We are Terrible At Messaging. Defund The Police is just the latest example of a good policy that has a bad name. We are giving ammo (pun intended) to the Right.
SoyBlo tries to lay a trap for Kamala Harris shows us what the problem is:
At the end of Harris’ superb explanation, McCain continues to not understand Defund the Police. I don’t think that’s an act, and yes she is as dumb as dirt, but she’s about as reachable as the GOP gets.
Defund the Police is a terrible name for what is a good policy goal; its misleading name suggests that there would be nobody left to prevent crime. This is where SoyBlo was coming from.
Protesters calling to defund the police proclaim that the police are beyond reform and want their own cities to re-allocate some Ameros from police budgets to programs for housing, community health, education; I would add for here in Seattle, activists also propose hiring trained mental health pros and social workers to emergency calls instead of SWAT teams. (Last year I talked with members of our Bike Patrol who —at that time— wanted that, too.) Addiction is a medical problem and NOT a core competency of the police. It’s pretty straight forward.
The morning email thingies all hit this”Defund” pretty hard:
Joe Biden’s campaign said yesterday that he does not support defunding police, but is pushing for police reform and more spending on community, school, health and social programs, Axios’ Alayna Treene reports.
The alert amongst us notes that what Biden is pushing for is what the activists are pushing for, but not using the word defund. Go figure. I’m sure the Bernie Bro dead-enders will be on that all day today.
Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) email thingie:
REFORM RATHER THAN DEFUND — Top Democrats on Monday unveiled a sweeping reform bill for police forces. But many are afraid their party will get dragged into a different story — activists’ calls to “defund the police.” So senior Democrats are carefully — but forcefully — speaking out against the idea, hoping to stifle momentum before it overshadows their broader reform effort.
What Democratic leaders are saying: “Don’t let yourselves be drawn into the debate about defunding police forces,” House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) warned the caucus on a private call Monday night. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, brushed aside questions about the idea, saying it was a “local decision.” And moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) delivered this blunt assessment: “You can’t defund the police, that’s stupid, it’s crazy and anyone who talks about that is nuts.”
As Nancy Pelosi said (and way too quickly) that police funding is a local decision. (Fact Check: TRUE!) What congressional Democrats are doing is give some federal-level tools that can help get the really bad apples out of the barrel full of armed monkeys.
Anyway, as usual, the Left is fighting amongst ourselves over stupid terminology, not over goals. We need a lefty word-person like the right has in Frank Luntz to come up with better messaging. I think Republicans would even go along with this if they were not immediately fighting the words.
UPDATE 1: Maddow.