall Gascón Campaign after Boudin’s loss, according to Fox.
“George Gascón and Chesa Boudin’s failed social experiments have destroyed communities while doing nothing to meaningfully reform the system. If LA County voters sign and return their recall petitions, Gascón will be walking the same plank in the near future.”
If he goes, who’s next? There are plenty of Soros-backed DAs throughout the country who should be feeling the heat after Boudin got so soundly thumped by voters in the cradle of American progressivism.
Gascón could well be next, but one hopes that’s not where this ends.
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