Get ready for a big civil war within the Democratic Party — perhaps almost literally. “Nobody is going to defund the police,” Clyburn told CNN’s Jake Tapper on yesterday’s State of the Union. In fact, it will take more resources to “restructure” and “reimagine” policing over the next few years, Clyburn said, echoing Joe Biden’s call for additional resources to transform American policing:
TAPPER: I want to ask you about the defund the police movement, which is an issue in the Democratic Party, in the progressive movement right now. Some organizers on the left say that the only way to reduce police violence and police brutality is to slash police budgets, cut the number of officers. One activist, Mariame Kaba, wrote in “The New York Times” this week — quote — “Yes, we mean literally abolish. The police efforts to solve police violence through liberal reforms like these have failed for nearly a century. Enough. We can’t reform the police. Why on earth would we think the same reforms would work now?” — unquote.
What is your message to her? What is your message to those in your caucus, the Black Congress, such as Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who we’re talking with shortly, who is also saying defund the police?
CLYBURN: I would simply say, as I have always said, nobody is going to defund the police. We can restructure the police forces, restructure, reimagine policing. That is what we are going to do. The fact of the matter is, the police have a role to play. What we have got to do is make sure that their role is one that meets the times, one that responds to these communities that they operate in.
I didn’t grow up in fear of police, even in a segregated environment. We never feared the police. But, all of a sudden now, I do fear the police. The young blacks fear the police.Why? Because we have built in a system that’s responding, once again, to Brown v. Board of Education and everything that comes with it. When I was growing up, we didn’t have black police. And I remember when the first black policeman — remember his name to this day, two of them. One name was Gilliard (ph). One name was China (ph). The fact of the matter is, this is a structure that has been developed that we have got to deconstruct. So, I wouldn’t say defund. Deconstruct our policing.
It’s probably true that “nobody is going to defund the police,” although progressive activists sure are giving it the ol’ college try in Minneapolis. The city council finally recognized that they didn’t have the authority to disband the police, so they will put an amendment to the city charter on the ballot to give them that option. The rest of the country, however, has little appetite for warlord rule in “autonomous zones,” something Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) recognizes even though the left wing of the Democratic Party doesn’t.
Speaking of which, one Minneapolis progressive came on State of the Union after Clyburn to give a rebuttal. It would be “ludicrous” to give police even more money after all of the street action to demand their elimination, Rep. Ilhan Omar told Tapper. At least she manages to get her civics correct, however:
TAPPER: So, there are a lot of Democrats, as you know, who disagree with what you’re talking about. I just spoke with House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, who has come out in opposition to the defund movement. He’s talked about the need to reform. But he said defunding could — quote — “hijack the movement.” In addition, Joe Biden has said he does not support defunding the police. And, in fact, he’s proposing $300 million more for community policing. What’s your response?
OMAR: Well, it sounds ludicrous to me to have people pour out into the streets asking for the system to be transformed, and for us to say, in order for that transformation to happen, we’re just going to give more money to the system, without really doing any kind of systematic change.
If you had a company that wasn’t producing, you wouldn’t just pour money, more money, into it, so that it would produce. You would step back and say, what — let’s look at what works, what doesn’t work, and how do we move forward? And so I think, for people who really are questioning and talking about this movement, they’re not paying attention to what the people are asking for.
And, to me, we’re — this is not for members of Congress. This isn’t for the president. This is a municipality issue. This is a state level issue. And so I happen to represent a city that is eager and ready to take on this call and deliver.
At least that much we can agree on. Now Omar just needs to answer this: who’s been running her city for the last several decades? Who’s been running the state for at least a decade? When we talk about a “company that isn’t producing,” that also applies to the DFL and the progressives that have had full rein over the Minneapolis Police Department for our lifetimes. And not just in Minneapolis, but also in every major American city, which Democrats have run since the last major era of social unrest.
Rather than defunding and dismantling the police, voters should defund and dismantle Democratic control of the urban areas. They aren’t producing, as Omar herself says, and progressives have created nothing but blight and unaccountability from their era of control. Allowing them to continue in power is — dare we say? — “ludicrous.”