Excessive police violence in this country against both nonwhites and whites is a big problem. Let's use the Chauvin verdict as an opportunity to move forward on the unifying and immensely popular cause of police reform. David Leonhardt:
"Most Americans disagree with sweeping criticisms of the police, like the calls to abolish police departments. (Rashida Tlaib, a Democratic congresswoman from Michigan, wrote last week on Twitter: “No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed.”) Recent polls show that most Americans say they generally trust the police, and few if any mayors, governors, congressional leaders or top members of the Biden administration share Tlaib’s view.
But many politicians and most voters do favor changes to policing, like banning chokeholds and racial profiling or mandating police body cameras. “Americans — both Democrats and Republicans — want some sort of reform,” Alex Samuels of FiveThirtyEight wrote."
So, good things can happen here if Democrats don't get out over their skis. Defunding the police continues to be vastly unpopular as these new data from Morning Consult show. Even with very anodyne wording on whether respondents think police departments have too much, the right amount or not enough funding, only 19 percent think the police have too much funding.
In that regard it's truly astonishing to see claims like this from a Democratic strategist, a strong candidate for the worst political advice of the year award. Steve Phillips of Democracy in Color asserts:
"If Democrats want to hold onto control of the House and Senate in 2022, they should talk more about defunding the police, not less. The video of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killing an unarmed George Floyd last May unleashed an international outcry against police brutality, a national racial reckoning about long-standing systemic racism in America, and a demand from the Black Lives Matter movement to “defund the police.”
Amazingly dumb. But this is the sort of thing Democrats need to resist. Do popular things. Improve voters' lives. This is not complicated.