Hillary Clinton has picked a fight with the NRA and Second Amendment supporters. It wasn’t necessary. From 1995 to 2012, the Democrats had shied away from public fights with the NRA because of the severe beating at the polls they took in 1994 following the Clinton “assault weapons” ban.
It can be argued that the the Democrats gained the presidency of Barack Obama, at least in part, because they stayed quiet on Second Amendment issues during his elections. But after being re-elected in 2012, Obama and the Democrats fiercely went after the NRA…and they lost big in the 2014 mid-terms.
Hillary must believe that the demographics have flipped in her favor. That she can attack the NRA, claim she respects the Second Amendment, and say that the Supreme Court was wrong in holding that the Second Amendment is an individual right — all at the same time — and gain votes.
Here is the clip where she says the enemy that she is most proud of making is the NRA.
Her problem is that she isn’t trusted nearly as much as is the NRA. Her favorability rating is between 10 and 20 points below that for the gun rights org. In spite of surveys that have been widely circulated in “progressive” circles, gun ownership is likely at some of the highest levels ever in the United States.
The other problem for Hillary is that Second Amendment supporters are highly motivated, often single-issue voters. Gun haters, on the other hand, typically aren’t nearly as motivated. They’re a much smaller group and virtually all part of the Democrat voting base already.
Trump, on the other hand, has consistently presented a pro-Second Amendment stance during his campaign. Yes, he has high unfavorables; but an NRA endorsement can work to raise him up against Hillary.
The extent to which the establishment media and Hillary’s (redundant, yes) allies are spinning her position on the NRA and the Second Amendment is extraordinary. Take Politifact, for example.
Statement: Says Hillary Clinton “doesn’t believe in your right to keep a gun at home for self-defense.”
Ruling: Clinton has never said that. The NRA cited a recording of her saying she disagreed with a Supreme Court case affirming some gun rights, but the same recording shows Clinton is clearly talking about concerns other than keeping a gun at home for self-defense. She specifically talks about someone going armed to a grocery store. We rate this claim False.
Politfact conveniently ignores that Hillary is a lawyer, and the Heller case didn’t rule on people going to the store with an AK-47. The case was about the right of the people to own guns in their homes for self defense. On that, she was perfectly clear:
“So I’m going to speak out. … The Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment, and I am going to make my case on that every chance I get.”
Politifact went on to claim that Hillary’s statement in 2015, long after the Heller decision in 2008, was the same as the Bush administration’s concerns about the case before it was decided. They argue that because President Bush could not have been against the right to self defense in the home before the decision was made (far from proven), Hillary’s statement years after the decision, which was all about the individual right to self defense in the home, could not be seen as opposing self defense in the home.
The argument makes no logical sense. Yet this is what passes for a defense of Hillary’s stand on the Second Amendment.
The NRA ad will resonate with voters. It’s not that the NRA has a direct quote of Hillary Clinton saying that she wants to confiscate all American’s guns in her first term. No one, at least until recently, would believe that Hillary would be so stupid as to say such a thing directly.
But very few believe what Hillary says any more. An increasing majority of the electorate believe that she is a liar with a long history of practice. When someone catches her in an unguarded moment saying that she believes the Supreme Court is wrong on their view of the Second Amendment, then they believe she’s being truthful.
If it comes to a choice between Hillary and the NRA, the NRA wins.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.