Another red flag for Democrats as November nears | EDITORIAL

Gavel and book on a table

The repudiation by San Francisco voters of a progressive prosecutor should sound the death knell for “defund the police” foolishness, but don’t count on it. Left-wing activists are true believers, even if they have difficulty grasping the nuances between criminal justice reform and tolerating lawlessness.

On Tuesday, residents in the City by the Bay — as deep blue as they come — recalled District Attorney Chelsea Boudin by a 60-40 margin. Mr. Boudin went into a state of denial and blamed shadowy GOP monied interests for his demise — never mind that Republicans constitute less than 7 percent of San Francisco’s registered voters. In fact, Mr. Boudin was undone because he placed rigid ideology above the concerns of residents who have clearly had their fill of aggressive homelessness, open drug use and an increase in property crime.

His defenestration will have ramifications across the country and in Clark County. Democrats continue allowing radical progressives to dominate party discourse at their own risk.

“Republican pollster Gene Ulm said the perception that Democrats are weak on crime is pushing swing suburban voters toward the GOP in midterm elections across the country,” The Associated Press reported this week, “even if crime is not a defining issue in the campaign.” Mr. Ulm told the AP that “The Democrats have basically tattooed themselves with ‘defund the police.’ It’s too late to change it.”

While the economy will certainly be front and center in November, public safety has muscled its way into the campaign as many large cities — typically run by Democrats — have seen crime rates increase. Expect the issue to play a prominent role in Nevada, as Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo appears to be the front-runner for the GOP gubernatorial nomination and District Attorney Steve Wolfson faces a challenge from his left in the Democratic primary from former assemblyman Ozzie Fumo, who would likely operate in the Boudin mold.

Efforts to make the criminal justice system more equitable and to hold police accountable for wrongdoing have merit. But they need not involve turning a blind eye to habitual offenders, playing catch-and-release at the jailhouse and laying down a yellow brick road for petty criminals by announcing they’ll never be prosecuted.

“People want to live with the basic expectation that if they are robbed or assaulted, competent authorities will make an effort to bring the criminal to justice,” Nancy Rommelmann wrote this week for Reason. “Fair or not, San Franciscans were no longer living under that expectation.”

And when that happens, the allure of progressive orthodoxy quickly loses its appeal for rank-and-file Democrats forced to live with the consequences.