Nov 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

James Clyburn: "Defund the police" slogan could hurt Black Lives Matter movement

Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that the "defund the police" slogan has the potential to lose public support for Black Lives Matter and other movements on the left.

Driving the news: Democrats are considering how to move forward after they did not see the gains they expected in the House in the elections. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) told colleagues on a caucus call the slogan hurt the party's electoral chances, per the Washington Post.

  • Clyburn, who as House Majority Whip is the highest-ranking Black member of Congress, has been a leading voice for Democrats on criminal justice and police reform efforts.

What he's saying: Clyburn compared "defund the police" to the "burn baby burn" slogan that became popular during the 1965 Watts riots in Los Angeles, and which Clyburn said lost support for the Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee, a civil rights group he co-founded with the late Rep. John Lewis.

  • "We can't pick up these things just because it makes a good headline, it sometimes destroys headway. We need to work on what makes headway rather than what makes headlines."

The other side: Black Lives Matter co-founder explains "Defund the police" slogan

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