Will Liberal San Francisco Recall Its ‘Progressive Prosecutor’?

San Francisco appears poised to recall progressive prosecutor Chesa Boudin on Tuesday amid concerns about rising crime and homelessness in the city.


Liberal bastion San Francisco will vote Tuesday on whether to recall progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin amid concerns about rising crime and homelessness in the city. Boudin’s defeat would be a blow to progressive Democrats criminal justice reform agenda.


  • “Fed-up” Democrats in San Francisco are considered likely to recall Boudin, according to Reuters. Residents blamed Boudin for the rise in homicides, gun violence, hate crimes against Asian Americans, and property crime since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Boudin was elected on a platform of reducing incarceration and has prohibited his office from seeking cash bail, trying juveniles as adults, or using sentencing enhancements for gang affiliations.
  • Boudin’s defeat could signal a shift in Democratic voters’ attitudes towards crime and woke self-described “progressive prosecutors.”
  • Progressive prosecutors won elections nationwide in recent years, backed by Democratic megadonors like George Soros on the promise of reforming the criminal justice system.
  • Boudin is the son of two Weather Underground terrorists jailed for their role in the 1981 murders of two police officers and a security guard.
  • Boudin was raised by fellow Weather Underground terrorists Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers, who mentored Barack Obama, and once served as a translator for Venezuelan autocrat Hugo Chavez.

reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • The New York Times wrote San Francisco Democrats “are at war with themselves over crime,” reminding readers that the recall’s leaders are all liberal Democrats themselves, and the battle to recall Boudin has become a fight over “what shade of blue are you.”
  • New York Magazine argued Boudin’s recall would mean San Francisco “has never been its left-wing caricature” and makes the case that the true cause of Boudin’s troubles is the media and wealthy conservatives taking advantage of the anger of working-class Asian Americans.
  • The Atlantic summed up the case against Boudin as simply “San Franciscans do not feel safe and secure,” writing “practically everyone in this city has been a victim or knows a victim.”



  • The Wall Street Journal called San Francisco “Chesa Boudin’s Lawless City” and argued his recall would be essential to restoring order to the streets of San Francisco. Among other policies, Boudin undercharged drug dealers so they would not be subject to deportation.
  • National Review interviewed recall organizers who were former Boudin supporters. They said they have “buyers’ remorse” over their 2019 vote and blasted Boudin as a “rogue” prosecutor.
  • Fox News reported Patty Quillin, the wife of Netflix CEO Ted Hastings, poured $1 million into the outside group backing Boudin in the recall. Boudin has slammed recall supporters for being bankrolled by millionaires but has not disavowed Quillin’s contribution on his behalf.

Author’s Take

If Chesa Boudin is recalled, it won’t be because Republicans, millionaires, big business, or any other progressive bogeyman took out a brave progressive reformer – despite what you read in certain corners of left-wing or mainstream media (but I repeat myself). There simply aren’t enough Republicans in San Francisco for their votes to matter.

The same voters that launched the careers of Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris, Gavin Newsom, and Dianne Feinstein will be the ones voting to remove Chesa Boudin on Tuesday. If Boudin loses, it is because San Francisco Democrats have had enough with his prioritization of ideology over safety.


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© Dominic Moore, 2022