“Defund the Police” Needs a Rebrand

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones’ newsletters.The inimitable Patt Morrison wants to know what “Defund the Police” means:

We’re overdue for a clear definition. Does “defunding” mean “getting rid of” police altogether? Does it mean “dismantling and rebuilding”? One message, one definition. Without clarity and unity, this will get played by the #Trump campaign to its advantage. https://t.co/yxjMDipyH6
— patt morrison (@pattmlatimes) June 8, 2020

We can write thousands of pieces telling people that “defund” doesn’t really mean defund, but honestly, you can hardly blame people for nevertheless thinking that defund means defund. That is, cut police budgets to zero and get rid of them entirely.
There’s not a Democratic politician alive who thinks we should do this, and keeping the phrase in use is just an invitation for unnecessary conflict between politicos and their base. Maybe it’s too late, but can’t we come up with something better? Rebuild the Police? Reform the Police? Demilitarize the Police? There’s got to be something.

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