Ever since Hillary broke Bill’s taboo on making guns a campaign issue, I began to fantasize about the possibility that, for the first time of all time, guns might become a major issue in a Presidential election. In other words, what might be in the offing for November would be a national plebiscite about guns.
But then a strange thing happened, because all of a sudden Hillary wasn’t waiting for the general election to push her gun agenda against red blowhards like Cruz or Trump; in fact, she was using the gun issue to shore up her path to the Democratic nomination itself. And the reason she was doing this was that every time there was a mass shooting, she could remind Democratic voters that her opponent from Vermont voted for the 2005 law that gave gun makers immunity from wrongful-death suits. In fairness to Bernie, it should be pointed out that he also voted against the invasion of Iraq whereas Hillary followed the herd and voted the other way. Okay, so even if maybe she tried to steal the White House silverware, she’s not exactly Caesar’s wife.
Today there is a great article in The Trace that examines in detail how the Clinton campaign is using the gun issue to round up more delegate votes. Turns out that she’s hired a consulting firm that specializes in identifying different demographic groups that might respond to a particular campaign message crafted either from the Left or the Right. And it further turns out that, based on their model of where gun owners tend to live, that Hillary’s strong gun-control stance will apparently resonate in areas of upcoming primary states which will deliver a majority of the delegates that she needs in order to wrap things up before the big deal in Philadelphia on July 25th.
Of course, as Dan Friedman points out, the same Hillary Clinton who is taking such a courageous stance on gun control in 2016 was the self-same Hillary Clinton who exhibited a much more compassionate and reassuring stance towards gun owners after the Bomber uttered his infamous ‘clinging’ comment about guns and religion back in 2008. To counteract Barack’s strength among urban voters leading up to the Pennsylvania primary, Hillary tried to shore up the rural vote by backing off a previous stand that favored a national handgun registry; she also helped push the ‘more human’ Hillary image with stories about hunting with Dad.
If Hillary’s campaign managers had wanted to save themselves lots of money this time around, they didn’t have to hire a fancy-schmancy consulting firm to tell them where Democratic voters live who would be receptive to her new-found concern about guns. All they needed to do was look at a map that broke down the 2012 election returns on a county-by-county basis and the counties that are colored the darkest blue are where most of the gun-control populations tend to live.
And where are these counties located? In the larger, urban areas with large minority communities where Hillary tends to do well. And since urban counties usually have much larger populations than the less-populated rural areas where support for Hillary often fades, a strong message about gun violence could net her more delegates than Bernie even if the popular vote remains fairly split. New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, California, New Jersey – five states with large, urban populations coming up. These states alone award over 1,200 delegates and if Clinton can grab the bulk of the highly-populated county delegates by pushing a gun-control agenda, who would argue with that?
But the real issue is looking past July to see whether the gun issue can be sustained in a general election against one of the hare-brained red jerks. Because when it comes to guns, Hillary might have the cities, but gun control certainly isn’t a winner in rural areas and may not be an advantage in the suburbs. And guess what? A majority of Americans live in the burbs.