To no one’s surprise, progressive prosecutor Chesa Boudin was recalled this week in San Francisco. This comes on the heals of the recall of three far-left school board members in the same city, one of the most liberal places in America. What’s going on?
What’s going on is good news for Democrats. It suggests that Democratic voters are continuing in their highly pragmatic mode. They may have agreed in theory with renaming schools and backing off on prosecuting crimes that tend to result in more Black men being sent to jail, but in reality things were getting awful in San Francisco. Hard-left policies were not solving the immediate problems. We can debate how much they were making things worse (certain categories of crime are up everywhere), but they certainly weren’t improving the situation.
This continues the mood Democrats were in when they nominated Joe Biden in 2020 or Tony Evers in 2018. Sure, Biden’s numbers are in the tank now, but I’m not sure another Democrat could have defeated Trump two years ago. Biden only won the Electoral College by a total of 44,000 votes spread over three states, including Wisconsin. And I think most Democrats would agree that Evers was the only Democrat who could have beaten Scott Walker, and he did it by only 30,000 votes.
We can also look to the other coast where liberal New Yorkers elected Eric Adams their new mayor over hard-left candidates. After Boudin’s defeat on Tuesday Adams took the opportunity to go after his own progressive prosecutor, and fellow Democrat, in New York.
What this is all signaling is that the tension in the party between pragmatic center-left moderates (who make up the bulk of the party) and hard-left, theory-heavy elites (who too often speak for the party) is breaking the moderates’ way. If that really is the case, then my party could at least stem the tide of its losses in November and build a base for its comeback in 2024.