A ‘Dead Horse’ is nautical slang for debt that followed a sailor when he signed on as a crew-member of a ship. Maritime labor recruiters, called crimps, would deliver seamen to ships. Any debts owed would be paid to the crimp by the ship prior to sailing. This debt could include services bought on usurious credit terms from a boarding house, criminal penalties or even bogus ‘fees’ assessed by the crimps for their services.
The new crew-member’s wages would be used to pay off this debt in the ship’s ledger. The crew-member would only receive pay after his debt was paid in full. Thus sailors often found themselves working for weeks, or months, without pay – carrying a dead horse until their balance sheet was even. Incidentally, this practice didn’t end in the United States until the passage of the Seaman’s Act of 1915 (championed by Senator Robert La Follette, a Republican).
For the purposes of this essay, the Left is broadly defined here as the Democratic Party, the majority of main-stream media and virtually all of the Hollywood entertainment machine. Much like an indebted seaman signing on-board a ship, the current Left labors under the weight of a dead horse. In this case, the dead horse is the Democratic ‘old guard’, consisting of politicians like Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer.
The 2016 election was supposed to have been a coronation exercise for Clinton and her vast entourage. Who is, to paraphrase Barack Obama, the most qualified candidate ever. Like nearly all leftists, the old guard sees themselves as inherently superior. They are better educated, wealthier, smarter and more successful than other Americans. They, in their own minds, are uniquely qualified to chart a course for the nation.
They cannot concede the possibility of ever being wrong. If you disagree with them, it can only be due to your failings and limitations – never theirs. Think about the contempt and arrogance behind statements suggesting Trump voters are too stupid to recognize they voted against their own interests.
The 2016 electoral loss was a shock. Not only did they lose, but they lost to a man who they see as inferior. The leftist old guard are incapable of accepting any blame for this loss. The problem wasn’t an entrenched Democratic leadership out-of-touch with the American people. The problem was Donald Trump stole the election.
Even then, they can’t bring themselves to give Trump full credit for stealing the election. He only did it with the help of the Russians. More significantly for this coming November, they are intent on regaining personal control of the government. They want to collect what they see as their just reward. They are wholly unwilling to step aside and let a new generation take over. So the next generation labors, not for the future but, to pay the debts of the past. Normally in American political history, younger politicians would redefine the party by crafting a centrist and moderate message (much like Bill Clinton in the 1990’s).
But in 2018 America, that is not possible, because the Democrats are further handicapped by identity politics. Two key features of 21st Century identity politics are fanatical political correctness and the weaponization of moral equivalency. Combined, these effectively stifle free speech. Any deviation from the leftist narrative is immediately and viciously attacked.
Evidence of this can be seen in the reaction to Trevor Noah’s joke about indigenous Australian women – five years after the fact. Or, the suggestion that there is no material difference between ICE and the Gestapo. This outrage theater is a lethal threat to livelihoods. Budding politicians are safer erring to the left than risk running afoul of group-think.
So what does this have to do with guns? Because the old guard won’t step aside, younger Democrats who might opportunistically reject rabid anti-Trumpism, are left with few options. They can’t move to the center without being branded a racist, Trump supporter, or some other leftist code word for ‘not one of us’. If they toe the party line, they can’t hope for anything more than crumbs from the selfish party leaders.
The only way they can advance their personal cause is to out-flank party leadership by moving to the left. The old guard, in turn, can’t fight back, lest they fall victim to the outrage machine. All they can do is agree – and get pulled further away from the election-winning middle ground. Thus, the frenzy to enact gun control doesn’t appear to be dying down like it normally would in the run-up to an important election.
Gun control is a losing position to take in a national election. Gun control is popular in the Left’s urban core. Outside that core, not so much, despite all the (highly questionable) surveys that say otherwise. Smart Democrats know this. As evidenced by the recording of New York Congressional Democratic candidate Tedra Cobb urging teen supporters to keep quiet about gun control, while also assuring them she would change her views if elected.
The teen activism that emerged from the Parkland shooting seems to have a resiliency not found in the aftermath of other similar horrible events. The left made great use of the tragedy to cause real short-term damage to the Republican party. This movement was threatening enough that Republicans rushed legislative responses in otherwise highly unlikely states.
For now, the further erosion of the individual right to keep and bear arms seems certain. Indeed, national concealed carry reciprocity and deregulation of silencers are both dead for now. This despite the fact that H.R. 38: Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act passed in the House and was publicly supported by Trump just days before the Parkland Shooting.
After the shooting, establishment Republicans quickly shifted away from scaling back infringements on 2nd Amendment protected rights. Instead, they hopped onto the anti-gun bandwagon by supporting measures such as Red-Flag laws that allow confiscation of guns with minimal due process.
But friends, fear not! The good news for our gun rights is that the Democratic Party and their supporters in mainstream media are still carrying their dead horse of a selfish old guard. This debt will not be paid prior to the elections in November. Frankly, if I was a Democrat, I would be pessimistic about the party’s ability to get rid of their dead horse before the 2020 elections.
Each new David Hogg or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez looking to make a name for themselves has only one way to go – even further to the left, and thus further from electability in toss-up districts. In the mean-time thank your higher power of choice that the Democratic old-guard is busy eating their own young, instead of picking federal judges.
Personally I do not like Trump. In fact, as a man of principle, I abhor him. Yet, every day I thank my Christian god that he is our president. Trump is the president we needed, not the president we wanted. Tough medicine for a nasty disease. As for Hillary in 2020….please run. To quote John Oliver, “I will write you a check…do it”.