“Although guns are likely to be a hot topic of discussion among Democratic campaigns and even voters in the months ahead,” Stuart Rothenberg writes at washingtonpost.com, “there is no reason to believe that gun control, in any form, will be a decisive election issue in November.”
Really? Has Mr. Rotherberg forgotten the impact of gun control initiatives on Al Gore’s ill-fated run for President in 2000, where he lost his home state in the general election? Or the Republican’s rout of the Dems in the ’94 election?
A quick Google searching reveals a 2009 New York Times article The Deadly Myth of Gun Control in Electoral Politics. Well they would say that wouldn’t they? But the Gray Lady’s editorial board also relates the Gore debacle and President Clinton’s analysis of gun control’s impact on the ’94 election.
Mr. Gore’s bigger Tennessee problem was his failure to seriously compete there by providing adequate resources to answer N.R.A. distortions, for instance, and matching George W. Bush’s numerous visits. Largely obscured by the 2000 presidential drama was the loss in Florida’s Senate race of an N.R.A. stalwart, Bill McCollum, to a consistent Democratic supporter of gun control, Bill Nelson.
“The N.R.A. could rightly claim to have made Gingrich the House speaker,” Mr. Clinton wrote in his 2004 autobiography, pumping up the gun lobby and, not incidentally, himself by attributing the body blow to his party to his principled leadership on guns . . .
None of this gets a mention in Mr. Rotherberg’s analysis. He also fails to consider what’s called “the enthusiasm gap.” While it’s true that most voters cast their ballot along party lines — come what may — gun rights supporters are, unlike their anti-gun adversaries, to a great degree, single-issue voters.
Equally important, they vote. Unlike millions who will stay home during the next election, gun voters will hold their nose, cover their eyes, block their ears and vote for Donald Trump. And against local legislators who trample on their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.
Even if Democrat candidates, journalists and TV talking heads talk about guns and gun control every day from now to November — and even if House Democrats stage more protests — it’s very unlikely that those things will make gun control any more decisive an issue than it has been.
Actually, I beg to differ. The more legislators agitate for gun control, the worse their election chances. Put another way, those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.