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President Barack Obama is the latest establishment Democrat warning that screaming "Defund the Police" is not necessarily a viable path to bring about actual police reforms, let alone win elections.
In an interview on the Snapchat show Good Luck America, Obama compared the slogan to a marketing tool, not a realistic effort to bring about change. Quotes via Politico:
"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.
"The key is deciding, do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with?" he added. "And if you want to get something done in a democracy, in a country as big and diverse as ours, then you've got to be able to meet people where they are. And play a game of addition and not subtraction."
There were some modest successes in police reform over the summer, but they almost feel like they've happened despite the "defund the police" movement, and because they had the support of civil libertarians of all political persuasions. We've seen laws passed to ban "no-knock raids" in the wake of Breonna Taylor's shooting death by police in Louisville, Kentucky; we've seen new laws banning types of chokeholds, partly in response to anger over the death of George Floyd under the knee of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin; we've seen, after years of resistance, New York state pass a bill that subjects police misconduct and disciplinary files to public records laws.
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