Obama: You lose people with ‘snappy’ slogans like ‘defund the police’
Former President Obama said political candidates lose support when using “snappy” slogans like “defund the police,” in an interview scheduled to be released Wednesday.
Obama told Peter Hamby, who hosts a Snapchat political show “Good Luck America,” that those who use the slogan could jeopardize their goals of enacting meaningful reforms for police.
“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,” the former president said in the interview scheduled to go live at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, according to Axios.
“The key is deciding, do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with?” Obama added.
The former president’s comments align with other top Democrats who have considered the phrase to be damaging to the Democratic Party.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told NBC News’s “Meet the Press” last month that he believed the slogan hurt some Democratic candidates, like Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) who lost to Rep.-elect Nancy Mace (R-S.C.).
The phrase was widely used in connection with the racial justice protests over the summer, following George Floyd’s death in May after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes, pinning him to the street.
The killing of Floyd, who was Black, triggered calls to defund the police across the country.
The slogan refers to reallocating funding for police departments to social services for minority communities.
Obama participated in the three-part Snapchat interview as part of his press tour for the first volume of his memoir “A Promised Land.” Portions of the interview will become available on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, according to Axios.
In the interview, the former president also acknowledged that President Trump made gains among young Black men in the presidential election.
“I think men generally are more susceptible to public figures who act tough, try to project a stereotypical macho style,” he said. “I don’t think Black men are immune to that any more than white or Hispanic men are.”
Obama also promoted the concept that younger voices in politics should be amplified, commenting on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) speaking time at the Democratic National Convention.
“One thing I will say about the Democratic Party is that promoting young people is really important,” he said, according to Axios.
“And I think that there have been times where we stick so long with the same old folks and don’t make room for new voices,” he added.
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