Gun control may not be the “third rail” of politics everyone is afraid of anymore, but precious few Democrats who are in a fight for reelection are willing to plant their flag on it.
It’s easy for firebrands in leftist hotbeds to talk about banning this or that. The trick is for swing state Democratic candidates like those in Arizona and Georgia to sooth the party’s more vocal radicals while not taking stands that will cost them the midterm elections.
Make no mistake, nearly all on the left talk a good game on gun control. This faction rallies for this and that faction for that, but the electoral wave that will wash over the party if it strips 2nd Amendment constitutional rights is clear.
For the record, former President Barack Obama had eight years to push gun control through, not to mention control of both congressional houses for two of those years. How many significant gun control measures did he enact?
Consider the pivotal U.S. Senate race in Georgia between Democratic incumbent Rev. Raphael Warnock and GOP challenger Herschel Walker. One Democratic strategist notes the precarious position of Warnock in a state that until two years ago was decidedly red.
With a nudge on an issue like gun control, the state’s voters may send Warnock and 2018 gubernatorial loser Stacey Abrams packing for their next jobs at MSNBC.
Arizona is another great example of the fine line Democrats walk in key states. Former astronaut and current U.S. Senator Mark Kelly has a front row seat to the debate. His wife, former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Gifforts, was severely wounded by an assailant in 2011.
Both are gun control advocates, but even in this reactionary wave following tragic events of the past few weeks, Kelly chooses his words carefully. While expressing outrage and calling for action, he proposes what he calls “common sense” reforms that are “bipartisan.”
This is a far cry from the shriekings of leftist lawmakers comfy in liberal coastal havens. The reason? Years upon years of examples.
Take Al Gore. The Democrat was a solid supporter of gun rights, right up until he wasn’t. As a southerner, Gore’s rabid conversion to the gun control lobby is credited by many for his humiliating loss in his home state of Tennessee.
His home state. He even lost his home congressional district.
His opponent, George W. Bush, carried his Texas home with 59% of the vote. And while Florida’s hanging chads got all the attention, if Gore simply won the vote from his friends and neighbors, the Sunshine State becomes irrelevant.
The culprit? Many blame his public conversion to gun control advocacy. Gore’s loss served as a warning for fellow Democrats for the next decade and beyond. And while those in New York and California are safe in calling for restrictions and outright bans, others continue to tread carefully.