Those numbers will come as no surprise to you or me, and probably as no surprise to lefties either. But they may come as a surprise to the media, which seems to be all-in on the theory that the Parkland students are leading a national popular awakening to the evils of guns and changing the politics of the issue forever.
Could be. We can’t assume too much about national opinion from the composition of a march, which will always draw more activists than regular voters. But here’s one data point about whether Something Has Changed: The marchers as a whole didn’t look like America and they weren’t all that focused on gun control.
Participants were also more likely than those at recent marches to be first-time protesters. About 27 percent of participants at the March for Our Lives had never protested before. This group was less politically engaged in general: Only about a third of them had contacted an elected official in the past year, while about three-quarters of the more seasoned protesters had.
Even more interesting, the new protesters were less motivated by the issue of gun control. In fact, only 12 percent of the people who were new to protesting reported that they were motivated to join the march because of the gun-control issue, compared with 60 percent of the participants with experience protesting…
March for Our Lives protesters were also more likely to identify as ideologically moderate. About 16 percent did so, higher than at any other protest event since the inauguration. But unsurprisingly, it was still a very liberal crowd: 79 percent identified as “left-leaning” and 89 percent reported voting for Hillary Clinton.
Check my math, but between the new protesters and the experienced protesters, it looks like a shade under 50 percent claimed to have showed up for gun control. This was, in other words, as much a “Resistance” march as it was about guns. (Dana Fisher, the sociology professor who surveyed the marchers, is writing a book called “American Resistance,” go figure.) New protesters were particularly disinterested in gun issues, comparatively speaking: 56 percent of them said they showed up for “peace” and 42 percent claimed they were there to protest POTUS. For many newbies, this was more about being anti-Trump than about being anti-gun.
And just 10 percent were under 18, according to Fisher, another counterpoint to the media narrative that the Parkland students are leading an uprising of kids to do what liberal adults have tried and failed to do for decades. In fact, not only were the marchers not young, they were unusually old with an average just short of 49, which Fisher claims is higher than the average at most rallies she’s measured. The marchers were also overwhelmingly female at 70 percent and well educated, with 72 percent having a B.A. It was, in other words, on average a march by middle-aged professional women. That’s an important voter bloc but not a mirror held up to the electorate’s face.
[R]eports from the Federal Election Commission show donations to the NRA’s Political Victory Fund tripled from January to February.
In January, the NRA collected almost $248,000 in individual contributions. In February, they collected more than $779,000…
Since the Parkland shooting happened in the middle of the month, one could argue the relationship between it and the spike in donations is hard to prove.
However, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political spending, tracked itemized contributions (donations of $200 or more by an individual) in the days before and after the shooting. According to their data, in the two weeks after the shooting, itemized contributions to the NRA doubled from the previous two weeks.
Here again you can’t extrapolate too much from a single data point. Gun-rights supporters always double down after a mass shooting for fear that the anti-gun backlash might just succeed this time and turn into new state or federal regulations. Gotta buy those guns while you still can. This time is noteworthy, though, because Republicans control Congress and the White House, leaving the risk of a new federal “assault weapons” ban anytime soon at precisely zero. If there’s no near-term threat of losing your guns, why plow money into the NRA to protect them?
I think it’s because gun-rights supporters feel attacked and scapegoated to an unusual degree since the Parkland shooting. The NRA is always the evil mastermind in lefty narratives after mass shootings but some of the rhetoric, including and especially from the Parkland students themselves, has laid the blame for the murders directly on the organization and, by extension, its supporters. According to David Hogg, Marco Rubio’s original political sin is accepting money from the NRA; no amount of legislation he proposes now can atone for that. Rubio was explicitly compared to the Parkland shooter himself at that town hall/lynch mob CNN hosted, again because of his relationship with the organization. How can you watch that as a gun-rights supporter and not take offense at the suggestion that if you support a lobby group for gun rights for law-abiding people you have the blood of children on your filthy hands? What else can you do when you’re told that you’re a “bad guy” for objecting to being called a baby-killer by a teenager? Of course many are going to show solidarity by donating to the NRA.
Anyway. Whether or not the new gun-control push fizzles like every other gun-control push in the last 20 years, CNN will always have this. Total pwnage.
— CNN (@CNN) March 29, 2018