Portlanders Dump Soft-On-Crime District Attorney

by Vern Evans
Portland homeless encampment.

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If recent happenings out in the liberal bastion of western Oregon are any indication, Americans are continuing to become more fed up with soft-on-crime prosecutors allowing crime to run rampant.

Last week, voters in Portland voted Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt, a Soros-backed liberal, out of office, replacing him with challenger Nathan Vasquez.

“It is looking as if I will not be serving another four years as Multnomah County District Attorney,” Schmidt said in a statement as soon as media projections of the election were released. “I have called Nathan Vasquez to congratulate him on his victory.”

Apparently, Schmidt’s soft-on-crime policies were too soft for even Portland, one of the most liberal cities in the country. Schmidt was elected back in 2020 and immediately ended cash bail, reduced prosecution of misdemeanors and ignored pleas to clear the city’s infamous homeless encampments.

As the National Review recently pointed out, the results were “utterly predictable.”

“Portland’s murder rate rose precipitously in 2021 and 2022—and it remains higher than it was prior to Schmidt’s arrival,” the media outlet reported. “Rather than responding to the reduced use of cash bail by staying on the straight and narrow and then gratefully showing up in court, the number of people who committed crimes while awaiting trial increased. In the meantime, Portland’s pretty downtown became known nationally for homelessness, petty crime, open-air drug deals and the slow response time of the police.”

In dumping Schmidt, Portland residents were simply reflecting the views of most Americans when it comes to prosecuting criminals to keep law-abiding citizens safer. If you need proof, look no further than a Gallup Poll from last November.

According to that poll, 58% of Americans think the U.S. criminal justice system is not tough enough in its handling of crime. That marked a sharp reversal from the prior reading in 2020, when a record-low 41% said the same.

A 17% percent change in response to any poll question over only three years is quite remarkable. So, what happened?

As prosecutors in many big cities did away with or minimized cash bail and instituted other soft-on-crime policies, the Biden Administration concentrated on trying to infringe on the rights of lawful gun owners rather than doing anything that would actually make Americans safer. And American citizens of all political persuasions aren’t taking that well.

In the Gallup survey mentioned previously, three-quarters of Republicans thought the criminal justice system was not tough enough, 16% said it was about right and 7% believed it was too tough. Democrats were more divided in their views, with a 42% plurality saying it was not tough enough, 35% about right and 20% too tough.

Back in Portland, new District Attorney Vasquez’s victory came at a time when progressive DAs and candidates in liberal bastions throughout the country have faced setbacks.

“The voters have made it clear that they are ready to take our county in a new and safer direction,” Vasquez said in a social media post after the election. “I am committed to ending open air drug dealing and drug use while helping connect individuals to treatment, to rebuilding the broken relationships between the DA’s office and the community, and to ensuring that victims are the number one priority of my office.”

Those are all things that former DA Schmidt should have been doing all along.

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