See below for audio from this morning’s Trumpster right-wing radio (“The John Fredericks Show”) interview with Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney independent candidate Jonathan Fahey, who is running against Democratic nominee Steve Descano. I’ve been very curious to see if and when Fahey would actually start running a campaign, as he got started VERY late (see here for more on that) and, to date, only has 81 Twitter followers (1/10th the number of Descano on Twitter) and apparently no Facebook page at all (here’s Descano’s). Having said that, weird things can happen in a low-turnout, off/odd-year election, even in blue Fairfax County, which is why we shouldn’t just write off Fahey’s chances in this race and instead should take this race seriously.
So, what does Fahey stand for? Based on his website, it seems fairly standard for a prosecutor – nothing out of the ordinary, really (e.g., addressing the opioid crisis, cracking down on gang violence, providing alternatives to incarceration, being a “voice for victims”). Which makes it even more jarring to listen to the interview he did on Trumpster radio this morning, where his campaign sounds much more like it’s about bashing George Soros. Here’s Fahey, speaking on the show this morning:
“Here we have somebody like George Soros coming in, doesn’t live in Fairfax to my knowledge, doesn’t really have any ties to Fairfax, certainly doesn’t have any interest in the long-term success or safety of our residents, to come in and support a candidate that is truly lacking in all the relevant experience in every sense of the word…for Democrats as well, most of them don’t see of these criminal justice issues the same way George Soros does, and I think a lot of them are going to be coming to coming to our side on this.”
Fahey then appears to agree with (he certainly doesn’t *disagree* with) the right-wing radio host (Donald Trump’s 2016 Virginia Chair, John Fredericks) that Soros has:
“…a crazed left-wing crackpot agenda and…they’re just gonna buy this…it’s almost like criminal behavior…Basically they’re selling out to dark money, George Soros, Michael Bills and these other people…it’s insane.”
Alrighty then! Because the goal of reforming our criminal justice system in smart, effective ways is “crackpot,” “crazed,” etc. Gotcha.
Fahey then serves up what can certainly be interpreted as a dog whistle of sorts:
“Do we want to go down the road of Philadelphia? Is that where we want to go in Fairfax County? Because I think people in Fairfax County value our public safety.”
The question is, why did Fahey pick the example of Philadelphia, a city that just so happens to be 41% black, 14% Latinx, 7% Asian-American, etc? Yes, Philadelphia has a fairly high crime rate, but that’s been the case for many years, well before George Soros and the criminal justice reform movement really got revved up. In fact, according to this report, Philadelphia’s violent crime rate fell sharply, from 1,604.5 per 100,000 in 1998 to 988.9 per 100,000 in 2016, putting the “city of brotherly love” at a lower violent crime rate than Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Washington DC, Kansas City, Albuquerque, etc, etc. – cities where they don’t have “left-wing” District Attorneys. Also, note that Philadelphia’s violent crime rate – along with the national violent crime rate – was very high during the “mass incarceration,” “tough-on-crime” era, and that the crime rate has come down for reasons mostly unrelated to those policies.
By the way, we learn on the show that, apparently, Fahey “will be endorsed by the Fairfax Republican Party at the September meeting.” So let’s put the fiction aside that Fahey’s truly “independent.”
Finally, I find it highly ironic to hear Trump’s 2016 Virginia co-chair and “Independent” Jon Fahey rant about “outside money” and George Soros, even as today’s Republican Party is nothing if not the party of massive dark money (e.g., see here) and “outside money” of all kinds, whether from the Koch brothers’ network, the NRA, the fossil fuel industry, Linda McMahon of World Wrestling Entertainment, wealthy right-wingnut Robert Mercer, etc, etc. So sure, let’s get all this dark money and “outside money” out of politics, but right now it’s legal, in significant part because Donald Trump and the Trump GOP *like it that way*. As always with today’s Republican Party, it’s brazen hypocrisy and also dishonesty – kind of like their fearless leader, the Orange Buffoon currently besmirching the White House.
P.S. The claim that “Democrats don’t see criminal justice issues the same way George Soros does” is belied by polling, which shows strong – even overwhelming – support for criminal justice reform in this country. So what does Fahey disagree with? Cash bail reform? Scaling back/ditching the failed “war on drugs?” other?