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Portland Finally Wakes Up To The Damage Done By Its Left-Wing DA

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In a dramatic and long-overdue turn of events, Portland voters have thrown out incumbent District Attorney Mike Schmidt, a poster child for the disastrous and dangerous progressive prosecutor movement.

In his place, they have elected Nathan Vasquez, who promises to restore sanity and safety to a city ravaged by leniency and lawlessness. Portland voters have spoken with a clarion call for law and order and a fiery rejection of the radical Left’s failed experiment.

Mike Schmidt’s tenure has been nothing short of a catastrophe. Elected with a whopping 77% of the vote amid the chaos of the 2020 riots, Schmidt quickly made his priorities clear: protect the offenders and neglect the victims. In his first week, he announced he would only prosecute protesters involved in property damage, theft, or violence. The result? An astonishing 895 protest-related cases were rejected between June 2020 and June 2022, representing 82% of all protest arrests.

Schmidt’s policies emboldened violent groups like Antifa, leading to the creation of an anarchic autonomous zone. What happened next was all too predictable. Portland spiraled into chaos as crime soared, police morale plummeted, and businesses and residents suffered.

Portland was not alone. The autonomous zone in Portland, named TAZ by its lawless squatters, was mirrored in Seattle by the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), abandoned by local police. So began the run of permissible criminal activity in major American cities.

As for Portland, their residents clearly had enough. Vasquez’s victory, fueled by over $1 million in support from law enforcement and business leaders, marks a decisive pivot back to common sense. This is not just a local shift; it’s a seismic event with national implications. Portland has set the stage, signaling that even the bluest of cities are ready to reject the chaos of progressive policies in favor of safety and order.

Vasquez’s election comes at a time when the American public is witnessing an unprecedented abuse of both local and federal prosecutorial power. President Biden’s Department of Justice, with Merrick Garland at the helm, has been weaponized against political opponents, mainly targeting former President Donald Trump. This is more than just political maneuvering; it’s a blatant assault on our democratic principles. Local DAs have been key players in this scheme, allowing their jurisdictions to become havens of lawlessness while focusing their time and tax-payer resources on politically motivated prosecutions.

Portland’s rejection of Schmidt in favor of Vasquez could signal the start of a massive change. It demonstrates that citizens, even in deep-blue strongholds, are fed up with rampant crime and are demanding a return to law and order. This sentiment will likely spread, influencing voters in crucial swing states where safety and security are paramount.

The America First Policy Institute’s new book on progressive prosecutors lays bare the devastating impact of these policies. Cities like Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York City and Philadelphia have been turned into crime-ridden wastelands under the watch of rogue DAs. These prosecutors, including Fani Willis, George Gascón, Alvin Bragg, and Larry Krasner, have prioritized a dangerous social-justice agenda over public safety, leading to skyrocketing crime rates and a complete breakdown of trust in the justice system.

In Atlanta, DA Fani Willis has misused the RICO statute against President Trump and ignored a surge in homicides and thefts.

Manhattan’s Alvin Bragg has refused to prosecute a range of crimes, resulting in a 44% spike in crime in his first quarter. Los Angeles’ George Gascón has overseen a dramatic rise in homicides and faced multiple recall attempts. Philadelphia’s Larry Krasner has let the city descend into chaos, with gun violence and homicides rampant under his watch. Hennepin County’s Mary Moriarty has been so lenient that even progressive Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison had to intervene.

What began as a movement centered around “defunding the police” turned into a nightmare for the American people. The Left plotted an agenda that shunned the notion of law and order in favor of one that rolls out the red carpet for the nation’s criminals and throws the cuffs on their political opponents instead. But the tide is turning.

Portland’s bold decision to oust Schmidt is a decisive repudiation of these failed policies. Our hope is that this election is not an outlier but the beginning of the end for the Left’s soft-on-crime experiment. It should serve as a message to the rest of America: reject the progressive prosecutors who coddle criminals and endanger communities. Demand leaders who will restore law, order and justice. The safety of our families and the future of our cities and our nation depend on it.

Ashley Hayek is Executive Director of America First Works, former 2020 Trump Campaign Coaltions Director, and author of Beat the Elites.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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