March 1, 2017 — During the past two years we often heard many complaints about the politics of guns: “Why are Trump and Hillary always talking about the Second Amendment?” was a constant refrain during the nearly two years of the campaign.
An interesting question, no doubt. But it wasn’t the only question on the minds of partisan voters; which prompts the following question: What was? Here are the choices according to Pew Research:
• Immigration (6) • Trade (11) • Obamacare repeal (4) • Economy (1) • Supreme Court (9) • Climate Change (12) • Foreign policy (3) • Guns (5) • Abortion (13) • Terrorism (2) • Education (8) • LGBTQ (14) • Racial Equality (10) • Social Security (7)
And you thought Immigration (The Wall) would be the winner, didn’t you? The Economy received the strongest multiplier vote (which delivered so many blue collar union Democrats to Trump). Terrorism (from which Americans wanted protection) can be related to the gun vote while Foreign policy is ISIS-(and gun) related. Then came Americans’ distrust in Obamacare, followed by the hottest debate of all…guns.
What’s missing from the list? Crime. We’ve all heard much about the FBI’s statistics that crime is at a low ebb in the U.S. while gun ownership is at an all-time high record level. Self-protection, however, can be directly equated to not just crime but to terrorism. But maybe the most startling revelation was directly aimed at the Supreme Court where gun owners hold out hopes to put the ‘Scalia Court’ back on track, which was in many minds the top-of-the-heap agenda wish of the election.
Gun advocates are in some ways a curious bunch. They’re not all Republicans, which completely destroys the political gun control debate. The unrecognized fact? There are lots and lots of conservative gun-owning Democrats. Just because they belong to the same party as Hillary doesn’t make them passengers on her gun control band wagon. They were Democrats left over from an earlier time when the party was more concerned about personal liberty than civil liberty and, as younger union workers joined the ranks of the employed – and now un- or under-employed, grabbed on to the Trump message of making America as they remembered it great once again.
Just as Republicans went through their own political purgatory post-Reagan, the Democrats are now paying the price for ignoring their base constituency which, surprisingly, was too far left to secure the affiliation of those hard working blue collar troops who then fled to Trump. Republicans, on the other hand, stressed establishmentarianism but buckled under the sheer weight of Trump’s Tower. Democrats lost 11 Senate seats, 63 House seats, 12 Governorships, and 946 State Legislative seats.
Re-enter guns to the debate. The NRA’s own analysis of establishment-based party-switching opened the door for their endorsement of Trump far ahead of their appearance together at last year’s NRA Annual Meeting and Expo and brought with them a very heavy checkbook from which they extracted some $30 million dollars to back Trump and assure that Clinton would go down in flames. Yes, guns were victorious, far moreso than either party establishments recognized.
Securing the Supreme Court was vital to the NRA strategy where with a win they could consider the $30 million investment well spent and recoverable over time, and they’ll need to refresh their treasury to help fight off the multitude of state laws, regulations, initiatives and other anti-gun efforts pushed by the Demanding Moms, the Brady’s, the assorted bogus ‘gun violence’ prevention ‘centers’ and other challenges yet to come.
Meanwhile, the expected re-emergence of Barack Obama threatens to re-stimulate the gun debate but, this time, we have to wonder if Trump will reach back for the long gun. The long gun? We define it as a delicious opportunity to threaten a re-opening of Fast & Furious. Still stuck in our craw is how then-AG Eric Holder and then-President Barack Obama got away with one of the biggest criminal cover-up stories of the past decade. Both are ready to emerge on the political battlefield; Holder, hired by California to defend the state against various issues including, according to Fox News, a battle with the state’s contentious Republicans “who in 2012 voted to hold him in contempt of Congress for not turning over documents on the Fast and Furious ‘gun-walking’ scandal,” and Obama to counter Trump on just about everything. Now would be the perfect time for Trump to make that threat since California gun owners have many anti-gun issues to fight in coming Supreme Court hearings.
There’s no escaping the conclusion that guns have become as big a political issue as any other and, if you’re going to fight for gun rights in 2017 and beyond, Fast & Furious is as good a place as any to start.