Discussion of “Defund the Police” slogan

The Left needs to quickly learn about the power of BRANDING and MARKETING. “defund the police” is an absolute gift to little donny smallhands and his MAGA cult. “Reform, Reimagine, Retrain”…something that’s easy and simple that all the askeered white folks in suburbia can relate to. “Defund the police” is already being used play right into the worst fears of his base and more importantly, the undecided voters or people who have never voted at all. The left NEEDS all the votes it can get this time around. Too much at stake.


No thanks.

When you’re wrestling with an opponent who will not abide by any rules, who will argue in bad faith, who will accuse bereaved parents of being fucking crisis actors after yet another mass shooting, you do not win by trying to appeal to the opponent’s baser urges.

When the police act like a criminal fucking mob shaking down cities for protection money, they can and should be banned from the feeding trough.


Except this was the tactic of the last 15 years, and it hasn’t got us fuckanywhere, except convince pasty surburbians that BLM is a terrorist org and cops are the real oppressed minority.


That’s not what he’s saying. He’s saying stop helping your opponent by gifting them something that can be easily argued in bad faith.

There’s still a small segment of voters that could swing one way or another. Vote one way or another, go vote or stay home. Whatever your opinion of them is, their vote counts as much as yours and mine. If some dumbass forces Biden to speak about defunding the police, that’s going to get twisted in a way that is going to shift these people and their votes the wrong way.

But by taking the initiative to make it a positive sounding initiative (even if it’s the same damn thing), you get better control of the debate, pick up votes, and avoid gifting your enemy.


While they’re at it maybe they can work on the term “Democratic Socialism”


It doesn’t matter how carefully Democrats craft a message or how many committees they form to test different messaging, since swift boats and Sandy Hook there is no bottom past which the right wing disinformation machine will not slither. If the past 3 years haven’t been an ample demonstration of this, then i can’t help but wonder if we’re living in disparate realities.


I think the police should be defunded. But I also think it’s probably counterproductive to come right out and say it (just due to the nature of electoral politics in the USA.)

The USA has been overly militarized for decades. Eisenhower warned us about the dangers of the military-industrial complex, and nobody heeded his words. Now we spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined. Defense spending has become a dangerous addiction-- congress-critters need to get lucrative military contracts for corporations in their districts (“JOBS JOBS JOBS!!”), so the American taxpayer ends up buying up tons of stuff we don’t need, and then the surplus is given to local police departments who are itching to use it.

Cut out the middleman: reduce defense spending, use that money for public education, affordable housing, small business loans, particularly for minorities. We could even use that money to retrain problem cops for another line of work (I’m imagining that scene in “Demolition Man” when Stallone finds he’s suddenly good at knitting-- bad cops can be retrained as pastry chefs, which from what I’ve seen at the Dunkin Donuts they may really enjoy.)

It’s a much more efficient way to combat crime. Why pay cops to be violent thugs when we can spend the money so the poor and disenfranchised can have some hope, security and success.



Imagine how shocked and angry the real Mother Jones would be if she came back and found out that they had named a liberal magazine after her.


:musical_note: Malcolm X never lived to see the government fall
But the state he opposed made him a stamp
Maybe that’s the best you can hope for if you never give up:
Your enemies will teach your corpse to dance. :musical_note:


These lyrics and the argument about who gets to call themselves the real liberals, radicals, etc. reminds me what I learned studying Marx and something which most people on the left ignore and which is kind of scary when you really think about it.

His argument was that socialism/communism would rise out of the ashes of a capitalist system. The ASHES. An argument for the obvious failure of the Soviet system was that the Bolsheviks took a feudal monarchy and forced it by any means necessary into some semblance of what they thought a communist system should be. They bypassed the capitalist system entirely. Of course it’s nowhere near that simple, but the point was that for Marx socialism/communism would arise naturally.

If the right would analyze his arguments honestly, instead of painting the “socialism lite” of the left as some huge bogeyman, they’d realize that without the safety valve of government programs to help people, they are clearly headed toward an ultimate disaster that makes the last few weeks look like a Hawaiian vacation.


