If you had told me back last year that a Democrat could win a special Congressional election in a Pennsylvania district that Trump carried by 20 points, I would have grabbed the kool aid glass out of your hands before you drank enough to do yourself in. But it happened, and even though the outcome may have been somewhat based on the fact that the GOP ran a candidate who was even dumber than Betsy DeVos, things begin to look very interesting for November 6, 2018.
Is Trump’s inability to get his personal poll numbers above 40% going to be a drag on red candidates in races for the Senate and the House? November is still a long way off, but the momentum is clearly with the blue team, which means that the various constituencies that make up the Democratic Party coalition better start getting their messaging together because what they say in red districts may really count.
One of those constituencies is the gun violence prevention (GVP) movement, whose voice has taken on new strength and resonance since the shooting rampages at Las Vegas and Stoneman Douglas High. And if you think that GOP candidates have decided to tone down their rhetoric following these shootings, think again. In Maine, the GOP candidate for the state legislature called Emma Gonzalez, one of the Parkland student survivors, a ‘skinhead lesbian,’ and even though he later apologized for the remark, what kind of schmuck would say something like that to begin his political campaign?
The Maine GOP idiot happens to be a Life Member of the NRA. What his comment tells us is that the GOP will pull out every stop to demonize the other side going into November, and one of their biggest stops has always been the idea that if we elect Democrats to office, the first thing they’ll do, even before raising taxes, is take away all the guns. I happen to be a Life Endowment Patriot member of the NRA, so I get fundraising appeals from Fairfax every day. Here’s what Wayne-o had to say this morning about the Pennsylvania vote: “It’s all part of a hate-filled campaign aimed at grabbing veto-proof majorities in the U.S. House and Senate this year. If that happens, gun control will be at the top of the agenda – registration, licensing, semi-auto bans and ultimately, the final destruction of our Right to Keep and Bear Arms.”
To make Wayne-o’s nightmare come true, the blue team not only has to keep all their current seats in the W column, they also have to grab vulnerable seats currently held by the other side. And I guarantee you that the GOP narrative in the toss-up districts will lean heavily on the issue of guns. What else do they have to run on? The tax cut? Trump’s hair-do? The GVP may not be comfortable with campaign ads like the first one run by Conor Lamb which showed him blasting away with an AR-15, but when the GOP pushes the lie about ‘protecting’ 2nd-Amendment ‘rights,’ you do what you gotta do.
Maybe what the GVP should consider bringing to the November election is not a referendum on guns, but a referendum on the NRA. Frankly, when a 16-year old schoolgirl gets a larger Twitter following than either Wayne-o or Dana Loesch, something is happening out there regarding the value of the NRA brand. And having backed themselves into an extremely crazy, ultra-nationalist rhetorical corner, running ads with a Democratic candidate chastising his opponent for subscribing to such loony views might make sense.
The good news for the blue team and the GVP is that America’s ‘first civil rights organization’ can’t turn around and suddenly present themselves as some kind of moderate group just trying to find a balance between the risks versus the benefits of guns. Wayne-o may have thought that backing Trump was a smart move for the NRA, but it’s not looking so smart any more.