Fresh on the heels of the apparent defeat of progressive San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, pundits from the New York Times to the Washington Post wrote breathless stories about how voters in Los Angeles, anxious about crime and homelessness, were choosing conservative candidates with tough-on-crime bona fides.
Except the vagaries of California voting are proving those pundits wrong:
Last week, elections were held in California, and media desks were ready. They had a district attorney subject to recall in San Francisco, and a high-profile mayor’s race in Los Angeles turning on the subjects of homelessness and crime. If both races broke right, they could bundle Chesa Boudin’s downfall and Rick Caruso’s triumph and pull off the Holy Grail of political reporting: the election trend piece.
That piece was written, and replicated. “Progressive Backlash in California Fuels Democratic Debate Over Crime,” The New York Times warned. The reckoning was here. Progressive calls to defund and rethink policing were being punished in some of the most left-leaning cities on the West Coast.
But then they kept counting the votes.
East Coast media once again neglected an enduring fact about California elections: Votes are counted slowly and deliberately. All state voters receive ballots via mail, and mail ballots can come into registrar offices up to a week later and still be counted, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day. Hundreds of thousands of votes have been and will be counted after the Times and others wrote their trend pieces. And in just the first week, several outcomes have materially changed.
On the day after the election in Los Angeles, Caruso had 42.12 percent of the vote, with Karen Bass in second with 36.95 percent. As of Thursday morning, those numbers had flipped: Bass now has 41.05 percent, and Caruso has 38.29 percent. With plenty left to count, on the current trajectory Caruso could scrape 35 percent.
This is a terrible result for Caruso, given the $40 million he plowed into the race. He outspent Bass by more than 12 to 1, in a race where the powerful local labor groups quietly endorsed third-place finisher Kevin de León (a former labor organizer with the state teachers union) and spent next to nothing. For Caruso, a ubiquitous presence on TV and in mailboxes in the months leading up to the election, to not break 40 percent in a fragmented field shows a broad rejection of his crime and homelessness message.
Even the Boudin race in SF is tightening, although he still looks to be the loser.
For every race that Republicans (and their enablers in the “liberal” media) listed as proof that voters were turning on progressive candidates, there were a host of other elections where voters did no such thing.
This includes the DA race in Philly where even voters in high crime areas helped Larry Krasner wallop his opponent with 2/3 of the vote. That margin of victory has so enraged Republicans that they have started an impeachment effort against Krasner, seeking to nullify the voters of the district.
So much for the sanctity of the vote.
BTW, if you get a chance to watch the documentary Philly DA about Krasner, do so. It’s well worth your time.