Then give up now. If you can’t be bothered to not help that disinformation machine, just give up.

I’ll admit, the first time I heard “defund the police” though it meant eliminate funding entirely, and it sounded like a really stupid idea on the surface. I at least took the time to find out what it really means. How many people are going to do that? How many are just going to assume it’s code for eliminating the police (and think that’s stupid)? How many are going to believe Trump when he says the exact same thing they were thinking? And then go on to vote for him instead of the guy that seems to be advocating getting rid of the police.

You can use a better descriptive name without selling your soul. Defunding is not the same as eliminating, but they are all to easy to conflate.

Stop using what Republicans will do as an excuse. Assume they will and prepare for it. And definitely stop helping them. Use some common sense and actually craft and use a name for a policy that doesn’t sound so stupid.

Or just give up.


Unfortunately, you are right. If they would use the word “reform” it would help put the brakes on the neo-nazi lie machine that is the current Republican party.

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The problem is, any position can be argued against in bad faith with no end of hyperbole. I’m inclined to think if your position is going to be turned to hyperbole, then at least let’s try to shift the overton window a bit.


I think reform doesn’t sound strong enough. Reform could mean as little as adding one of those insufferable mandatory training classes that people have to sit through once a year. I kind of like “replace the police” or “rebuild the police” over defund, because it makes clear that you are going to get rid of what is there and put something new in its place. But I am not going to tell the people who are out there actually advocating while I am typing on the internet what to do. And one way or another we need everyone to understand that if the police can’t fix their own problems to avoid violating peoples rights they won’t be allowed to continue operating in the same way.


Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that the entire premise of both of your replies?

Let’s think through your advice in a couple of other situations. Should progressives have simply accepted that “equal” civil unions were good enough and given up the fight for marriage equality because precious swing voters wouldn’t understand? Should they have simply laid down and accepted that some pre-existing conditions really did merit exclusion from health insurance? Should progressives have compromised on just a little drilling in the ANWR or a small pipeline through the Dakotas?

Yes, by all means, let’s keep pulling our punches just because the conflict itself makes some “swing voters” uncomfortable. It doesn’t make the fight disappear, but if it makes you feel better, then golly gee, I guess we gotta. Too bad for those still being harmed by half-assed progress, at least you got to feel like a useful ally.


Or, just maybe, and I’m spitballing here, tell the truth about what you want in public policy. Then explain it patiently and in detail.

The thing about a race to the bottom: you don’t actually want to be the winner.



Exactly. Not naming a policy that appears to fall outside that window would seem to be common sense. First impressions matter. You wouldn’t name a universal healthcare proposal “Defund Medicaid” even if that was one of the effects.

Defund the police sounds like that, even though it’s part of a wider reshaping of social services. Calling it smarter funding of the police, for example, is a name that’s harder to twist and requires at least going a little deeper on what it means. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that that, or something like it, is what Democrats will end up calling it.


No, I’m saying that if your last name is Head, you don’t say that kids are going to make fun of your child no matter what, so you might as well name him Richard.

I am NOT saying to change the policy, goal, or anything like what you suggested. Do not put words in my mouth. But using your examples I would suggest progressives were wise not to name themselves Prevent Environmental Damage Organization - Prevent Helping Industry Lying to Everyone. It’s a damn good name because it’s a damn good policy, right? So what’s the problem?

I’m not saying to pull punches. I’m saying stop putting your face in front of punches.

Edit: I messed up the acronum


All this handwringing over defund the police is the real gift to the right. “Call it something else, so people like me who have never actually needed the police don’t have to feel scared about a world with no police.”

Quick poll hands up and be honest: when you were growing up, were there police officers in your school? Did you spend your education knowing that there were armed cops at your school who could haul you off to jail because you mouthed off at the teacher? Did you get sent to the school counselor instead?

If you had counselors instead of cops, congratulations, you know what it’s like to live without cops. It’s really not as scary as you think it might be.