The Democratic Party has experienced a period of introspection in light of underwhelming performances in elections across the U.S. last month.
As a number of moderates in the party blame progressives for their electoral misfortunes, many Democrats are working to disassociate the party from radical rhetoric like “defund the police,” as reported by the Washington Examiner.
Movement fails to catch on
The anti-police rallying cry gained traction over the summer amid protests sparked by the death of George Floyd while in police custody.
Although many ideologues seized on the slogan, the risks of appearing soft on crime were immediately clear to many Democratic elected officials and candidates. Even presidential nominee Joe Biden sought to keep the concept at a distance.
According to the Examiner, cities that have successfully pursued the policy of diverting funds from law enforcement have seen an increase in criminal activity.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, for example, was the epicenter of the summer’s unrest and leaders took steps including a vote to abolish the city’s police department at the peak of public cries for fundamental change.
Since then, the city has begun calling for more police officers to battle a surge in violent crime. For his part, embattled Democratic Mayor Jacob Frey is threatening to veto a reduction in the police budget.
“You lost a big audience”
In light of the election, moderates like Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) are sounding the alarms on the divisive agenda. No less than former President Barack Obama recently criticized the “snappy slogan” he determined had alienated voters.
“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,” he warned his own party.
Of course, a far-left faction remains opposed to compromise in their pursuit of bold reform.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), for example, signaled her belief that making critics “uncomfortable” is the point of such a platform. Democratic pollster Douglas Schoen, however, points to his own research that shows voters are likely to be turned off by “defund the police” rhetoric.
As he concluded: “The hardcore activists, they like AOC. The rest of the country outside of hardcore party activists are not so keen on AOC or her agenda.”