‘Reforming law enforcement’ sounds better to most people rather than ‘defunding / dismantling / abolishing the police’ which seems alarming and extreme. I am not sure the country is prepared for that or will support it. The term itself will turn people off. I think some of the Democrats are playing with fire in an election season when the scenes of looting and violence during the protests are still fresh on people’s minds.
The killings of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks and the protests that followed brought the country together in a demonstration of sympathy, support and a demand for justice in a manner never seen before. But I think the protests have run their course now.
Talk of defunding at this stage can seriously derail the larger issues of racism, injustice and legal prejudice. It would be better if they start with reforms now and then work towards any defunding calmly and after building national consensus on changes. A knee jerk and extreme reaction now will jeopardize their chances at the polls and further empower Trump’s supporters. He has already released an ad depicting the scenario caused by defunding that is highly exaggerated but effective and scary nonetheless. The current Portland protests are not helping.
It is time for Biden to live up to the expectations raised by those protests through policies, principles and an action plan to implement them. This is the critical period where people must see that the protests were meaningful and have led to change. If this opportunity is lost, I’m afraid there will not be another.