San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin speaks during a press conference on May 10, 2022 in San Francisco.
©JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP
As the ousting of Chesa Boudin in San Francisco showed, moderate Democrats seem to want to whistle the end of the woke recess…
Atlantico: Chesa Boudin, the San Francisco prosecutor was removed, who was he? What happened ?
Gerald Oliver: His profile is interesting, he was elected in 2019. He had worked for various administrations on the side of San Francisco, but also, younger, in Venezuela, as a translator in the service of Hugo Chavez. He is also the son of two militants of a radical terrorist movement of the 1960s, the Weather Underground. A far-left movement whose members committed attacks at the time. His parents were also imprisoned after an armored car robbery where an agent was killed. Chesa Boudin was raised by someone named Bill Ayers, who was the leader of this movement. Incidentally, Bill Ayers received a presidential pardon for his crimes from President Obama… Boudin therefore comes from the far radical left and has always advocated the destruction of the American legal and social system. He considers that American justice is intrinsically racist and that there is no other way to change it than to wipe the slate clean. For him, the criminal is a victim of society. It is this doctrine that he applied as a prosecutor, ceasing to prosecute certain offenses (“quality-of-life crimes”). With catastrophic results for the daily safety of the inhabitants of San Francisco, which prompted this procedure of recall or dismissal (recall).
He was finally recalled (recall) by the voters, what happened?
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Voters in San Francisco were simply fed up with the chaos and voted overwhelmingly (more than 60%) to have Boudin removed from office. This is a procedure that exists in many American states and which takes place in two stages. First, a certain number of signatures (51,000 in San Francisco) must be gathered for the “recall” to be put to the vote of the voters. Then it must be approved by at least 50.1% of voters. There were two recall attempts. The first, led by a Republican who had himself been a candidate for mayor of San Francisco, had failed. The second was not orchestrated by Republicans but by moderate Democrats who considered the prosecutor’s action harmful to the city of San Francisco and to the image of the Democratic Party. Indeed, for two years San Francisco has made headlines in the American media for the explosion of its crime, big and small.
Are moderate Democrats turning against the radical fringe?
In San Francisco, it’s obvious. It’s a very progressive, very tolerant city. There are three types of population in San Francisco: a liberal social bourgeoisie earning a lot of money, an urban proletariat and underclass, both Black and Hispanic, in addition to a large Chinese minority, rather discreet politically. . The commercial and administrative town center of the city adjoins a run-down area called the “tenderloin” where the homeless are crowded. This neighborhood has become unlivable. And businesses have suffered. Since shoplifting was no longer prosecuted, department stores were regularly attacked by bands of looters who knew how to act with complete impunity. It had become hellish. Even the bourgeois could no longer come to the city center to do their shopping, it was too dangerous. So they ended up saying “stop”.
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San Francisco is not an isolated case. There are other cities in the United States with prosecutors as radical or revolutionary as Chesa Boudin, like George Gascón in Los Angeles, this is also the case in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago. They do not believe in the incarceration of criminals, and believe that certain offenses are justified by social inequalities. So they put their ideas into practice with such disastrous results that even well-meaning voters stopped supporting them. More recalls may follow elsewhere. A petition for the recall of George Gascon has been launched in Los Angeles.
Could this be the beginning of a broader contestation of Wokism, of a form of “counter-revolution”?
The excesses and aberrations of “wokism” ended up raising a strong wave of opposition. In San Francisco, there had already been recall proceedings against three school board members who had notably voted to change the names of public schools named for now disputed historical figures, including George Washington himself. The voters judged that there were limits to absurdity and stupidity, even when she left and so did they. So they fired those commissioners.
The “woke” culture has been progressing in the United States for several decades, always going further in its cult of identity and subversion, but since the arrival of Joe Biden to the presidency, it seems to have freed itself from all limit, which ended up scaring the Democrats themselves. Especially since Biden had campaigned, let’s remember, on being a wise old centrist who was going to bring Americans together. However, it is the opposite that we have observed since he entered the White House. He acts and speaks like a partisan, a divider, obsessed with getting rid of all forms of opposition, denouncing any disagreement with his policies as a form of “domestic terrorism”.
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It is more than likely that in the November interim elections voters will turn away massively from the Democratic candidates, especially the most radical ones, and that Congress and other institutions will fall back into the hands of the Republicans, who are only waiting for one thing. , the chance to lead the counter-revolution.
How much will the moderate Democrats participate in this backlash?
It’s hard to quantify precisely but even among Democratic voters Biden elicits more unfavorable than favorable opinions. When mainstream media like CNN or the Washington Post turn against Biden administration policy, as they have for the past few weeks, and start denouncing skyrocketing gas prices, baby milk shortages , the explosion of crime, or other problems due to the decisions of Joe Biden, we guess that they do it to save the furniture. Biden is a lost cause, and Democrats who want to save their skins in November are breaking away from his politics by appealing to the more moderate left-wing electorate.
Now bipartisanship and electoral redistricting limit the extent of future electoral upheavals. In many cities and counties, it is not the general elections that count, but the primaries. In San Francisco, the Democratic candidate wins no matter what. The Republicans are making up the numbers and it is unlikely that the Democrats disappointed by Biden will start voting Republican… Anything is possible but it is unlikely. So the electoral map will continue to be drawn by the Democrats to serve the Democratic Party. Although “bipartisanship” exists in California, the state has lived for more than twenty years under a single party, the Democratic party, which governs as a single party, a “one party rule”. More than the general election, it is the primary that determines the elected candidate. However, this spring we have seen a sharp decline in the most “woke” candidates in favor of more moderate Democrats. The “counter-revolution” is well under way, we will see its magnitude at the beginning of November.