In most races, endorsements can really bring in large swathes of votes. Endorsements by unions, religious, and other interest groups tend to be large enough to shift the balance in even larger races, while individual endorsements, such as those by politicians, news outlets, or celebrities, can help influence people too. At the very least, endorsements can be one of multiple factors for people deciding how to vote and can tell people a bit about a candidates politics on the surface.
A lot of endorsements usually means a good deal of support, and that’s what makes the upcoming Recall election of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin so unusual. Boudin has endorsements out the wazoo. At least seven current Supervisors in the city are endorsing him, not to mention many former Supervisors.
Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco)? Endorses a no on the recall.
The San Francisco Democratic Party? Endorses.
The San Francisco Chronicle? For Boudin.
And that’s just me cherry-picking. There are so many more lawmakers, former lawmakers, groups, celebrities, and others behind him too.
Many, like Mayor London Breed, remain undecided, leaving some but not too many left to be in favor of the recall.
But here’s the thing – the endorsements are barely doing anything. The last major poll to come out, the March EMC Research Poll, had 68% of San Franciscans in favor of Boudin being recalled, with no major indications that the results have changed significantly since. Even with, say, a generous 10% shift in a month which, again, has not seen any indication that is the case, recall supporters still have a commanding lead.
Reasons noted for the recall last year, include a skyrocketing crime rate, large store chains fleeing the city, public outcry over policies that let most criminals avoid jail time, and collapsing support from both the police and members of his department alike, are still extremely relevant in San Francisco today. A successful recall of three San Francisco School Board members happened earlier this year with each member being ousted with at least 70% of their respective voters favoring a recall.
A different recall election
With Boudin’s policies still not improving the city, recent events such as the Sacramento Shooting potentially hurting him even more, and a populace simply sick of crime and declination, the high number of endorsements are simply not helping this time around. The San Francisco Chronicle said in their endorsement that a recall should only be used as a last ditch tool for emergencies and not buyers remorse. For many in the city, the huge increase of crime and failing policies have been an emergency.
“Unlike previous races, San Franciscans are now voting more on what they’ve been personally seeing rather than what city officials have been saying or who has been backing the candidates this time around,” explained Frank Ma, a former law enforcement official who now works as a security advisor for businesses in San Francisco and cities in the Peninsula, to the Globe on Wednesday. “You can have all the stats saying that the crime rate isn’t as bad as you think or that Boudin’s policies need time. Well tell that to the residents who see junkies shooting up in doorways out in the open or who are awaken at 3 A.M. by a car alarm going off because it was smashed open. Tell them that the streets are safe when a bunch of stores get overrun with thieves. An endorsement from Danny Glover isn’t going to make things a whole lot better now, are they?”
“People like Breed, at least they’re doing something, even if it is more for show, like the whole Tenderloin crackdown thing. She and the Supervisors are another discussion for another time. Boudin though, going back to your point of endorsements, no one cares about them now. Not when it is this bad. Customers tell me they want him gone because they see crimes happen in front of them and either nothing happening or the person who did the crime be back out within days. People are fighting for justice. We don’t know what Boudin is fighting for, but it’s not that.”
“I was recently on a boat to Alcatraz, taking my grandkids out during spring break. On the way over the tour guide talked about how it used to be a prison and someone said ‘Why can’t we reopen it for all the bad guys in San Francisco now?’ Out-of-towners all laughed.”
“The residents on the boat didn’t.”
Boudin has a tough month and a half until the June primary, and so far, all of those traditional ways to garner support are just not cutting it.