In traditional Democratic media and particularly today’s New York Times you can find a raft of misleading statements about the success of gun control in the mid-term elections. The Times tries to somehow paint the near defeat of Colorado’s centrist governor, the loss of the Colorado Senate to Republicans, the narrowing of the Democrats margin of control in the Colorado House, the embarrassing drubbing of Andrew Romanoff to Mike Coffman in what was thought to be a big Democratic opportunity, and the defeat of almost every contested statewide Democrat as no big deal. It does so by narrowly focusing on the replacement of two Republicans in traditional Democratic seats where Republicans had previously recalled two pro-gun control candidates last year. It ignores the third recall seat effort which forced the resignation of Colorado’s principal gun control advocate in the State Senate, Evie Hudak. That swing-seat in the Denver suburbs so crucial to Democrats in any election also went Republican two weeks ago.
Gun control hurt Democrats in Colorado. Denying it is a delusion that helps ensure further losses for the party in two years. The election returned an overwhelming tide of Republican governors and state legislators nationally. Gun control is a loser for Democrats outside Democratic strongholds.
Activists are trumpeting the Washington State initiative that imposed a background check on gun buyers at gun shows, in private sales, and over the Internet. As followers of this issue know, gun control advocates have harangued the nation that 92% of Americans support this type of gun control. Yet in Washington State this initiative passed by 59%. As with so much polling prior to the election, support for the Democratic position was overstated for what should be the easiest gun control measure to pass into legislation.
If you can only get a 59% vote in a deeply blue state such as Washington, how can you ever win in the South? If you can only get a 59% vote in a deeply blue state, how do you ever win in the Rocky Mountain West?
Gun control is an albatross for Democrats in red and purple states – that was the unambiguous message of the election.
And on a final note, gun control advocates need to stop with the silly marketing attempt to call gun control “gun safety”. If your organization does not offer gun safety courses, if it seeks to shut down every public shooting range necessary to teach gun safety to the general public, and if your organization’s only offer to prevent suicide and accidents is a background check you are not about gun safety. You are about making guns harder to acquire. That is certainly a reasonable policy position, but do not try and claim the mantle of gun safety.
What matters is not national polls with carefully choreographed polling questions on the heels of a great tragedy. What matters is the poll on election day. And gun control along with anti-capitalism returned a resounding defeat for the party.