The progressive movement is not always the best at celebrating our wins, or repeating winning tactics. Compared to the Far Right, who can’t seem to get enough of hammering home the same topics over and over ad nauseum, we sometimes react when we should reiterate.
A good example is the volume of progressive district attorneys who were elected in the midterms. Metro areas and rural communities in places like Iowa, elected progressive district attorneys who ran on platforms of public safety reform, including Mary Moriarty in Minneapolis, Ryan Mears in Indianapolis, and Kimberly Graham in Polk County, Iowa. We need to allow ourselves to applaud these victories.
So, let’s look at why it’s important to elect progressive DAs, how they contribute to public safety reform, and how we can learn to talk about these subjects in a positive light, instead of letting the Far Right dominate the headlines.
The Far Right Loves to Talk About Crime, and So Should We
“The left is soft on crime!” I’m sure you’re as sick of that line as I am. The Far Right uses it relentlessly because they know it riles up their base. Meanwhile, they provide no real solutions to the issues.
When we take greater control of the narrative by acknowledging progressive DAs and the work they’re doing to address public safety issues in their districts, we can dismantle the Far Right’s talking points and push the discussion toward fact-based solutions.
Progressive DAs Actually Have Solutions to Reduce Crime and Provide Public Safety
Proven fixes to public safety have been well-documented. Yet, if someone only listened to the Far Right, they’d never know that, because “tough on crime” talking points aren’t about solutions – they’re about fearmongering.
Across the country, progressive DAs ran on platforms promoting alternatives to incarceration, ending prosecutions for low-level offenses like cannabis possession, and reforming cash bail. These ideas will profoundly improve public safety and prove progressives are not, in fact, soft on crime; we just prefer to do things that actually work.
Progressive DAs Can Help End Rampant Legal System Abuses
On the flip side of progressive DAs implementing effective policies, they can also help put an end to some of the abuses which are far too common in the legal system. DAs have immense power over defendants, often pressuring them to take deals not in their best interest or pushing for stiff sentences on low-level, non-violent crimes just to score political points and prove they’re tougher-than-thou on crime.
Electing more progressive DAs will help change some of the worst aspects of the system, and celebrating the progressives we’ve already elected will encourage more people to adopt policies which are popular with their constituents, proven to benefit their communities, and less likely to result in abuses of power.
Progressive DAs Are One Part of a Broader Commitment to Public Safety Reform
As progressives, we have to start thinking holistically about our records and talking points around public safety reform because we’ve been pounded on the topic by the Far Right. Along with urging legislatures at every level to pass laws that benefit real people and encouraging executive branches to reconsider how they implement laws, we must celebrate progressive DAs to overcome the Far Right’s disinformation about public safety.
Despite the tsunami of fear tactics being thrown around in this election, we’re still on a trajectory toward more positive public safety reform. The volume of progressive DAs elected this year is proof. So let’s talk about it! Let’s celebrate it! Let’s show the progressive community that if you take a stand in a bold, progressive way, we will be there to support you.