Sen. Warner Says Calls for ‘Defund the Police’ Led to Democratic Losses

By Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.
November 14, 2020Updated: November 14, 2020

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said he believes that terms like “defund the police” used by progressives to call for police reform had led to Democratic losses in the House in the 2020 election.

“I think the ability, using frank terms like ‘defund the police’ have led to Democratic losses in this last year,” Warner said during an interview on WAMU’s The Politics Hour on Friday.

Democrats in Congress had hoped for an overwhelming win in the House and to capture the majority in the Senate this election, but results show that was not the case. Instead, Democrats lost at least seven seats in the House and are behind in gaining the majority in the Senate.

Warner said although he does not support defunding the police, he supports calls for reforms in police practices and training.

“I didn’t and do not support defunding the police but I also believe in strong policing reform,” he said.

He added, “I spent my time longer in business than I have in politics. So do I think socialism is the answer? No. But do I think modern American capitalism is working for enough people? I don’t believe that as well.”

The “defund the police” movement that emerged during the protests following the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died while in Minneapolis police custody.

The movement calls for the reallocation of funds away from police departments to other social programs, while some call for abolishing the police altogether. The movement claims that police departments are systemically racist and that police funding can be better used elsewhere to help African American communities.

One of the prominent groups pushing for the defunding of police is Black Lives Matter, whose leaders claim to be “trained Marxists.”

Amid the activists’ calls, New York City officials had decided to shift roughly $1 billion from the city police budget to other agencies and canceled a nearly 1,200-person police recruiting class, among other changes. Other local and state officials have either called or considered changes to police department budgets as well.

The Trump administration had previously committed to making reforms in the policing profession by improving standards and training.

An The Epoch Times National Poll conducted by Big Data Poll found that a majority of American voters reject the push to defund the police, with 61 percent opposing and 24 percent supporting it.

Similarly, a Siena poll conducted in June also found that 57 percent of voters in New York state oppose measures that reduce funding to police departments.

Meanwhile, a recent Gallup poll found that 61 percent of African Americans surveyed want the police presence in their area to remain the same. Meanwhile, 20 percent of African Americans say they prefer police to spend more time in their area, while 19 percent say they prefer less time.