The message on crime is 'millionaires suck' and 'cancel your subscription to the Times'
“California Sends Democrats and the Nation a Message on Crime” the New York Times almost gleefully proclaimed Wednesday. Citing Chesa Boudin’s recall and the strong showing of mall tycoon and former Republican Rick Caruso in Los Angeles, the paper further concluded that the two outcomes “made vivid the depths of voter frustration over rising crime and rampant homelessness in even the most progressive corners of the country.”
The “message,” clearly, is that Democrats, already in the mushy middle, should try to outflank Republicans’ tough-on-crime talk, the exact dynamic that created a vast, bipartisan carceral machine in the 1980s and 1990s.
First of all, the Los Angeles Mayoral race literally proves the exact opposite. Caruso’s opponent, Karen Bass, has repeatedly distanced herself from the criminal justice movement. She’s called for hiring more LAPD officers and sending them as “support” to homelessness outreach workers. “I’m on record — radio, TV, print, hundreds of times — saying that I don’t support defund the police,” she said.
The lesson for Democrats and the nation, here, should be that no matter how enthusiastically you throw your progressive flank under the bus, conservatives will still paint you as soft-on-crime! Yep, that’s what we need, more democrats who inspire no one and still fail to shore up “the center.”
The 34 million of his own money Caruso poured into the race helped position him as a maverick outsider — with business experience! — who would shake things up! He pledges to “clean up the city,” by further empowering police to hassle homeless people. Michael Bloomberg was another billionaire “political outsider” who promised to end homelessness and then pursued policies that directly increased homelessness. And … Donald Trump. Businessmen are not good lawmakers. As heads of companies and vast fortunes they are used to almost unlimited power, which both makes them used to abusing power and additionally leaves them poorly prepared to navigate government buearacracy.
And the lesson for Democrats and the nation about the Boudin recall is that there’s too much money in politics. Bay Area millionaires, billionaires, and corporate entities spent more than 10 million on the recall, double the amount spent on every mayoral candidate in the 2018 special election for Mayor, the SF Weekly reports, helping fuel shameless propaganda misrepresenting crime in the city and Boudin’s role in it,
Yeah, a lot of the opposition to Boudin was grassroots, particularly in the city’s Asian-American community. I can see why Asian-Americans, in the midst of the rise in hate crimes, would be pissed about how Boudin treated an older Asian man Anh Lê’, after he was attacked with a bat by assailants who said, “I’m going to kill you.”
This story of Boudin’s insensitivity spread after Lê’ sued the DA’s office. It wasn’t until days later that it was reported the bat was a plastic toy, Lê’ had been aggressive toward the alleged assailants — a man in a wheelchair and his young son—and that the case had been prosecuted by Boudin’s predecessor Suzy Loftus! Misrepresentations and lies dogged Boudin from the start.
Lesson three: cancel your subscriptions to the New York Times. As we observed yesterday, it takes roughly under a minute to look up crime statistics in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) database. According to the database, violent crime in San Francisco fell while Boudin was in office, even as it rose in “tough-on-crime” enclaves like neighboring Sacramento. But you wouldn’t know it from coverage in the Times. Even in yesterday’s lead-up to the election, Times coverage just kind of lazily parroted the narrative of the recall as a referendum on rising crime—without bothering to note that San Francisco had not become more dangerous with Boudin in office.
Yes, perceptions are important. But promoting bullshit narratives boomers want to hear is the job of CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. The Times surely has 59 seconds to spare to see if perceptions are true by looking at actual data.
When liberals had the vapors for 4 straight years of Trump, the Times would regularly formulate headlines like, “Trump, Falsely, Claims XYZ.” The second politics went back to usual, e.g. a boring Democrat who mostly says the right stuff on issues rich liberals care about, they went back to parroting propaganda designed to knee cap progress.
Homelessness and crime are not going to disappear with Boudin out of office or a mall tycoon in charge of the second largest city in America. What happens to the narrative then?
Please help support our work by signing up for our newsletter here.