San Francisco voters delivered a stark message to the Democratic Party nationally on Tuesday by voting to recall District Attorney Chesa Boudin,
signaling their unwillingness to stand behind the progressive policies of a criminal justice reform advocate at a time when they are unnerved by rising crime.
Boudin was elected in 2019 during a very different moment in American politics, as concern over police accountability was rising.
Calls to reform the criminal justice system reached a crescendo following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020.
But in the years since, Boudin's progressive policies have become a central point of contention. San Francisco residents have been shaken by the rise in violent crime and high-profile hate crime incidents and angered by the increase in burglaries and car thefts across the city.
The Boudin recall follows the decision of voters to oust three San Francisco school board members earlier this year amid anger about their preoccupation with renaming as many as 44 schools
On the same night that Boudin was recalled, voters in the overwhelmingly Democratic city of Los Angeles also appeared to be registering their disquiet with Democrats' handling of rising crime and homelessness in the race to replace term-limited Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Six-term US Rep. Karen Bass was once viewed as the frontrunner in that contest, but she has faced an unexpectedly strong challenge from billionaire shopping mall magnate Rick Caruso, a former Republican.
Spending more than $40 million in the race, Caruso has argued that city leaders have failed to keep voters safe and protect their quality of life.
Tents have proliferated across Los Angeles, taking over parks, sidewalks and public spaces as the city has struggled to house some 41,000 people who need shelter.