Obama: Candidates lose support with ‘snappy’ slogans like ‘defund the police’

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Former President Barack Obama contends that broad rallying cries like “defund the police” contributed to losses in the 2020 elections cycle. 

On the Snapchat original show, Good Luck America, Obama said “snappy” slogans can alienate people. 

Former President Barack Obama speaks at a Nov. 2 drive-in mobilization rally to get out the vote for Georgia Senate candidates on in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

“You lost a big audience the minute you say it,” he asserted, “which makes it a lot less likely that you’re actually going to get the changes you want done.” 

In the video interview on the social media site, Obama said a challenge of a catchphrase like “defund the police” is that what it means defines police and criminal justice reform, which he confirms he supports. 

“If you instead say, let’s reform the police department so that everybody is being treated fairly. Divert young people from getting into crime, and if there is a homeless guy, can maybe we send a mental health worker there instead of an armed unit that might result in some type of tragedy?” he maintained. “Suddenly a whole bunch of folks who might not otherwise listen to you are listening to you.” 

“The key is deciding,” Obama said, “do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with?”

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While promoting his new book, A Promised Land, Obama also addressed the support President Donald Trump gained among Black men during the 2020 election cycle. 

“I think men generally are more susceptible to public figures who act tough, try to project a stereotypical macho style,” he said. “I don’t think Black men are immune to that any more than white or Hispanic men are.”

Obama’s three-part Snapchat interview airs this week, Wednesday through Friday, on the social media platform. 

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Most users of the platform are under the age of 30, so Obama also addressed some questions directly inspired by its youthful users.

“One thing I will say about the Democratic Party is that promoting young people is really important,” he said, referring to New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who only got three minutes to speak at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. “And I think that there have been times where we stick so long with the same old folks and don’t make room for new voices.” 

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