Obama: 'Defund the Police' Slogan Is Ineffective

'You lost a big audience the minute you say it'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2020 12:01 PM CST
Obama: Saying 'Defund the Police' Won't Lead to Reform
Barack Obama speaks at a rally as he campaigns for Joe Biden, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Miami.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

"Defund the police" is a "snappy" slogan—but not an effective one for campaigners seeking to reach a wider audience, Barack Obama says. The former president told Snapchat political show Good Luck America Wednesday that the slogan is polarizing and won't help advocates get the reforms they want, Politico reports. "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,'" he said. "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."

The slogan has been used by campaigners urging cities to shift some police funding to social services, the Hill notes, but it has been attacked by Republicans and conflated with calls to abolish police departments. President-elect Joe Biden has said he is against defunding the police and wants to boost police funding. Some Democrats, including House Majority Whip James Clyburn, argue that the slogan cost Democratic candidates votes in last month's election. "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?" Obama said Wednesday. "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." (Read more Barack Obama stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.