Progressive Democrats, including prominent members of “The Squad,” fired back at former President Obama’s criticism of the “Defund the police” as a “snappy” slogan that alienated a large group of centrist voters.
Obama in an interview with Snapchat “Good Luck America” that aired Wednesday morning explained to host Peter Hamby how “snappy” slogans such as “defund the police” have jeopardized movements like Black Lives Matter goals of enacting meaningful police reform while causing political candidates to have “lost a big audience.”
“If you believe, as I do, that we should be able to reform the criminal justice system so that it’s not biased and treats everybody fairly, I guess you can use a snappy slogan, like ‘Defund the Police,’ but, you know, 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.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D- MN) clapped back at the former president remarks, falsely claiming we “lose people” not from the slogan, but from the “hands of police.”
We lose people in the hands of police. It’s not a slogan but a policy demand. And centering the demand for equitable investments and budgets for communities across the country gets us progress and safety. https://t.co/Vu6inw4ms7— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 2, 2020
Another Squad member, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) joined in attacking Obama for his remarks, arguing that she is “out of patience” with moderate Democrats slamming “the language of activists.”
The murders of generations of unarmed Black folks by police have been horrific. Lives are at stake daily so I’m out of patience with critiques of the language of activists.— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) December 2, 2020
Whatever a grieving family says is their truth.
And I’ll never stop fighting for their justice & healing.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) appeared to call the former president a hypocrite by attacking a movement for Black lives.
Rosa Parks was vilified & attacked for her civil disobedience. She was targeted. It’s hard seeing the same people who uplift her courage, attack the movement for Black lives that want us to prioritize health, funding of schools & ending poverty, rather than racist police systems.— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) December 2, 2020
Incoming Squad member, Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush bluntly argued that “Defund the Police” isn’t a slogan, but a “mandate” in order to keep “our people alive.”
With all due respect, Mr. President—let’s talk about losing people. We lost Michael Brown Jr. We lost Breonna Taylor. We’re losing our loved ones to police violence.— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) December 2, 2020
It’s not a slogan. It’s a mandate for keeping our people alive. Defund the police. https://t.co/Wsxp1Y1bBi
Congressman-elect Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) who defeated 16-term incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel for New York’s 16th Congressional District, also weighed in, claiming America is “comfort with Black deaths.”
Damn, Mr. President.— Jamaal Bowman (@JamaalBowmanNY) December 2, 2020
Didn’t you say “Trayvon could’ve been my son?”
In 2014, #BlackLivesMatter was too much.
In 2016, Kaepernick was too much.
Today, discussing police budgets is too much.
The problem is America’s comfort with Black death — not discomfort with slogans. https://t.co/DJUSZebgW5
Squad leader, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in series of tweets said that the “polite language” policy game doesn’t work, arguing the word “defund” is meant to make folks “uncomfortable” and helped fuel activists “discomfort with the status quo & advocate for concrete policy changes.”
What if activists aren’t PR firms for politicians & their demands are bc police budgets are exploding, community resources are shrinking to bankroll it, & ppl brought this up for ages but it wasn’t until they said “defund” that comfortable people started paying attn to brutality— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 2, 2020
The whole point of protesting is to make ppl uncomfortable.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 2, 2020
Activists take that discomfort w/ the status quo & advocate for concrete policy changes. Popular support often starts small & grows.
To folks who complain protest demands make others uncomfortable… that’s the point.
While Progressive Democrats and their followers spoke out via Twitter on the former president’s “snappy” remarks, the backlash didn’t stop there. Obama faced a lot of criticism from TV commentators who adore him.
“The View” on Wednesday discussed Obama’s remarks with co-host Sunny Hostin expressing disbelief that a “community organizer” is telling “protesters what language they should use.”
“When you think about ‘defund the police,’ that’s not a term that was crowdsourced or tested in focus groups. You know, that’s a term that was born, a rallying cry, out of this over-policing of Black and Brown communities,” Sunny said. “I don’t think you should allow people to co-opt the movement and tell protesters what language they should use … President Obama was a community organizer, and I really think that he, you know, knows better.”
Obama’s comments align with other top Democrats who considered the derogatory phrase that damaged the Democratic Party. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) criticized calls to “defund the police” as “sloganeering” during several Sunday media appearances a week after Election Day, saying the phrase hurt Democratic congressional candidates with “these headlines can kill a political effort.”
Despite President-elect Joe Biden being considered the winner of the 2020 presidential race, his party failed to give him a Democratic legislative majority that would help make his proposed liberal plans a reality. Democrats drastically failed to capture the Senate, winning only one seat in Arizona out of 10 that was polled in their favor to give them the majority. They also lost over a dozen Democratic-held House seats.
Moderate Democrats a day after Election Day slammed Democratic progressive members, saying their calls to “defund the police,” along with their radical left agenda and embracing socialism “f***ing torn apart” the Democrat party.
Calls to “defund the police” gained prominence this summer during nationwide protests after the killing of George Floyd. The phrase according to progressive Democrats means full defunding and abolition of police forces to reallocate its resources for social services. While nearly a majority of Americans agree that some changes are needed to make policing better, most Americans opposed the “defund the police” movement or “defunding police departments” 58 percent to 31 percent, on average of four polls conducted during the height of the protest.