There's a national debate going on about criminal justice—it's hard to argue with that. But although the tragic incidents that have spurred that national debate are often grouped together, their consequences are playing out very differently on the ground.
Take Baltimore and Staten Island. In Charm City, State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby became an instant hero in West Baltimore when she charged six officers with crimes including murder in the death of Freddie Gray.
Meanwhile, on Staten Island, Daniel Donovan is celebrating his election to Congress. Donovan won a special election Tuesday to replace Michael Grimm, the representative who resigned after pleading guilty to federal tax fraud. His current gig: Staten Island district attorney. He oversaw the investigation into the death of Eric Garner and failed to indict officers in that case. Garner's choking death—as he gasped, "I can't breathe!"—was caught on video and helped galvanize anger about police brutality already inspired by Michael Browns's death. But the Garner case was no obstacle to Donovan romping to a 21-point victory Tuesday.
Some of that is simply a matter of Staten Island's politics. In contrast to the other four boroughs of New York City, it's a staunchly conservative outpost. Grimm was a Republican, and as the Republican nominee, Donovan was a shoo-in from the start. (National Democrats had basically already conceded defeat a month ago.) Donovan pursued a fairly standard GOP platform, bashing President Obama and, to a lesser extent, Mayor Bill de Blasio. He also vowed to "untax" constituents, whatever that means. Even the generally progressive New York Daily News endorsed him, calling challenger Vinny Gentile "not the sharpest knife in the Democratic drawer."