While some on the far left are hanging onto the slogan, many Democrats are abandoning the “Defund the Police” effort as violent crime in the U.S. trends upward.
All of this comes, too, amid a new Morning Consult/Politco survey showing that, to various degrees, 75% of Americans believe “the defunding of police departments” is “a reason that violent crime is increasing in the United States.” Forty-nine percent said it is a “major reason” while 26% called it a “minor reason.”
Nevertheless, some, like Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), are determined to stick with the mantra to “Defund the Police.”
“I always tell [fellow Democrats], ‘If you all had fixed this before I got here, I wouldn’t have to say these things,'” Bush told Axios during an interview Tuesday, conceding that progressives ought to do a better job of explaining that “defund” — in the eyes of many Democrats — means taking money from police forces and giving it to social services.
If the left loses the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, Bush told the outlet it will not be due to things like “Defund the Police.” Instead, she argued, it will be because Democrats failed to pass major legislation.
As for the survey, it also found 66% of voters believe increasing police funding would lower crime rates. Only 22% said it would not decrease crime across the country. Another 10% of respondents had no opinion on the matter.
Conversely, 20% of survey participants suggested reducing funding to police forces would lead to lower crime rates. The majority — 68% — disagreed.
The poll was conducted Feb. 5-6 and included 2,005 registered voters.
With the midterm elections looming large in the minds of politicians on both sides of the aisle, President Joe Biden is doing his part to distance the White House from the “Defund the Police” slogan.
The commander-in-chief said during a visit this week with New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) that the answer to crime reduction “is not to defund the police,” according to The Guardian. Rather, Biden said, “It’s to give you the tools, the training, the funding to be partners, to be protectors.”
This is not the first time this issue has come up in Democratic circles.
Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) blamed Democrats’ poorer showing in the U.S. House elections in 2020 on radical policy proposals, among them the push to strip police departments of their funding. During a call with House Democrats in the days after the election cycle, Spanberger urged her comrades to drop the “Defund the Police” rallying cry.
“We have to commit to not saying the words ‘Defund the Police’ ever again,” she said at the time. “We need to not ever use the words ‘socialist’ or ‘socialism’ ever again.”
She warned then that continuing to use such rhetoric again would cost them during the 2022 midterm elections.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) echoed Spanberger’s words, saying that, if Democrats “are going to run on Medicare for All, Defund the Police, socialized medicine — we’re not going to win.”
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