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‘Yes, we can – but no, we shouldn’t.’ Radical leftists furious over Obama’s claim that ‘Defund the Police’ is a vote-losing slogan

Micah Curtis
Micah Curtis

is a game and tech journalist from the US. Aside from writing for RT, he hosts the podcast Micah and The Hatman, and is an independent comic book writer. Follow Micah at @MindofMicahC

is a game and tech journalist from the US. Aside from writing for RT, he hosts the podcast Micah and The Hatman, and is an independent comic book writer. Follow Micah at @MindofMicahC

‘Yes, we can – but no, we shouldn’t.’ Radical leftists furious over Obama’s claim that ‘Defund the Police’ is a vote-losing slogan
The former US President has criticized ‘snappy slogans’ for alienating ordinary voters. Their irate response to his criticism is exactly why the left lost so much ground in the election.

If 2008 and 2012 are any evidence, Barack Obama knows how to win an election. Though I’m admittedly nowhere near being his biggest fan, I will say he has a talent for wordsmithing. Easily the most radical president that we’ve had in my lifetime, Obama was able to package all of his ideas under the banner of “Hope and Change.” He defeated two seasoned Republican politicians because of it. 

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You would think that when Barack Obama comes out and criticizes bad slogans and messaging that people would listen. However, members of the progressive wing of the Democrat party seem to be offended by what he’s saying. He specifically criticized the idea of defunding the police, and went on to discuss the issues with that kind of messaging:

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. But if you instead say, ‘Hey, you know what? Let’s reform the police department so that everybody’s being treated fairly. And not just in policing, but in sentencing. How can we divert young people from getting into crime?’”

What Obama is saying is politics 101. This is a man who has traveled the country to win elections. Whether you agree with him or not politically, he knows how to win. I’m not a big fan of Bill Belichick, the head coach of the New England Patriots, either, but if the six-time Super Bowl champion wanted to give me tips on how to coach a high school football team, I would listen. Both men are serial winners.

This is the major difference between a politician such as Obama and the members of The Squad. Obama is wise enough to pay attention to where and how losses are happening. Like other Democrats, he is currently celebrating the fact that, barring the uncovering of massive election interference, Joe Biden is the president-elect. But he’s also noticed the substantial losses in local elections and the ground lost in the House of Representatives. Anybody with a sense of reality would.

If you were to tell someone in a fairly populated city in Texas or Montana that you wanted to defund the police, they’d look at you like a crazy person. Obama knows that, and he knows that accusations of white supremacy or racism aren’t going to fly either. This is a man who managed to coat social programs and government reliance with the sugary words that got him elected. He is able to get people to vote for programs that are further to the left and do that better than any politician that America has seen in a very long time.

But, predictably, his comments drew irate pushback from progressives. Cori Bush, a Black Lives Matter activist and nurse who represents Missouri's First District, tweeted: 

“With all due respect, Mr. President, let’s talk about losing people. We lost Michael Brown Jr. We lost Breonna Taylor. We’re losing our loved ones to police violence. It’s not a slogan. It’s a mandate for keeping our people alive. Defund the police.”

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Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) waded in to say:

The murders of generations of unarmed Black folks by police have been horrific. Lives are at stake daily, so I’m out of patience with critiques of the language of activists.”

Not to be left out, the poster girl for progressive causes, the New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez posted a series of critical tweets, including: “The thing that critics of activists don’t get is that they tried playing the ‘polite language’ policy game and all it did was make them easier to ignore. It wasn’t until they made folks uncomfortable that there was traction to do ANYTHING, even if it wasn’t their full demands. The whole point of protesting is to make ppl uncomfortable.”

If politicians such as Ocasio-Cortez and her ilk don’t want to pay any mind to what Obama is saying, so be it – they’re free to ignore him and go their own way. What they’re not going to be able to ignore, however, is when the majority flips Republican in the House of Representatives in 2022. Will it happen? Yes, it can.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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