Defund The Police Is “A Snappy Phrase”
Democrats are almost entirely in charge of America’s cities, with tense relationships between black communities and heavily white police forces. Those places have a majority of Democrats in their city councils. Their mayors are mostly Democrats, and in many cases, the governors are Democrats. It’s interesting to see some non-conservative media institutions asking uncomfortable questions; why are Democrats, who insist they’ve always opposed racism, in charge of cities where African Americans perceive police forces as irredeemably racist?
During the Trump years, Democrats thought demonizing the police was a winning political strategy. Joe Biden didn’t embrace “defund the police” when he was a candidate for president. He tried to walk a tightrope during his campaign and offered the most anodyne and bland assessment of the issue: “Most cops are good, but the fact is, the bad ones need to be identified and prosecuted.” Shortly after his comment, there were think pieces written by progressives who strongly disagreed with the assertion that most cops were good.
In 2020, a few cities tried to follow through with proposals to abolish or defund the police. People with any functioning neurons quickly realized the idea was unrealistic and unworkable. While some funds were shifted here and there in some jurisdictions, the reality of rising crime rates was a good enough reason for the lack of follow-through.
The Minneapolis City Council voted for dismantling the police force last June, but walked all of it back and quietly dropped the idea. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called the plan “irresponsible and untenable” amid a year of rising violent crime and a shrinking police force. The mayor of Philadelphia “ proposed funneling additional money for police-related reforms and programs through the Managing Director’s Office. In Oakland, they restored police funding and restored positions that were eliminated.
Defunding the police is deeply unpopular, as evidenced by a recent USA Today survey. They discovered “ only 18% of respondents supported the movement known as ‘defund the police,’ and 58% said they opposed it.”
Too many vocal supporters of abolishing or defunding the police are clueless about the reality of what their slogan means. They are often deluded about public opinion and are convinced that their ideas are much more popular and mainstream than they are. When police forces can’t control a situation, like on January 6th during the Capitol Hill riot, it’s a vivid reminder of the necessity of law enforcement.
Former President Obama warned that future democratic candidates could risk losing support from some voters by using “snappy” slogans like Defund The Police.”You lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you’re actually going to get the changes you want done,” Obama said in an interview on “ Good Luck America.” He added, “The key is deciding, do you want actually to get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with?”
In response to Barack Obama’s comment, Cori Bush tweeted:
More young and inexperienced activists legislators chimed in.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) tweeted:
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) also took to Twitter to say
Abolition of the police and incarceration is precisely what many progressive activists demanded in 2020. Representative Ilhan Omar explicitly wanted it, and it’s what the autonomous zone in Seattle enforced. Black Lives Matter’s DC branch expressly endorsed it, Cori Bush supported it, and the phrase was painted on the streets of many cities in letters large enough to be read from an airplane.
The views of Black Lives Matter protesters, radical progressives, and a few congresspeople may not be representative of the Black community at large, especially when it comes to abolishing the police. It appears to be in direct opposition to reality. An Aug. 5 Gallup release revealed, “When asked whether they want the police to spend more time, the same amount of time or less time than they currently do in their area, most Black Americans — 61 percent — want the police presence to remain the same.” Only 19 percent of Blacks said they wanted the police to spend less time, while the other 20 percent wanted an increased presence in their neighborhood.
Most Black Americans aren’t interested in kicking law enforcement out of their communities. They certainly don’t want to abolish police departments. Moreover, a previous Gallup poll found widespread support among all Americans for reforming police departments. Some of the most popular measures included: punishing “officer abuses” and eradicating cops “with multiple incidents of abuse of power.”
Is Barack Obama, one of the more liberal presidents we’ve elected to the presidency, too conservative and no longer acceptable to the Democratic party’s popular wing? This might cause a problem for President Joe Biden, especially if he tries to do anything with criminal justice reform.
The people who need the police do not want to defund, nor abolish the police. Mr. Obama highlighted a simple fact; the slogan “defund the police” may have cost certain candidates seats in the House of Representatives and Senate during the last election. He said, “You lost a big audience the minute you say it.” ‘Defund The Police’ may be one of the most easily exploitable slogans any party has ever tried to make mainstream.
The evidence supports Obama. Many congressional Democrats say the phrase cost them votes. There was incontrovertible evidence that this was damaging to down-ballot prospects. We know from the 2019 Democratic party primary season that the notion of courting the far left was a losing strategy. The one guy who didn’t pander to the fringes waltzed into the White House. Now he’s the President.
Who will have sway over the conversation moving forward?
Clayton Craddock is an independent thinker, father of two beautiful children in New York City. He is the drummer of the hit broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Howard University’s School of Business and is a 28 year veteran of the fast-paced New York City music scene. He has played drums in several hit broadway and off-broadway musicals, including “Tick, tick…BOOM!, Altar Boyz, Memphis The Musical, and Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar and Grill. Also, Clayton has worked on: Footloose, Motown, The Color Purple, Rent, Little Shop of Horrors, Spongebob Squarepants, The Musical, Evita, Cats, and Avenue Q.
Originally published at https://claytoncraddock.substack.com.