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PA – OPINION – Breaking down the politics of the gun issue

Mass shootings always evoke the same responses: horror, sadness, anger, “thoughts and prayers,” and calls for action. Most think that last point can only be achieved through political action. In that regard, and given the stakes of the 2020 election, let’s analyze which side might come out ahead. 1) The biggest advantage swings to Republicans, because the cardinal rules of electoral politics favor them: motivation and turnout. The “gun-control, ban-assault-weapons” crowd can be mad as hell, but if their turnout is low, their passions are irrelevant. In particular, that applies to Millennials, who skew Democratic and prefer gun control, but typically vote in lower numbers than the national average. Even though there was an uptick in Millennial voting in the 2018 midterms, it still wasn’t enough to keep Republicans from gaining in the U.S. Senate. (And GOP losses in the House were on par with the historical average). Whether increased Millennial participation carries through to 2020 is anyone’s guess, but if history is a guide, Democrats shouldn’t count on it. And that brings us to motivation – a definite edge for the pro-gun side. Democratic leaders promise a president and Congress who will pass stricter gun laws, but, fact is, gun control is not a priority election issue for most Democrats, Independents and undecideds. Contrast that to a significant chunk of Republicans for whom guns rank as their first, second and only issue. Preservation of the Second Amendment is their utmost political passion, and they will always vote. The only crack in that solidarity would be if they perceive that Republicans “caved” on gun rights, such as passing a gun ban. At that point, all bets are off, as that bloc would seek electoral retribution against the offending “RINOs” (Republicans In Name Only). Advantage: Republicans.  [full article]

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