When was the last time that gun violence was a defining issue in a national political campaign? Never. The stories still circulate about how the NRA knocked off Al Gore in the 2000 election, but whether or not that was true, neither Bush nor Gore ever went strong for or against the gun vote per se.
But this time it’s different. Hillary has used gun violence quite effectively against ‘crazy’ Bernie, and she’s evidently going to carry this strategy over to the general election against the Shlump. That is, if she’s the candidate. Which is why I referred above to the Senator from Vermont in the vernacular. Who knows? It’s been an altogether different kind of campaign.
And one of the major differences is the degree to which guns figure so prominently in the campaign rhetoric on both sides. It started with Trump who began boasting of his love affair with the 2nd Amendment following the murder of two television journalists in Virginia; the issue was then ramped up by Hillary after the killings at Umpqua CC. Trump now routinely tells his adoring fans that he’ll scrap gun-free zones on ‘day one,’ even though an Executive Order cannot be used to change Federal law (parenthetically, the failure of the ‘mainstream’ media to vigorously attack Shlump-o for his outright and endless lying is an absolute disgrace for which they should all be fired); Hillary will no doubt put expanded background checks at the top of her legislative agenda.
As might be expected, the NRA is going all-out to promote themselves and their members as the first line of defense against a new wave of gun grabbing promoted by Hillary and her friends. Do I get a daily email from Chris Cox reminding me how critical it is to donate to the NRA-ILA so that friendly, pro-gun politicians can get elected or re-elected on November 8th? Is New York a city?
I also get appeals from Brady and other GVP organizations to support their work, but the increasingly belligerent rhetoric about gun ‘rights’ employed by the Shlump campaign goes unnoticed and unmentioned. The last two fundraising communications from GVP organizations talked about conducting a ‘reasoned conversation’ and asking Congress “to take immediate action to pass commonsense gun safety measures.” Neither mentioned that Trump is going around the country saying that he’ll sign a 50-state, reciprocal CCW law.
So folks, let me break the news to you gently. If Republicans retain control of Congress and President Shlump is installed at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, I guarantee you that such a bill will be on his Oval Office desk within 30 days. At which point, when it comes to ‘sensible’ GVP regulations, or any other efforts to reduce gun violence, no matter how politely you package it, the gig is up.
And don’t make the mistake of thinking that once the nominating conventions are over, that you can use the specter of that wavy-haired jerk in the White House as a good fundraising device, because you’ll have too much competition on that playing field as well. For every GVP money request I currently receive, I get at least five from crazy Bernie and just as many or more from the Clinton campaign. And the folks running for local and statewide races both in my state and other states haven’t even started to gear up.
I don’t sit on the inside of any GVP organization so maybe I don’t really know what’s going on. But what I hope is going on is a discussion about the Trump menace not within each GVP organization but between organizations. Because if the GVP community doesn’t get together, plan and implement a united strategy that can maximize resources in the struggle against what is certainly a united effort on the other side, then the NRA might again take credit for the results of another national election and their candidate will owe them big time. Think about that.