- The Washington Times - Monday, November 9, 2020

House Majority Whip James Clyburn said Sunday that the “defund the police” movement hurt the Black Lives Matter movement and cost Democrats seats in the U.S. Senate and House elections.

Speaking on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” the congressman argued that fears of socialism really resonated with voters in Florida and that the left-wing cry to “defund the police” hurt Democrats in South Carolina such as freshman Rep. Joe Cunningham, who lost his seat to Republican Nancy Mace, and Jaime Harrison, who lost his challenge against Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.

“I’ve talked to the people down in South Florida,” Mr. Clyburn said. “They told me that that really, really was a problem down there. But I can tell you about the 1st Congressional District of South Carolina. I really believe that that’s what cost Joe Cunningham his seat.

“And I can also tell you about the Senate here in South Carolina,” he continued. “Jaime Harrison started to plateau when ‘defund the police’ showed up with a caption on TV, ran across his head. That stuff hurt Jaime. And that’s why I spoke out against it a long time ago. I’ve always said that these headlines can kill a political effort.”

Mr. Clyburn made similar comments during a appearance the same morning on CNN’s “State of the Union,” saying he “very publicly and very forcibly” opposed sloganeering earlier this year and even discussed the dangers of the “defund the police” slogan with the late Rep. John Lewis, who died in July amid the George Floyd unrest.

“John Lewis and I were were founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee,” Mr. Clyburn said. “John and I sat on the House floor and talked about that ‘defund the police’ slogan, and both of us concluded that it had the possibilities of doing to the Black Lives Matter movement and current movements across the country what ‘Burn, baby, burn’ did to us back in 1960.

“We lost that movement over that slogan,” he continued. “And a lot of people don’t realize it, but John Lewis walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in February 1965. A year later, we got the Voting Rights Act out of that, six months later. And it wasn’t a year after that that John Lewis was ousted as chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. And so we saw the same thing happening here.”

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