After the Las Vegas shooting last year, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee issued an email warning candidates not to politicize the attack, at least not immediately. The email containing the advice was published today by HuffPost and, as you can imagine, activists and some Democrats are not happy about it:
The morning after the Oct. 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas, a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s press staff warned House candidates and their staffs not to “politicize” the shooting that day. Politicization, according to the DCCC official, included talking about gun violence prevention policy.
“You and your candidate will be understandably outraged and upset, as will your community. However, DO NOT POLITICIZE IT TODAY,” DCCC regional press secretary Evan Lukaske wrote to candidates in the Northeast. “There will be time for politics and policy discussion, but any message today should be on offering thoughts/prayers for victims and their families, and thanking 1st responders who saved lives.”…
Gun violence prevention activists said they were disappointed the DCCC was advising candidates not to aggressively talk about policy solutions as often as possible. Ladd Everitt, director of the gun violence prevention group One Pulse for America, described the DCCC email as “pathetic.” Mark Glaze, senior adviser to the group Guns Down, said it was “straight out of the NRA’s talking points.”
“If the DCCC is willing to give up a key issue and offend virtually every Democrat so as not to bother eight Independents in rural Missouri, they’re even more incompetent than we thought, and Democrats should be very worried about the midterms,” Glaze said.
If you spend any time on social media, you’ve probably already seen the pushback against “thoughts and prayers” in response to a mass shooting. For instance:
To my colleagues: your cowardice to act cannot be whitewashed by thoughts and prayers.
None of this ends unless we do something to stop it.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) October 2, 2017
By that standard, the DCCC are cowards recommending their own candidates act like cowards. Here’s another meme that’s become popular on the left:
Your thoughts and prayers arriving via express garbage truck, Pence! How much soap does it take to was the NRA blood money off your hands? pic.twitter.com/dtVRb1Tlvc
— George Wilson (@georgew32951) February 15, 2018
HuffPost reports the DCCC would not say whether they had sent out a similar email after the Parkland shooting but pointed out that candidates were free to ignore their advice.
I don’t know who leaked this to HuffPost but it’s probably a safe bet it was someone who would like to see the DCCC take a more activist stance on this issue in 2018. As I noted yesterday, a majority of Democrats in the House seem ready to go all in on this message, promising to ban semi-automatic weapons in exchange for electoral victory.