Who is the last great hope for Republicans in 2016 as they seek to maintain control of the Senate… and possibly the White House? One surprising answer is coming out of the annual convention of the NRA, and his name is Michael Bloomberg. The well monied former New York mayor and head honcho of Everytown for Gun Safety is holding his own event in Tennessee to focus attention on politicians who aren’t willing to sign on to ever increasing restrictions of the rights of gun owners. And it’s got some Democrats worried with good reason.
“Every time a Democrat starts talking about guns, they lose numbers because it is the Second Amendment,” said Dave “Mudcat” Saunders, a Democratic strategist and lifelong gun owner. “How many gun owners are there in America now? Look it up. There is a bunch of them, and anytime you start talking about guns, you are going to take from your numbers. So there is just less talk [about gun control] now than there has been in forever.”
They may not have a choice. Gun control groups, powered by potentially tens of millions of dollars from former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, vow to press the issue and force candidates to take a stand.
Indeed, the Bloomberg-funded Everytown for Gun Safety is holding an event on the sidelines of the NRA gathering at the Music City Center, with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and hundreds of gun safety advocates.
Any Democrat not in a completely safe state like New York or Connecticut has been getting increasingly nervous about gun control if they are up for election. That’s a sign of self-preservation, not paranoia, since one poll after another shows that Americans still rebel against restrictions on their fundamental Second Amendment rights. But Bloomberg has money and a big microphone. He intends to stay out there on the trail and put candidates in races at all levels under the microscope and demand that they take a stand. The ones who push back against him will face a lack of funding from his support network, if not a primary challenge. (The latter is far less likely since the Democrats tend to band together rather easily.)
This may be the best news that Republicans have seen in some time. For any close House and Senate races, assuming they can find somebody to sign on with Bloomberg and take their party’s nomination, this will be a black eye with measurable majorities in most of the country. But what about the White House? Where does Hillary stand on gun rights these days? Here’s one sample from just last year.
On Monday, during an interview on CNN Newsroom, Mrs. Clinton made clear that at age 66, she still hasn’t outgrown the zealotry of her youth. With anger characteristic of the political fringe, Mrs. Clinton said of gun control opponents, “We cannot let a minority of people–and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people–hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people.”
Mrs. Clinton was asked by a member of CNN’s TV studio audience “. . . as it pertains to school shootings. Do you think that reinstating the ban on assault weapons and banning high capacity magazines would do any good?” Mrs. Clinton responded “Yes, I do. I do.” As she went on, she twice confused semi-automatic firearms with “automatic” weapons.
Mrs. Clinton also said that she was “disappointed that Congress didn’t pass universal background checks in 2013.” Being that we hold the First Amendment in higher regard than Mrs. Clinton, we’ll say she’s entitled to her “viewpoint.”
Hillary is being hammered this weekend at the NRA convention and it’s not going to stop there. From the other side of the gun divide, people like Bloomberg will be pushing her to the Left, hoping to improve on the goose egg they scored with Barack Obama in the White House. Will she go for the bait? Or will she take her husband’s famous “third way” and find a way to triangulate her stand on gun rights? Let’s not forget that in 2008 she went on and on during her primary battle with Barack Obama about how she was a gun toting lass as a girl.
Which Hillary will we see this time? No matter which way she leans she’s going to be buying trouble, so get out the popcorn.