THE TRACE.COM – September 9, 2020 – Every election, the National Rifle Association issues letter grades to hundreds of candidates running for federal office.
A decade ago, these ratings reflected bipartisan support for the gun group’s agenda, but newly released grades for the 2020 election offer a snapshot of America’s widening political polarization.
A lone Democratic House candidate and no Democratic Senate candidates received A grades from the NRA this year, while 92 percent flunked. It’s a dramatic departure from 2010, when more than a quarter of Democrats received A’s.
Meanwhile, the share of Republicans with A’s this year is virtually unchanged from past elections, at 94 percent. And the share receiving F’s has fallen to nearly 1 percent, after a slight uptick in 2018.
Once a coveted designation that could make or break a campaign, the NRA’s grading system is now mostly a reflection of the country’s ideological divide. The NRA defines an A-worthy candidate as a “solidly pro-gun candidate… with a demonstrated record of support on Second Amendment issues.”
Meanwhile, the recipient of an F is “a consistent anti-gun candidate who always opposes gun owners’ rights.”
Amid widespread calls for gun reform following the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the NRA pulled records of its past grades from its website. Everytown for Gun Safety then released an archive of grades spanning 2009 through 2016. (Everytown provides funding to The Trace. Read our editorial independence policy here.)
Combined with The Trace’s 2018 grades archive, these past grades allow us to see how the NRA’s favor has shifted over time. [Read Source Full Article]