AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott
When San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin was elected in 2019, Hollywood elites and business executives endorsed and celebrated his victory. Now, only two years later, he’s blaming some of them for the recall effort against him – a vote set for June of this year. A recent poll found that nearly 70% of San Francisco voters support recalling the progressive DA. Yet, to hear Boudin tell it, the entire recall is a sham perpetrated by the “elites,” media pundits, the police, and even his own mayor.
Earlier this year, Boudin sat down for an interview with the New York Times ostensibly to discuss the nuances of the recall election. However, the conversation quickly devolved into Boudin airing his grievances with everyone from Walgreens to the San Francisco police and even the New York Times itself. According to Boudin, individual police officers are “absolutely” out to “undermine” him, and the massive spike in crime seen under his watch has “nothing to do” with his policies.
Never mind that Boudin has released dozens of violent felons from jail (and bragged about it), outright refused to prosecute many crimes, ended cash bail, and expressed open hostility toward law enforcement. Combined with other radical criminal justice “reforms” passed before Boudin came into office, like a 2014 city government decision that set a threshold of $950 in stolen goods for shoplifting to even be considered a crime, it’s no surprise that San Francisco has effectively been turned into a lawless wasteland of drug dealers and homeless encampments. But to Boudin, thefts at Walgreens are the store owners’ fault for not hiring enough security guards of their own, while crimes like prostitution, drug dealing, and drug use are “victimless” and thus not worth worrying about at all.
Other city leaders – also seasoned progressives – clearly recognize the chaos that Boudin’s style of “law enforcement” has caused. Back in July of 2021, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that she would lead efforts to “defund the police on behalf of the city,” in line with Boudin’s agenda. Less than six months later, amid rising drug use, crime, and homelessness, she declared, “It’s time that the reign of criminals who are destroying our city to come to an end. And it comes to an end when we take steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement.” Breed has also passively criticized and distanced herself from DA Boudin and the Defund the Police movement, though she has not publicly endorsed his recall.
But Boudin, ever committed to his progressive roots, has deflected Breed’s criticism as disingenuous: “The mayor appoints the replacement after a successful recall vote. It creates an incentive for the mayor to always support a recall because who wouldn’t want to appoint a citywide elected official? Why would she ever oppose a recall?”
In another telling sign of how embittered Boudin has become over the perception of his tenure, he has even attacked the New York Times, suggesting it was working with “right-wing media” to take him down for asking about rampant crime in the “Tenderloin,” a once-thriving neighborhood that is now one of the worst in the country. The few people left in the city willing to defend Boudin publicly similarly claim that the recall is a right-wing stunt, a notion which seems absurd given that San Francisco has long held a reputation as the most left-wing city in America.
But perhaps the most infuriating thing for San Francisco residents about Chesa Boudin is that he sees himself as having played no role in spurring on the city’s crime wave, having no obligation to do anything about it, and thus having given voters no reason to recall him. Statistics which show his city ranks as one of the most dangerous in the country are explained away as being part of “national trends.” Photos of needles in streets and human feces on school playgrounds are just “Republican disinformation.”
With the typical smugness that characterizes many progressives, Boudin is utterly committed to his ideology, no matter the pain and suffering it causes to residents in his city. He insists that it’s only a “small number of wealthy individuals” who want him recalled, giving no indication that it was just one wealthy individual – liberal billionaire George Soros – who bankrolled his election in the first place. It’s likely that a small number of wealthy individuals do indeed want him recalled, but so do tens of thousands of other San Franciscans who have had enough of Boudin’s reign of terror.
When confronted with the 83,000 signatures collected for his recall, he said, “The number has never been audited or validated.” This excuse may provide him some temporary comfort, but with 68% of San Francisco voters supporting his recall according to the latest polling, Boudin will likely see those numbers validated the hard way this June on election day.
Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.
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