May 19, 2021

The police union hates Larry Krasner, and that might have been enough to mobilize Philadelphia's progressive coalition into turning out for a traditionally low-turnout Democratic primary that gave the city's unconventional district attorney a wide margin of victory.

As you probably already know, in many large Democratic cities, the November general election is a mere formality. For all intents and purposes, Larry Krasner just won reelection, and it wasn't even close -- by almost 40,000 votes.

In my neighborhood, where a lot of cops live, the telephone poles have been plastered with "F*ck Krasner" posters for over a year, the "U" replaced with a policeman's badge. Just so you get some idea. (They especially didn't like that Krasner disclosed the previous DA kept a list of cops whose testimony was so unreliable, it required approval from the top to use them in a case.)

The Guardian Civic League, the organization of black officers, did endorse the former defense attorney. So not all cops hate Krasner.

The fact that George Soros helped fund his first campaign as part of a wider effort to support progressive prosecutors helped feed the right-wing narrative here. Krasner did what he promised: Stopped prosecuting low-level crimes like drug possession and prostitution, abolished cash bail in all but the most serious cases, and he lowered the number of occupants in the city’s jail by more than 30 percent.

This certainly resonated with the voters here. Philadelphia's crime problem is tied to having the largest percentage of "deep poverty" of any major city, and it was not uncommon for someone to spend months in jail on a drunk and disorderly charge because he or she couldn't afford a $100 bail.

The rest? If you follow national politics, you already know the kinds of attacks Krasner faced. The manipulated statistics, the distorted narratives.

Now that he has a mandate for a second term, you can be sure that politicians around the country are taking a closer look. Is this the future? At least here, voters clearly want criminal justice reform and they like what they've seen.

(You can watch "Philly D.A." on Netflix.)

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