Ever since the NRA decided to endorse Trump back in April and pour an unprecedented amount of money into television advertising for his campaign, the question as to what effect this will have on the November 8th outcome is up for grabs. Because when it comes to embracing gun rights as a cornerstone of the GOP’s 2016 effort, there has never been another Presidential candidate who has paid so much attention to guns.
In 2008 McCain left the gun issue to his Daffy Duck running mate who more than once indicated that she didn’t know one end of a gun from another; in the 2012 election cycle Romney may have actually held a shotgun once or maybe not at all. But Trump injected the most extreme, pro-gun nonsense into his campaign from the very start, announcing his support for national concealed-carry back in June, 2015. And of course like most stupid and dangerous things he has said over the past several years, he has never explained what he meant when he assigned a ‘stop Hillary’ task to the supporters of 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’
Last week I received an email from the NRA Political Victory Fund whose link took me to a website where I could sign up to get involved in the Trump campaign. My state listed two campaign coordinators, but that was no surprise, because I happen to live in a state – Massachusetts – which is not considered a ‘gun-rich’ state. But then I looked at the list of election coordinators in North Carolina, a swing state that is heavily into guns, and the NRA has a whole, big three coordinators listed for the Tarheel State and in Florida, the Gunshine State, the website listed – none! That’s right, a state that Trump must win on Tuesday doesn’t have a single person who, according to the NRA, is helping to get out the vote.
No maybe the NRA knows something I don’t; maybe their television ads are so powerful, so compelling, so dynamic that they don’t need to run a GOTV campaign at all. On the other hand, you can’t tell me that a 30-second television ad which will probably play while you’re taking a leak or grabbing a snack before the next episode of The Walking Dead or Scorpion has anywhere near the impact of a telephone conversation or a discussion with someone standing at your front door. I can understand why the NRA doesn’t have a campaign coordinator working in North Dakota. Hell, even the cows in North Dakota will vote for Trump and Pence. But Florida – nobody in Florida?
Meanwhile, want to knock on a few doors for Hillary? If you live in Miami, here are three locations within easy driving distance where you can go to get involved. If you’re a resident of Raleigh, NC, you can pick up your canvassing materials in Danville, Greenville or Rocky Mount. Let me tell you something about Rocky Mount. I guarantee there isn’t a single resident in that town who doesn’t own a gun and it’s Hillary, not Trump who’s got feet there on the ground.
I know three couples my age, which means we were liberals back in the 1960’s before there was anything as insulting and demeaning as Fox News, who will be spending the next several days canvassing in Nevada, New Hampshire and PA. None of them feel confident about Hillary’ slight lead, none of them feel that they can afford to stay home in the run-up to this election, none of them want to see an angry and vindictive Trump administration defining the politics of the next four years.
And I have to believe that if I know three couples like this, that there are many more folks who feel the same way. So if the NRA wants to believe that their bombast and anti-Hillary bullshit are uniting the faithful that’s fine, but what they may have done instead is awakened lots of folks to the dangers of Trump, which couldn’t be money better spent.