Dec 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Obama: Broad slogans like "defund the police" lose people


Former President Barack Obama told Peter Hamby on the Snapchat original political show "Good Luck America" that "snappy" slogans such as "defund the police" can alienate people, making the statements less effective than intended.

What he's saying: "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," Obama told Hamby in an interview that will air Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. EST on Snapchat.

  • "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 also addressed why President Trump gained support among young Black men this election cycle, saying: “I think men generally are more susceptible to public figures who act tough, try to project a stereotypical macho style. I don't think Black men are immune to that any more than white or Hispanic men are.”

The big picture: The former president is one of a few high-profile Democrats to say that using provocative slogans hurt Democrats in the election.

  • In an interview with Axios earlier this month, House Majority Whip James Clyburn blamed “sloganeering” for losses.

The Snapchat interview was a part of a larger press tour for the first volume of Obama's new memoir, "A Promised Land."

  • Obama also acknowledged that younger generations should be elevated more in politics.
  • "One thing I will say about the Democratic Party is that promoting young people is really important," he said, referring to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez having more speaking time at the Democratic National Convention.
  • "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.”

Of note: Snapchat's audience is primarily under age 30.

What's next: The three-part interview will air Wednesday through Friday on Snapchat.


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