Michelle Nunn, Jason Carter & others..ARE YOU LISTENING???
When a lawmaker confronts a given issue, it's in their own interest and the interest of their constituency to do a cost-benefit analysis. Is it worth the fight? Will there be sufficient policy upside to spending political capital in pursuit of reform on a given issue. Back in 2009, I didn't think cap and trade was worth the risk. Congressman Sanford Bishop (D-Albany) narrowly escaped with a victory over Mike Keown because of issues such as Cap and Trade. The public only cares about climate change in the abstract, so if lawmakers were to ask for financial or lifestyle sacrifice from the masses in pursuit of keeping the planet livable for the human race a little longer, it would be far more sacrifice than the public was willing to endure. And even for those who believe it's worth the political risk to save the planet, how much can be gained when the rest of the globe refuses to play along?
Being a pro-gun democrat, I'm torn on this issue as I believe law-abiding citizens should not be penalized for gun ownership. On the other hand, the gun rights crowd presents such delusional and unpersuasive arguments on their own behalf, they make themselves impossible to defend. No sane person's interpretation of the Second Amendment justifies limitless weaponization with no regulations whatsoever. Still, the gun fetish has consumed the good sense of many millions of Americans, and there will undeniably be political retribution for crossing them.
Would it be worth it for the Democrats to throw away this constituency in which some base their vote entirely on one issue such as guns? In my mind, it's an unequivocal no, even though I don't disagree with specific legislative goals of toughening background checks.
The majority that supports gun control is a mile wide and an inch deep, and the issue is extremely low intensity for just about everybody on the gun control side of the persuasion. But when it comes to the gun rights crowd, there is no higher priority in life for them than firearms lawlessness. And the lopsided intensity on the side of the gun rights crowd means huge financial contributions to gun-rights candidates and special interests, along with a full-throttle turnout at the polls in future election cycles by people convinced ATF agents will soon be going door to door to take away their hunting rifles. And like it or not, gun rights advocates do a terrific job at turning out at the polls during election time because they are passionate about the right to bear arms and so am I.
Millions of voters who would be receptive to the Democrats' message on saving Social Security and Medicare, or on pressuring the business community to reverse decades of wage and benefit declines amidst an increasingly stratified income disparity in this country, will tune all of that out and hitch their wagon to those shouting the loudest about guns and that is also another fact!
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