Politico: Boudin a victim of pouncing Republicans in San Francisco, or something

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How many pouncing Republicans might there be in San Francisco? Likely not enough to put a competitive race for dogcatcher, and yet Politico sees this as the likeliest explanation for the upcoming recall of radical DA Chesa Boudin. The “well-funded recall campaign” has become “a sort of Rorschach test” on “anxiety about rising crime” … as if Boudin and the social-justice movement whence he springs isn’t just as well-funded and now responsible for outcomes in places like San Francisco.


Instead, it’s all about the pouncing:

Boudin’s woes reflect genuine public anxiety about crime throughout California. Some types of crime, like larceny, decreased in San Francisco during the start of Boudin’s tenure, data shows, a period that overlapped with the Covid-19-spurred shutdown. But car thefts and burglaries spiked, as did homicides and shootings in parallel with a national surge in violent crime. Burglaries and homicide rates have since eased while larcenies have ticked back up.

San Francisco has long been a bogeyman for Republicans eager to portray a liberal dystopia. Conservative media outlets have amplified viral videos of shoplifting and organized smash-and-grabs in San Francisco and train robberies that left tracks littered with refuse in Los Angeles, where progressive District Attorney George Gascón has also faced recall efforts. …

“It’s not limited to San Francisco or L.A. We see it from coast to coast, and it involves attacking progressive, reform-minded DA’s,” Boudin said, arguing the recall “is designed to send a message not just to other district attorneys, but to other local officials here in San Francisco that if you take on the powers that be, if you try to effectuate system change, that they’re going to come for you, and they’re going to try to destroy your career.”

Republicans across the country are running on public safety, betting voters will punish Democrats for embracing a more lenient approach to sentencing and incarceration. That has put a spotlight on a recently elected wave of reform-minded prosecutors.


Yes, it’s putting a spotlight on “reform-minded prosecutors,” which is itself a rather loaded description, because the results of their policies have been disastrous to public order. Politico even notes that career prosecutors in both Boudin and George Gascón’s DA offices in LA have “revolted” at their edicts on bail, sentencing, and prosecuting cases as crime has shot upward. Gascón calls the recall process — which he may face in November — “subverting democracy,” even though the recall process is itself entirely democratic and fully available in California for voters to hold officeholders accountable.

Politico casts this accountability effort, which of course will rely on voters in heavily Democratic San Francisco, a “dark money” effort:

The anti-Boudin campaign has been bolstered by millions of dollars from a coalition of real estate companies and executives — including a prominent Republican donor — and deep-pocketed tech industry executives. While Boudin has also drawn some tech support, influential Silicon Valley figures have portrayed the district attorney as emblematic of San Francisco’s struggles.

“Chesa Boudin’s failure as District Attorney has made San Francisco a more dangerous place to live and work,” venture capitalist and political kingmaker Ron Conway wrote in a December missive urging people to fund the recall.

Political kingmaker, indeed. A check on Open Secrets shows Ron Conway of SV Angel or Angel Investors LLC, his VC company, contributing large amounts to pouncing Republicans such as, er … Jerry Brown (nearly $55K split between primary and general election campaigns in 2014), and other Democrats such as Joseph Kopser, Jason Crow, Tammy Baldwin, Bill Nelson, Xavier Becerra, and so on. Conway has also contributed major bucks to organizations such as Progress San Francisco, which got $25K from Conway in 2016, a Dem-leaning Oregon PAC, the Democratic Party of Texas, the Democratic Party of North Carolina, and the Democratic Party of Arizona.


Conway must be amused to learn that he’s now considered a pouncing Republican by Politico. And interestingly, there isn’t a single word about the well-funded efforts to elect Boudin, Gascón, and other “reform-minded prosecutors” by progressive activists and “political kingmakers” such as George Soros. The Bangor Daily News reported just yesterday on another Soros effort in Maine to push out an incumbent DA by drowning the race in cash:

Since 2010, only $464,000 has been spent by all Maine district attorney campaigns. The outside spending in this one already accounts for more than any of those races to date ahead of the Democratic primary in June between incumbent Jonathan Sahrbeck and challenger Jackie Sartoris. No other candidates are running in November, making this the deciding election. …

Nearly $173,000 in spending has come in the last week from the Maine Justice & Public Safety PAC. That is just under half of the $300,000 the political action committee has received in contributions from a national political group funded by billionaire George Soros, who recently poured $125 million into a group backing Democratic candidates and causes in 2022. …

Soros has backed major efforts to elect progressive prosecutors with aggressive agendas in recent years.

That seems pretty “well funded” to me, as were the campaigns that got Boudin, Gascón, and other radical DAs elected over the last few cycles.


If Boudin gets the boot, don’t blame pouncing Republicans in a city/county (it’s both) where Republicans make up less than 10% of the electorate. Blame Boudin for being too radical for San Francisco, which takes a lot of effort.

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