Progressive Democrats were no doubt stunned to hear of Joe Biden’s latest policy flip.
According to Breitbart, Biden walked back on Wednesday previous comments suggesting that “some funding should ‘absolutely’ be redirected from law enforcement” when he said at a fundraiser in Georgia that he actually wants “to get police more money.”
“I don’t want to defund police,” Biden said at the event alongside Democrat Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, as Breitbart reported.
He went on: “I want to get police more money in order to deal with the things they badly need, from making sure they have access to community policing, that they have also in the departments social workers, psychologists, people who in fact can handle those god-awful problems that a cop has to have four degrees to handle.”
Taking it all back
Biden’s reversal comes after weeks of unrest across the nation sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Floyd’s alleged killing prompted calls nationwide to “defund” law enforcement, a proposal the former vice president has distanced himself from.
But whether Biden wants to admit it or not, reallocating funds is the same thing as defunding the police. Now, however, that doesn’t seem to be the stance Biden is taking.
The recent call from Biden for more law enforcement funding marks a break between him and more progressive members of his party, like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has been clear in her support for cutting funds from local police departments.
“Defunding police means defunding police,” Ocasio-Cortez said in June, according to The Hill. “It does not mean budget tricks or funny math. It does not mean moving school police officers from the [New York Police Department] budget to the Department of Education’s budget so the exact same police remain in schools.”
Reform and re-election
Biden, on the other hand, apparently wants reform.
“Reform means, at least the beginning, banning chokeholds, stopping transferring military weapons of war to the police departments, creating a model use of force standard, and holding all police to the high standard,” Biden said Wednesday, according to The Hill.
It remains to be seen whether Biden’s flip-flop will win him back the support of police unions, who have largely abandoned him in favor of President Donald Trump’s law-and-order attitude. For his part, Trump’s response to the widespread unrest seems to have only bolstered his election chances; Breitbart reported separately on Wednesday that Trump is “closing the gap on Joe Biden’s sizeable lead” in key swing states.
With that in mind, Biden will likely soon learn that he has to pick a side and stay on it. By trying to appeal to both supporters and detractors of police, all the former VP has done is show voters that consistency isn’t his strong suit.