Elections to the San Francisco Board of Education are often not the nation’s pushovers. The city is a proud symbol of liberalism, not a revolving district and school board elections – as Thomas Fuller, The Times’ San Francisco bureau chief, notes – “in decades have been dim displays for the more famous political contests.”
But this week’s recall election overthrew three board members It’s not just about local politics. It also reflects a trend: Many Americans, even in liberal places, seem frustrated by what they see as deviating from parts of the Democratic Party and its allies. this party. This frustration perpetuates a number of problems, including education, crime and Covid-19.
Consider the election results from last year, all in politically blue places:
In Minneapolis, voters rejected a ballot measure to replace the city’s Police Department with an agency that would have been less focused on law enforcement.
In Seattle, voters gourd Ann Davison — an attorney who recently left the Democratic Party because she thinks it’s gone “too far” — as the city’s top prosecutor. Davison hit a candidate who wanted to kill the police.
In New York, voters were elected mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat who dabbled in defiance of liberal fundamentalism. As a candidate, Adams promised to crack down on crime. Since taking office, he has signaled his frustration with Covid restrictions.
In the Democratic-leaning suburbs of both New Jersey and Virginia, the Republican candidates for governor did surprisingly well. Several post-election analyzes — including one by aides to Phil Murphy, the Democratic governor of New Jersey who narrowly survived — concluded that angry about Covid policies play a central role.
Three reasons to change
The San Francisco School Board participates in this list. There, three separate issues fueled the campaign.
First, the school board tried to rename 44 schools, so that they would no longer honor anyone considered a reactionary. Among the obvious reactionaries were Paul Revere, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Senator Dianne Feinstein and environmentalist John Muir.
Second, the board tried to eliminate an admissions system, based on grades and test scores, for Lowell High School, which Mark Barabak of The Los Angeles Times call “One of the city’s most sacred institutions.” A lottery will replace it.
Third, the board has closed schools for months during the pandemic and appeared less worried about the damage. One of the board members has since been called back to dismiss the inefficiencies of remote classes, speech that children “just have different learning experiences”.
To many parents, board members seem too focused on building symbols of virtue while ignoring the needs of the family. “We didn’t get the basics right,” said Siva Raj, a father who helped organize the recall effort.
Another recall organizer, Autumn Looijen, used an analogy to explain anger. She suggests that Covid is like an earthquake forcing people to move into tents on the sidewalk. “Eventually, your elected leaders show up and you’re like, ‘Thank God, here’s some help,'” Looijen to Politico. “And they said, ‘We’re here to help. We will change the street signs for you. ‘”
What stands out in this situation is that the Republican Party is also out of touch with public opinion on many of the same issues. Republicans defended the Confederate flag, nominated candidates who made racist remarks and made an exaggerated campaign against critical race theory. Republicans have opposed popular measures to improve police accountability and gun regulations. Republicans have made false claims about Covid vaccines and claimed that masks are a tool of government oppression.
Instead of reacting to positions that are both more liberal and more popular, some Democrats and progressive activists have responded by overestimating public opinion in the other direction.
They were opposed to the resumption of normal school activities. They said that they would have no more honor famous former presidents, like Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt. They have called for the destruction of the police.
They have also called for the abolition of immigration law enforcement; eliminated private health insurance, maintained the current system of affirmative action, and banned virtually all abortion restrictions.
On some of these issues, public opinion is divided along racial lines, with Democrats taking positions favored by black voters and Republicans matching white voters. Many Democrats believe it is immoral to do otherwise, whatever the political costs.
On other issues, however, racial dynamics are more mixed. Many Asian and Latino voters object to the current version of affirmative action, which helps explain why the changes to Lowell High School resonated in San Francisco. Many Black and Latino voters support Democratic politicians’ rights to abortion and crime.
Class seems to be at least as great a dividing line as race. College-educated Democrats – those who dominate the ranks of politicians, campaign staff and activist organizations – tend to the left of the Democrats of the working class. By catering to its well-off base, the party creates electoral problems for itself, because there are more working-class Americans than college graduates.
You can see this line in the New York mayoral race. Adams won the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island with a multiracial alliance, while losing affluent white neighborhoods. (Adams’ unorthodox politics is popular among black Americans, political scientist Christina Greer Written.)
You can also see the demarcation line in San Francisco, where the city’s mayor, London Breed, who is black, has endorsed the recall. In an interview with Yahoo News this week, Breed speak“It’s heartbreaking that kids in our public school system still have to wear masks.”
Her comments are a reminder that many elected Democrats, including President Biden, tend to disagree with the party’s left on some of these issues and are more in tune with the wider public. essay. But anyway, that wing affects the image of voters to the party. In the most recent national elections, in 2020, Democrats performed worse than they expected, despite their highest turnout in decades.
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ARTS AND IDEAS
The life of street children
A street child in Lusaka, Zambia, finds another boy dead in a mountain of trash. Who is he, and who killed him? That is the mystery at the heart of “Walking the Bowl,” a new non-fiction book by Chris Lockhart and Daniel Mulilo Chama.
Lockhart, an American anthropologist, and Chama, a Zambian outreach worker, teamed up with a group of former street youths who helped them gather information. The story is about a 17-year-old boy hustle; a frail eight-year-old alone in the city; 16-year-old prostitute plans to run away; and Lusabilo, an observant 11-year-old boy who picks up trash. Their lives revolve around each other; It turns out that each of them played an important role in the boy’s death.
“Everyday life, meticulously documented, rarely has the characteristics of a novel,” writes Ellen Barry, The Times mental health reporter who was previously an international correspondent. in one review, “a clear arc of ascending action, a few lively characters, an ending that closes like a purse. “Walking the Bowl,” notably, has all of that. “
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/17/briefing/san-francisco-losing-liberal.html San Francisco ousters – The New York Times