If I were a Democrat, this would alarm me. Biden’s behavior here is extraordinary, especially given that he is currently previewing the “return to normalcy” theme that he intends to run on in November. One might think that telling a voter that he is “full of s***” and that you will “slap them” matters less than it usually would given that Donald Trump is in the White House. But, arguably, the opposite is true. Elections are about contrasts. If he is as belligerent and ill-disciplined as the incumbent, what is Biden’s case for replacing him?
In this instance, the answer seems to be that, unlike Trump, Biden will usher in stricter gun control. But that, too, should alarm Democrats. If Biden now has a reputation as a champion of gun confiscation — and if construction workers in Michigan are asking him about it, it suggests he does — he is going to have a hard time winning back the voters that Trump peeled away from the Obama coalition. Barack Obama didn’t say much about guns at all until his second term had begun, and, once he did, he presided over the loss of the Senate, the loss of the White House, and a record-breaking period of civilian firearms sales. Judging by their rhetoric, Democrats seem to believe that the center of gravity has changed on this question since then. But the evidence for this is scant. The State of Virginia is run solely by Democrats — Democrats who were bankrolled by Michael Bloomberg and who promised to pass restrictive gun control as their first priority. They failed, and sparked a massive backlash in the process. Do we think the playing field looks different in Michigan?