In a recording leaked to The Intercept, former Vice President Biden appeared to blame the “defund the police” movement for the Democrats’ shellacking down-ballot in the 2020 elections, and urged liberal civil rights leaders not to put public pressure on his incoming administration regarding police reform until after the Georgia Senate runoff elections in January.
“I also don’t think we should get too far ahead ourselves on dealing with police reform in that, because they’ve already labeled as being ‘defund the police’ anything we put forward in terms of the organizational structure to change policing — which I promise you, will occur. Promise you.”
Biden can be heard telling left-wing civil rights leaders in the recording, “Just think to yourself and give me advice whether we should do that before January 5, because that’s how they beat the living hell out of us across the country… I just raise it with you to think about. How much do we push between now and January 5–we need those two seats– about police reform? But I guarantee you there will be a full-blown commission. I guarantee you it’s a major, major, major element…we can go very far.”
Successful efforts to defund the police at the local have resulted in disasters nationwide. But Joe Biden himself has publicly expressed support for defunding the police. During an interview with activist Ady Barkan, Biden said, “Yes, absolutely,” when asked if they both could agree that “we can redirect some of the [police] funding?”
Biden’s defenders have claimed that partially defunding the police isn’t the same as “defund the police,” but many have actually argued that “defunding the police” doesn’t mean fully defunding or abolishing police. In fact, the liberal Brookings Institute says that “‘Defund the police’ means reallocating or redirecting funding away from the police department to other government agencies funded by the local municipality. That’s it. It’s that simple. Defund does not mean abolish policing.”
In short, Biden’s position on police funding is in line with the mainstream definition of “defund the police,” a position Biden acknowledges cost the Democrats significantly during the 2020 elections, and will cost them dearly in the Georgia Senate runoffs if left-wing influencers publicly make police reform (Biden’s euphemism for defunding the police) an issue before then.
This could actually be a serious liability for Democrats in Georgia. Democrat candidate Jon Ossoff, while not directly stating that he supported defunding the police, said that he favors “reforming and demilitarizing” policing in America, and said that funding for certain police departments should be “on the line.”
Joe Biden knows that “defunding the police” is a poison pill for Democrats’ hopes of winning the majority in the Senate. Hopefully, the GOP knows this, too.