During a single four-year term ending in December 1941, Thomas Dewey, the last Republican elected district attorney in Democratic-dystopian Manhattan, successfully prosecuted mobsters, Wall Street fraudsters, corrupt Tammany Hall Democrats, and American Nazis.
Dewey (1902-1971) was then elected governor of New York in November 1942, and was reelected in 1946 and 1950. Additionally, he was the unsuccessful Republican presidential candidate in 1944 and 1948, losing to incumbents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman.
An iconic photograph of American presidential history shows a beaming President Truman, after winning the closely-contested 1948 election, holding up the front-page headline of an early edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune, proclaiming "Dewey Defeats Truman."
Gov. Dewey's running mate in the 1948 election was California Gov. Earl Warren, the future chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
In stark contrast to Dewey's monumental achievements in his first 50 years, which were capped off in 1952 by spearheading Gen. Dwight Eisenhower's victories in the Republican presidential primaries and general election, Alvin Bragg, the current embattled, 49-year-old Manhattan district attorney, has had a threadbare, controversial career.
After graduating from Harvard Law School in the late 1990s and clerking for a Manhattan federal judge, Bragg was hired in 2003 by Democrat Eliot Spitzer, the New York State attorney general between 1999 and 2006.
While Spitzer was elected governor in November 2006, he resigned in March 2008 for having associations with high-priced sex workers.
Between 2013 and 2017, Bragg was a top assistant to another Democratic New York State attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, who was forced to resign in May 2018, due to reportedly questionable behavior.
While District Attorney Bragg tendentiously claims on his campaign website that he was "overwhelmingly elected Manhattan District Attorney," he actually received an anemic 86,000, or 34%, of the 251,000 votes cast in the June 2021 Democratic primary.
However, there were 872,000 registered Democratic voters in Manhattan (or New York County) in 2021, and Bragg edged out Tali Farhadian Weinstein, who received 77,000 votes, or 31%.
In the November 2021 general election, Bragg notched only 212,000 votes to 41,000 for Republican candidate Thomas Kenniff, though Manhattan had 1,262,000 registered voters.
During a 15-month, catastrophic tenure, District Attorney Bragg has been lambasted, both locally and nationally, for his policy of downgrading many serious felonies to misdemeanors, while crime has soared in Manhattan.
By contrast, he is currently conducting a partisan witch hunt to indict former President Donald Trump for a phantom felony, involving an alleged hush payment made during the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign, to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
Alan Dershowitz, in a March 23 interview with Fox TV, denounced District Attorney Bragg for "disgracing that office by bringing this case," a position that was "held by Bob Morgenthau, Frank Hogan, some of the great prosecutors in history."
While the distinguished Harvard Law School professor is correct about Bragg's egregiously dishonoring a nationally prominent prosecutor's office, neither Democrat Hogan, who was Manhattan DA between 1942 and mid-1973, nor Democrat Morgenthau, who occupied this office between 1975 and 2009, was a historically "great" prosecutor.
Unlike Thomas Dewey, who quickly advanced from Manhattan district attorney to New York governor, Hogan lost in 1958 to Republican Kenneth Keating, 51% to 48%, for a U.S. Senate seat from New York.
Moreover, during Hogan's 31-year tenure, homicides in New York City exploded from approximately 300 in 1950, to more than 1,700 in 1972.
During Morgenthau's 35-year tenure, homicides soared even higher, to 2,200 in 1992.
Only after the election in November 1993 of another great Republican, Rudy Giuliani, as mayor, did homicides begin their historic plunge, to roughly 600 in 2001, his last year in Gracie Mansion.
Additionally, Giuliani ably served as President Ronald Reagan's U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York (SDNY), headquartered in Manhattan, between 1983 and 1989.
Giuliani convicted Wall Street fraudsters, mobsters, and crooked Democratic politicians, including Stanley Friedman, chairman of the Bronx Democratic Party, and Bronx Borough President Stanley Simon.
Unlike Dewey, Morgenthau was trounced in the November 1962 gubernatorial race by incumbent Republican Nelson Rockefeller, 53% to 44%.
He had been appointed the U.S. Attorney for the SDNY in 1961 by President John Kennedy, but resigned in September 1962 to run for governor. But in December 1962, President Kennedy re-appointed Morgenthau to this highly prestigious position, which he then held until January 1970.
Between 2010 and 2021, a third consecutive Democrat mediocrity and a Morgenthau protege, Cyrus Vance Jr., served as Manhattan district attorney.
Morgenthau's only powerful, but partisan, legacy is the many prominent Democrats who worked for him in state and federal prosecutorial positions. They include Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor; former Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel; and disgraced former New York governor and attorney general Andrew Cuomo and Spitzer.
Undoubtedly, Lord Acton's famous dictum — "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely" — applies to the Democrats' abominable monopoly of the Manhattan district attorney's office for the last 81 years.
Mark Schulte is a retired New York City schoolteacher and mathematician who has written extensively about science and the history of science. Read Mark Schulte's Reports — More Here.
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