A deep fissure exists and could continue to widen within the Democratic Party as a result of the tragic and unjust murder of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis. Liberal-to-moderate-minded House Democrats are opposing their progressive colleagues by not supporting their calls to defund police departments, and that’s a big problem.
“No, I don’t support defunding the police,” said Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in an interview with CBS last week. Biden’s remark came as Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez openly stated that they support the defunding of police around the country.
But as Biden asserts his support for keeping funding for police in place, his presidential campaign will be accepting money from “defund police” celebrities like John Legend, who will be hosting a virtual fundraising for the former vice president.
Will Biden stick to his pro-police position, or will be cave to the pressure that Legend says he will put Biden under?
— John Legend (@johnlegend) June 7, 2020
Florida Rep. Val Demings (D), who is said to be on the shortlist of vice presidential candidates, has not come out in support or opposition to defunding police but did say that the Minneapolis City Council that voted to defund their police department was “being very thoughtful” in considering all their options.
The majority of House Democrats signed on to “The Justice in Policing Act,” a bill that would impose deep law enforcement reforms and drop protections for officers.
By signing on to the bill, legislators are expressing their opposition to the defund effort, but most of them have not come forward and openly stated that police departments should continue to be funded.
As election day nears, this turmoil could turn out to be very problematic for Democrats, who could see a large portion of their progressive voting base stay home in protest.