EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.
Dead on arrival.
That’s the prognosis that has quickly formed around the movement of reform prosecutors after San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin was recalled last week. Pundits and political strategists have leaped to declare that Boudin’s fate portends defeat for reform-minded prosecutors nationwide—and that Democrats have no choice but to get tougher on crime if they want to avert disastrous midterm elections.
But the loss of one reformer—in an election that saw more than 25 percent turnout and was fueled by a $7 million misinformation campaign—is hardly a sign that Democrats need to revert to 1990s-era posturing on crime. True, they must hear and address voters’ very real fears if they’re going to win elections. But that doesn’t mean they have to promote incarceration as a one-size-fits-all solution for society’s problems. On the contrary, the case for criminal justice reform remains strong—and elections last week and in recent years show that Americans nationwide are increasingly receptive to it.
Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.