Following continuous public attacks on the motto by Democratically elected directors, movement leaders are thinking of countering the criticism. A major statement of any response would be that moderate Democrats have failed to supply proof to verify that the “defund” pressure caused unexpected losses in House and Senate races. Instead, they say, the complaints are based on isolated anecdotes.
Without a message, some organizers fear centrist Democrats could use the election results as a reason to not stop police reform, the main campaign promise made by President-elect Joe Biden.
“I am disappointed that this has been the post-election conversation and I have not seen the data sets to support it,” said Rashad Robinson, president of the charitable civil rights organization Color of Change, a partner organization in the Black Lives Matter movement. “Which means that it's reflective because it's always easier to blame Black people.”
Roughly six Black Lives Matter officials said in interviews that they felt disrespected and discouraged by the dispute over the motto “defund the police,” instead of the original policy pushed by protesters for systemic reforms to policing. They said Democrats did not have a plan of how to push against GOP attack ads and are now accusing them of not doing the party’s job for it.
They also asserted that organizers helped push protesters around the election and registered them to vote, yet all they’re hearing is denunciation rather than praise. Others rejected the fundamental dispute among Democrats as a conflict taking place mostly on social media and excluded from real people’s lives.
Robinson said he and other Black-led national groups discussed an official answer, but didn’t state when it would occur or how. The fact that they are preparing a response is one of several signs the growing Black Lives Matter movement is coordinating at a level it wasn't eight years ago, including the fact that it started a political action organization in October.
The movement's message will proceed to “evolve in different ways,” Robinson said. Though he was especially troubled with remarks by Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.). The senior House Democrat made the media rounds in the election consequence, accusing the calls to “defund the police” for Democrats’ losing a South Carolina House seat they flipped in 2018.
“Telling folks that the activism, and the pushback, and the challenge that we've had to the racist and deadly policing that's been in our communities somehow was the reason why Democrats couldn't win a seat in South Carolina is not only unfortunate, but it's disrespectful to people who understand politics as well,” said Robinson.