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Clyburn: ‘Defund the police’ slogan hurt Democratic candidates

Bonnie Cash

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Sunday that the “defund the police” slogan hurt Democratic candidates in the recent election. 

Clyburn told NBC News’s “Meet the Press” that he didn’t know if the slogan “cost all the seats” Democrats lost but noted he “really believes that’s what cost” Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) his seat to Rep.-elect Nancy Mace (R-S.C.). 

{mosads}The majority whip also attributed Democrat Jaime Harrison’s loss to the phrase, saying “that stuff hurt” him in his race against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). 

That’s why I spoke out against it a long time ago,” Clyburn said. “I’ve always said that these headlines can kill a political effort.”

“We are all about making headway, and I just hope that going forward we will think about each one of these Congressional districts and let people represent their districts,” he added. 

The “defund the police” slogan caught on over the summer after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. Floyd’s death after an officer knelt on his neck for several minutes sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice. 

Progressives proposed the policy amid the unrest, suggesting that funding for police should be redistributed to social programs to help minority communities and address the root causes of crime. 

But Republican candidates latched on to the proposal and tied their Democratic competitors to the slogan, although some of the candidates did not support the movement. 

Though Democrats kept control of the House, they lost a number of seats. The underwhelming performance for Democrats prompted a brewing blame game between moderates and progressives.

President Trump and his campaign repeatedly accused President-elect Joe Biden of backing “defund the police,” despite the former vice president’s open rejection of the policy. 

Tags 2020 election 2020 House election 2020 Senate election defund the police Donald Trump Joe Biden Joe Cunningham Law enforcement Lindsey Graham Police police brutality progressive racial injustice South Carolina Sunday shows
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