Criminal justice reporter Tana Ganeva and I are going to exchange a series of letters on the topic of the reform DA movement. Here, her response to my piece, “The Impeachment of Larry Krasner and the Sunsetting of the Progressive Prosecutor."
1) The idea that violent crime is higher in red states has been thoroughly debunked. Rural red states have smaller overall populations so crime rates aggregated at the state level are disproportionately impacted by crime rates in major population center, such as cities. And those cities are overwhelmingly Democratic.
2) The point that I would make about progressive prosecutors is this: Katy Perry endorsed recent Republican Rick Caruso over the Democratic candidate for LA mayor. Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks also chose Caruso over Bass. His co-host Ana Kasparian defended the idea that crime was a legitimate issue for electoral politics. And yet Karen Bass just defeated Rick Caruso in the race for LA mayor.
On the other side of the country much was made over the possibility that crime would enable Republican challenger Lee Zeldin to defeat Kathy Hochul. Zeldin ended up coming short by about five points.
But that still represents a massive improvement over the 20 and 30 point margins that Mario Cuomo was running up over his Republican challengers. Now, some of that vote discrepancy is undoubtedly due to the fact that Hochul is not Mario Cuomo. But the GOP also flipped a number of House districts in New York state from blue to red. Without those victories the GOP might not be the majority party in the House.
History takes time to get moving. When the pendulum reverses everything just doesn't spin on a dime. I don't know for sure where the ball ends up, but has it started rolling?
I would argue that if you've lost Walter Cronkite, I mean Katy Perry, you've lost the country.
Oh Tana, the weak explanation of why Boudin failed in SF is straight out of the Progressive handbook. With over 700 od deaths in a year- not one Fentanyl sales prosecution. Most cases referred to “restorative justice” where none was done. No stats, no restitution, no recidivism tracking. SF has 50 homicides averaged over several years- nothing to do with Boudins efforts.
Crime was “down” because people saw no use in reporting. Boudin was a complete failure across the board.
It's great you all are having this discussion! As for the statement, "Studies have shown that violent crime is higher in red states regardless of the politics of the DAs (which are also mostly red)", I believe it's more useful to look at violent crime rates by city rather than by state. In 2022, the top 20 cities ranked by violent crime rate per 100,000 population in the US are:
St. Louis, MO (2,082)
Detroit, MI (2,057)
Baltimore, MD (2,027)
Memphis, TN (2,003)
Little Rock, AR (1,634)
Milwaukee, WI (1,597)
Rockford, IL (1,588)
Cleveland, OH (1,557)
Stockton, CA (1,415)
Albuquerque, NM (1,369)
Springfield, MO (1,339)
Indianapolis, IN (1,334)
Oakland, CA (1,299)
San Bernardino, CA (1,291)
Anchorage, AK (1,203)
Nashville, TN (1,138)
Lansing, MI (1,136)
New Orleans, LA (1,121)
Minneapolis, MN (1,101)
Chicago, IL (1,099)
In any case, if you were to continue to analyze violent crime rate by state, Texas and California have very similar violent crime rates (446.5 for Texas, 442 for California). Pennsylvania, Florida and New York also have very similar violent crime rates (389.5 for Pennsylvania, 383.6 for Florida, 363.8 for New York).
In any case, here are the US states and DC ranked by violent crime rate as of 2020:
New Mexico 778.3
South Carolina 530.7
South Dakota 501.4
North Carolina 419.3
New York 363.8
West Virginia 355.9
North Dakota 329.0
Rhode Island 230.8
New Jersey 195.4
Puerto Rico 164.5
New Hampshire 146.4
> But given that Krasner is not doing anything profoundly different this year than his first three
First of all, how do we know he isn't? Democrat politics *has* changed in 2020. There is also the general decline in accountability that befalls politicians with increasing time in the chair.
With crime in particular, I believe that changes in prosecutorial behaviors take a time to percolate to criminals (who usually don't read political news but can't help noticing what the kids in their class are getting away with and what gets them booked for a while). From this viewpoint, the BLM riots should have acted as a catalyst even if nothing has fundamentally changed.
One more point: the cops don't show up in a lot of places now when you call them, not just Portland.