The Chesa Boudin Inflection Point in the Fight for Civilizational Sanity

Chesa Bodin is, to any reasonable degree, a nutjob. Conservatives could not create a more perfect political villain in their petri dish, even though they tried. Boudin is that caricaturable.

Boudin’s parents were Weather Underground domestic terrorists and, following the 1981 Brink’s Robbery in New York state, convicted as cop-killers. They were incarcerated (Boudin’s father was just released last November), and Boudin was thus raised in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood by Bill Ayers. Yes, That Bill Ayers—the onetime Weather Underground leader, domestic terrorist kingpin and erstwhile comrade of another famous Hyde Park denizen, Barack Obama.

Boudin’s great-grand-uncle, Louis Boudin, was an influential Marxist legal theorist and an active member of the Socialist Labor Party of America. His grandfather, Leonard Boudin, was a radical leftist attorney who once represented Fidel Castro’s revolutionary Cuban government. Chesa Boudin himself worked before law school in Caracas as a translator and researcher for Venezuela’s (blessedly deceased) socialist president, Hugo Chavez.

In November 2019, Boudin was narrowly elected district attorney of San Francisco, America’s foremost bastion of progressivism. (Notably, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor praised Boudin’s “personal strength and commitment to reforming and improving the criminal justice system” via recorded video at his January 2020 swearing-in.) Boudin replaced as San Francisco DA George Gascon, the Havana-born, similarly light-on-crime, anti-prosecution “prosecutor” who moved southward and has served as Los Angeles County DA since December 2020. Boudin and Gascon, along with some others such as Cook County, Illinois’ Kim Foxx, are the tips of the spear for what Andrew C. McCarthy in a March 2020 Commentary essay referred to as “The Progressive Prosecutor Project”—a sprawling, George Soros-funded national movement to elect prosecutors who don’t … prosecute (or incarcerate).

This Tuesday, San Franciscans recall Chesa Boudin in clearion fashion, ejecting him from office in a thunderous 20 point ballot box cri de coeur. That no less than San Francisco—America’s preeminent urban den of left-wing lunacy—saw fit to render such a decisive verdict against the Chavez mentee represents an inflection point in the fight to restore and reclaim civilizational sanity from the forces of civilizational arson.

A “Progressive Prosecutor Project” archetype, Boudin’s 2019 platform focused on eliminating cash bail, active resistance of federal immigration enforcement, blocking prosecution for various drug- and gun-related offenses during traffic stops, and fully ceasing the prosecution of so-called quality-of-life crimes such as public urination and defecation. The unpredicted result is that San Francisco has continued to descend into the civilizational hellhole it is now known as. Many stores were forced to close because of a rise in burglaries by 45% Homicides increased by 37% The conviction rate of prosecuted offenses decreased from 60% to 39% in 2019 and to 39% in 2021. The rise in homelessness continues. It could be that San Francisco offers up $588 per month in cash to the poor, which is three times more than New York City.

The result was that city dwellers became disenchanted with their needle-bedecked, feces-bespeckled sidewalks and inability to walk in once-safe neighborhoods without fear. They axed Boudin.

Boudin’s ouster is yet another data point evincing the woke Left’s cultural and political overreach throughout the United States. Last November, one year after Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump by double-digits in Virginia, Republican Glenn Youngkin ascended to the governor’s mansion by running during the campaign’s closing stretch as a culture war-centric, anti-critical race theory leader. Elsewhere last November, the left-wing cities of Minneapolis and Seattle defeated a toxic “defund the police” ballot initiative and elected a pro-law-and-order Republican as district attorney, respectively. These are the results Should have been wake-up calls for “progressive prosecutor” zealots.

Indeed, last December, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, herself a Democrat and no progressive slouch, inadvertently foreshadowed Boudin’s recall when she said: “The reign of criminals who are destroying our city, it is time for it to come to an end. And it comes to an end when we take the steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement, more aggressive with the changes in our policy and less tolerant of all the bulls— that has destroyed our city.”

Even more recently, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis deployed his much-discussed fiscal fusillade in April against The Walt Disney Company for its propagandistic opposition to Florida Republicans’ parental rights in education bill, public opinion was on DeSantis’ side by a large double-digit margin. The pendulum is finally swinging back to the side of civilized sanity, regardless of whether it is law and order on the streets or gender ideology within the classroom.

But the far-left activist wing the Democratic Party continues to be radical. From encouraging overt anti-prosecution anarchy in urban areas to downplaying an attempted assassination by a sitting Supreme Court justice, the gap between grassroots leftists of the American middle class and the sensible median voter has never been wider. San Francisco seems to be the latest city to agree. Unfortunately for Democrats, even if they wanted to distance themselves from their toxic grassroots (and they don’t), it is now too late. Democrats will lose badly this November, and they can only blame themselves.


The Daily Signal is open to all perspectives. This article is not meant to represent the views of The Heritage Foundation.

Are you a fan of this article? To sound off, please email, and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Please include the URL of the article or headline, as well as your name, town, and/or state.