Cancel culture—the practice of silencing, demonizing, and punishing one’s ideological opponents—is nothing new in New York politics. Strangely enough, however, the latest victim of left-wing cancel culture in Albany is a left-leaning Democrat. That Democrat’s sin against politically correct orthodoxy? Daring to speak out against New York’s problematic bail reform laws.
Albany County District Attorney David Soares was first elected to his current post in 2004. Soares won the 2004 election after defeating incumbent Paul Clyne in a Democratic primary; Soares challenged Clyne with the support of the left-wing Working Families Party. Since then, Soares has been re-elected four times. In 2011, Soares made headlines by declining to prosecute nonviolent protesters who were arrested for trespassing in connection with the Occupy Albany protests.
At first blush, District Attorney Soares’s profile sounds like the profile of a card-carrying leftist. After New York passed bail reform legislation in 2019, and after Soares repeatedly criticized that legislation, things changed.
District Attorney Soares was scheduled to testify about the bail reform legislation at a January 30, 2023 public hearing. However, according to Soares, The District Attorneys Association of the State of New York (DAASNY) was informed by Senate staff at 10:00 pm on January 29 that Soares had been disinvited. State of Politics reported that Washington County District Attorney Anthony Jordan, the president of DAASNY, confirmed Soares’s account of the situation. At the hearing, Jordan read portions of Soares’s prepared testimony into the record; the testimony was later published in the New York Post. In that prepared testimony, Soares said that New York’s bail reform laws, “‘although they were well intentioned and brought about important changes, have been extremely detrimental to public safety.’” He added, “‘[These] reforms have had their most devastating impact on black and brown communities. If you take an honest look at the data — the increases in crime, the victims of those crimes and the location of the most violent crimes — the connection is quite clear.'”
Regarding the disinvitation of District Attorney Soares, the Post editorial board had this to say:
“It’s beyond obvious that the lefties who call the shots didn’t want a black progressive detailing to their faces how recent criminal-justice reforms ‘have been extremely detrimental to public safety,” with “their most devastating impact on black and brown communities.'”
“After all, after the (white) head of the state DAs Association read the same text, progressives simply denounced it as ‘offensive,’ ‘pejorative’ and ‘condescending’ (Sen. Jamaal Bailey, D-Bx) and ‘political,’ ‘nonfactual’ and not ‘appropriate’ (Sen. Zellnor Myrie, D-B’klyn).”
“All lies: Soares’ words couldn’t have been more fact-based. What made them ‘offensive’ was simply that the left doesn’t want to admit the harm it has inflicted.”
Here’s a question for the Democratic leadership in the New York State Legislature: If your bail reform legislation was really a good idea, why can’t it stand up to a bit of criticism?