Left-wing billionaire George Soros may have the last laugh in Los Angeles: after his handpicked district attorney, George Gascón, survived a recall effort Monday — thanks to the invalidation of nearly 200,000 signatures — he can entrench his “reform” policies.
The Gascón recall effort turned in an astonishing number of signatures in July: at 715,833, the campaign collected far more than the 566,857 needed, 10% of registered voters. The petition drive was the largest such effort in the history of the county.
After the recall of left-wing San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin in June, proponents of the Gascón recall believed they had the political momentum at their back. They hoped to repeat in L.A. what citizens had achieved in San Francisco.
But Los Angeles County officials invalidated nearly 200,000 signatures, for reasons such as a signature mismatch or a wrong address. After rejecting less than 1% of mail-in ballots in 2020, the country rejected nearly 30% of the recall signatures.
Controversially, county officials refused to allow observers to watch the verification of signatures: they argued that a recall petition drive was not an “election” and therefore did not have to include representatives of both sides to watch the process.
Many residents blame Gascón for a violent crime wave that continues to plague the city. But Soros — who donated millions of dollars to elect Gascón in 2020 — is proud of his achievement in pushing Gascón and other radical prosecutors into office.
In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, Soros claimed that the criminal justice system is “rife with injustices that make us all less safe,” and cited racial disparities in incarceration rates. He has backed some 75 “progressive” prosecutors nationwide.
Soros’s support was key to obtaining the support of leading Democrats for Gascón’s election in 2020 over incumbent Jackie Lacey, the first black woman in the post. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti actually switched his endorsement from Lacey to Gascón.
The only public official who opposes Soros’s “reform” agenda is L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. He is a Democrat, but is hated by the local media and the county Board of Supervisors, which wants the power to remove him from office at will.
In the upcoming mayoral election for the City of Los Angeles, the top vote recipient, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), supported Gascón in 2020 and has not withdrawn her support, even in the face of widespread public opposition to his radical policies.
Her opponent endorsed the recall campaign, but once supported Gascón and raised money for him, before changing his mind. The failed recall effort could mean lower voter turnout in November, and less support for alternatives to the status quo.
With Villanueva facing a tough re-election fight, and Gascón secure in office, a victory by Bass would secure the “reform” policies that Soros has pushed, and that have made life in Los Angeles much more frightening for many of its residents.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.