Former President Barack Obama cautions activists against using ‘defund the police’ slogan

In doing so, the former president, who nonetheless holds huge affect in the Democratic Party and has voiced support for protesters in the aftermath of George Floyd’s dying, is taking a powerful stance on a contentious phrase that could be a dividing level amongst Democrats, and speaks to the friction between the extra liberal wing of the get together and President-elect Joe Biden’s requires a reasonable path ahead.
“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 instructed Peter Hamby on Snapchat’s “Good Luck America” when requested what his recommendation is to an activist who believes in using the slogan though politicians are more likely to keep away from it.

“But if you instead say, ‘Let’s reform the police department so that everybody’s being treated fairly, you know, divert young people from getting into crime, and if there was a homeless guy, can maybe we send a mental health worker there instead of an armed unit that could end up resulting in a tragedy?’ Suddenly, a whole bunch of folks who might not otherwise listen to you are listening to you.”

Obama, who beforehand stated he would not defund police departments, stated the secret’s for activists to resolve whether or not they need to get one thing executed or really feel good amongst folks they agree with.

“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,” he stated and “play a game of addition and not subtraction.”

Other high Democrats, together with Biden and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, have stated they help modifications to policing practices however warned the phrase — which usually requires redirecting some funding from police departments towards social welfare packages — could possibly be dangerous to the motion and the get together. Many progressives, nevertheless, together with New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have touted the phrase.
The 44th President additionally offered a glimpse at how progressive and reasonable Democrats can work collectively underneath an upcoming Biden presidency, noting that the get together ought to “focus on talking about getting certain things done” as a substitute of labels and beliefs. He known as socialism a “loaded term” and provided a messaging technique on Democrats can enchantment to folks, particularly those that are younger.

“Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders both agree about raising the minimum wage. Nobody really cares about the label. They care that that is something that is important to a lot of young people and a lot of older people alike,” he stated. “My advice for the Democratic Party is telling a story. Because people, young people, folks my age, people generally don’t listen to a bunch of policy analysis.”

Obama continued that individuals are moved by tales “that connect with their own lives” and never ideology, including that “promoting young people is really important” with regards to the Democratic Party.

“We stick so long with the same old folks and don’t make room for new voices,” he stated.

CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.

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