First, and apropos of nothing, I can’t get over how young this guy looks in that outfit. Did his mom drop him off at the rally?
Second, note that Jacob Frey is very far from being some law-and-order Republican. He’s not just a Democrat, he got elected mayor running on a platform that included … police reform. He wept openly on Friday beside the casket at George Floyd’s memorial service. He’s in full woke mode in the first clip below — until the rally’s organizers decided to test him on just how radical he’s willing to get in the name of bringing about radical change.
This is the best Trump campaign ad I’ve seen this year.
Minneapolis mayor's attempt to show solidarity with protesters takes an unexpected turn here. pic.twitter.com/DLchX1e8si
— Liam Donovan (@LPDonovan) June 7, 2020
"Go home Jacob! Go home!"
— ABC News (@ABC) June 7, 2020
Calls for abolishing — or defunding — the police were by no means limited to Minneapolis. They’ve been ping-ponging around social media all week and showing up at other demonstrations in the past few days:
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser had "Black Lives Matter" painted onto 16th St. just down from the White House. Last night protesters added "Defund The Police" pic.twitter.com/1GElXtYiSD
— Doug Mills (@dougmillsnyt) June 7, 2020
Says Karol Markowicz, “It’s crazy that with everyone fairly united on the idea of reform, protesters have settled on the unpopular ‘defund the police’ as the change they want. I could be convinced the Russians were involved in this one.”
The president sees an opportunity here, quite correctly:
YouGov polled Americans a few days ago on five suggested reforms to police practices. Does any commentary need to be added to these results?
Not a single demographic group surveyed supported cutting funding for the police. Even black Americans tilted 33/36 against it. Emily Ekins notes that a Cato Institute study on attitudes towards policing conducted in 2016 found that “9 in 10 black, white and Hispanic Americans oppose reducing the number of police officers in their community—and a third say their community needs more officers.”
How do you suppose voters will respond to the idea of “defunding,” or abolishing, police departments entirely?
Less radical left-wing voices see the peril here and have already taken to insisting that “defund the police” doesn’t really mean “defund the police”:
A Twitter pal fired back at her, “Just like ‘Death to America’ means ‘we just want to have constructive meaningful dialogue with the American people but their evil president won’t let us.'” The obvious analogy here is to the left’s push to “Abolish ICE” in 2018, another issue that polled badly (but not so badly as to prevent them from taking back the House that fall). I like Sarah Longwell’s analogy better, though:
If you don’t mean, “Defund the Police” then don’t say, “Defund the Police.” Please see, “Believe All Women,” for a refresher on why words matter.
— Sarah Longwell (@SarahLongwell25) June 7, 2020
Biden’s going to have to tread lightly here. Obviously he can’t come out in favor of defunding the police, as it would scare the suburbanites he’s trying to hold onto. But he can’t show outright contempt for the idea either given that he has a problem already generating enthusiasm among left-wing Democrats and a potentially more significant problem winning over younger black voters. Expect some rhetoric about how the proposal is “well-meaning but misguided” or whatever. (Cory Booker already took a similar line in an interview this morning.) Maybe he can get Obama to speak up against it to take some heat off of him.