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Philadelphia Isn’t Los Angeles: Putting a Rogue Prosecutor’s Primary Win Into Context


Philadelphia’s rogue prosecutor, Larry Krasner, won the Democratic primary in his quest for reelection. He ran against a relatively weak, underfunded opponent, but one who promised, if elected, to restore law and order to the DA’s office and tackle exploding crime rates in Philadelphia.

Krasner, one of several George Soros-backed rogue prosecutors in the country, won despite his radical, pro-criminal, anti-victim approach to the job. That approach has resulted in a 40% spike in homicides, as detailed by The New York Times.

The district attorney’s victory in the May 18 primary has emboldened supporters of the rogue prosecutor movement. They think that since Krasner cruised to his win, others like him also will ride the wave to victory. 

We aren’t convinced, and actually think the movement is beginning to show signs of vulnerability, as we have written about elsewhere

Of course, supporters of the rogue prosecutor movement hailed Krasner’s victory in the Democratic primary as a watershed moment. Some crowed that his win “is a sign that communities understand that the failed tough on crime policies of the past don’t work.” 

Others, such as the progressive magazine The Nation, said that Krasner’s victory gives “a major boost to the national movement to stop police violence, end mass incarceration, and upend systemic racism.”

Such statements, though, are tied more closely with political posturing than reality. The same goes for Krasner’s statements about the spike in violent crime that he has presided over in Philadelphia. 

“The fault lies with the pandemic and its shutdown of schools, summer camps, job opportunities, and even municipal courts,” The Atlantic reported, summarizing what Krasner said in an interview with the magazine.

In the same interview, Krasner cast the spike in violent crime as “a once-in-a-century anomaly.”

Krasner’s Many Advantages

The problem with the “crime rose in my city only because of COVID-19” head fake is that it’s just not true. It’s a lie. 

Crime rose in every city with a Soros-backed rogue prosecutor before the pandemic, and it’s no shock that this increase in crime corresponded with their pro-criminal, anti-victim, and anti-police policies, as we have shown herehereherehere, and here. (The Heritage Foundation has a dedicated website where all our material on rogue prosecutors resides.)

But the cold, hard reality is that even though this surge in violent crime should have placed Krasner at a disadvantage going into the primary election, he still held many, many advantages.

After all, his opponent didn’t get an eight-part, fawning docuseries airing for weeks leading up to the election, in which he was the titular hero.

And even though some have said that the Philadelphia police union invested in this race more heavily than others in recent years, Krasner still had about double the cash of his challenger—$1.35 million to $600,000.

A recent lawsuit, though, has raised questions over how some of that money was raised and used by the Real Justice PAC, which supported Krasner.

Sadly, we know how this experiment ends for the citizens of Philadelphia—more violence and more crime. 

How do we know? Because that’s what we’ve seen play out in other cities where rogue prosecutors have been reelected, such as in Chicago, where Kim Foxx was reelected, and in St. Louis, where Kimberly Gardner was reelected.

Backlash in Los Angeles

But it doesn’t have to be this way—something that some citizens of Los Angeles are beginning to realize.

Since rogue District Attorney George Gascon recently took office in Los Angeles, a grassroots backlash against his policies has gained steam.  Although Gascon has been in office less than six months, an effort to recall him already is underway. 

Gascon’s spokesman “dismissed the recall effort as a fringe right-wing movement that has exploited crime victims,” the Los Angeles Times reported, a statement that infantilizes the crime victims and victims’ relatives who are leading the charge.

The recall campaign should send a message that Gascon’s radical policies are not what the citizens of Los Angeles want.

And while recall petitions necessarily are uphill battles, Gascon faces a fundamentally different situation than the one Krasner faced in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia is a compact city of 141 square miles, with a population of just over 1.5 million. Prosecutors in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office are at-will employees with no job security, and thus cannot speak out against their rogue boss and his radical policies.

On the other hand, Los Angeles County is 4,753 square miles, with a population of over 10 million and 88 cities within its borders, each with a mayor and city council.

Fourteen city councils have passed “no confidence” votes against Gascon since he was elected, with many more cities likely to follow.  

Prosecutors in Los Angeles County have civil service protections and so cannot be fired by their boss, the elected DA, for speaking out against rogue and pro-criminal policies.

The Real Crisis

In Los Angeles, the backlash against Gascon’s radical policies (called “special directives”) began almost immediately after he took office. We wrote about his pro-criminal, anti-victim policies here

Crime victims themselves, mostly minorities, are leading the revolt against Gascon. Their movement is organic, grassroots activism.  A “Recall George Gascon” Facebook page has over 43,000 members as of this writing. 

That kind of activism never happened in Philadelphia, nor did prosecutors under Krasner speak out, for fear of losing their jobs.

So, while some say that “wins for Larry Krasner and new allies signal reformers’ growing reach,” others such as liberal author Ezra Klein correctly point out that although Krasner “survived his primary challenge in Philadelphia,” the growing spike in violent crime is a “crisis for the broader liberal project.”

More importantly, it’s a crisis for those who live in the violence-plagued communities where rogue DAs are more interested in scoring political points than in seeking justice for crime victims.

Rising crimes rates have caused a backlash against the “defund the police” movement, even in the most liberal of cities. That was inevitable because residents of cities, regardless of their politics, skin color, or the like, abhor violence and want to be free from it. And they believe in law and order. 

So Krasner’s victory means that more minority and other underserved citizens will suffer the inevitable results of his rogue, radical policies.

The rogue prosecutor movement owns rising crime rates, and may be wallowing in a false sense of optimism because of Krasner’s win in the primary. Time will tell if it portends future victories for rogue candidates. 

Count us as skeptical, since the country is waking up to the ugly reality of the rogue prosecutor movement.  

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal.





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