Alexander Bolton has a column at The Hill where he explores the question of whether or not the ascendant, hard left, liberal wing of the Democrats has finally pushed their part to a tipping point in the run-up to the next presidential election and how that might affect some downticket races as well. The main area he focuses on is the anti-arms race going on among Democrats as they each try to one-up each other on who would ban the most guns the fastest. But given the consistent poll numbers we’ve seen on the subject of gun rights, are they alienating a significant section of the general election audience and putting unwanted pressure on their Senate candidates in critical states?
There’s division within the Democratic Party over how aggressively to push gun control, an issue that is growing more urgent among the liberal base but threatens to hurt centrists running in battleground states.
While Democratic senators from liberal states such as Connecticut and Oregon are rolling out new gun control legislation in Washington, some strategists warn the issue could alienate pro-gun voters in key states such as Colorado, New Hampshire, Florida, Pennsylvania and Nevada.
But it could be difficult for Democratic Senate candidates to keep the gun issue at bay, given the rising fervor in the liberal base for action.
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley have tried to tap into the grassroots anger over gun violence, zeroing in on the issue during their first presidential debate.
The problem with the “swing states” is that almost all of them tend to swing toward gun rights, often heavily. The Democrats are going to have a serious messaging problem if a significant number of their candidates go off tone and start contradicting their presidential candidate on the campaign trail. But by the same token, if they toe the party line they’re going to give their GOP opponents a serious opening.
The overall issue of the Second Amendment isn’t the only place where the Warren Wing is pushing the party into potentially untenable territory. The SJW has got both Clinton and Sanders rushing to placate the Black Lives Matter movement, threatening to shut down their campaign events if they don’t mouth the correct catch phrases. (And frequently shutting them down anyway even if they do.) Getting into bed with that segment of the party may look great in the primary, but it’s going to cause trouble in the general election. Consistent polls show that Americans by and large still widely support the police.
Despite all the stories about police violence and bad behavior in federal law enforcement, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey shows that most Americans still trust the agencies tasked with upholding the nation’s laws.
Majorities of the poll respondents said they have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in their local police department and in police nationwide, as well as in the FBI. Americans were a bit less trusting of three other federal agencies, though around half expressed similar support for the CIA, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Secret Service.
Further, when the “protesters” get out of hand and go after the cops, national support for the movement plummets. Only 25% of respondents in a different poll felt that the riots in Baltimore “were sparked by legitimate grievances” while a very solid majority described them as criminal actions. It’s possible that the Democrats’ candidates have spent too much time watching the skewed views of reporters on MSNBC and CNN and came away thinking that theirs was some sort of national consensus view while nearly the exact opposite was the case.
In some ways this is a great popcorn moment for conservatives. It’s generally the GOP which is pegged as having their base drive their candidates too far from the center to win national elections. Unfortunately for the Democrats, overreach is a problem on both sides of the aisle and if they’re not careful they will find themselves stuck in the same trap they tried to set for the Republicans.