Did Gun Control Cost the Dems Gains in Virginia?

Now even the Democrats are asking the question:

“The gun thing, I would have done it differently,” Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) said. “It’s speculation at this point, but I feel the Gecker seat was one we thought we were going to win. . . . [The gun issue] was one variable that was thrown in at the last minute.”

How long before the Democrats start telling Bloomberg, “Thanks, but no thanks.” I’m honestly not sure why the calculus changed for the Dems. Up until about 2010 gun control was considered political suicide even across the aisle, unless you were in a safely Democratic urban district. The Dems of a decade ago successfully used the blue dog strategy to get back to a majority in Congress. Then in 2010, they flushed the blue dog strategy down the toilet in order to get enough votes to pass Obamacare without a single Republican vote. Obama won re-election, but he spent most of his first term not really playing up the gun issue. After Sandy Hook, the Democrats convinced themselves everything had changed. But polling shows pretty clearly it hasn’t. So what makes them so sure it’s a winner now?

I believe the Democrats are pursuing gun control because it’s what the donor class wants, and when you dangle the fish in front of the seal, you can expect the seal to bark to get the fish. Bloomberg has a lot of fish, and Obama, who is now very enthusiastic about gun control, is going to command a lot of big donors for many years to come. That will go double if Hillary Clinton loses in 2016. The barking seals will follow the follow the people with the most fish.

20 thoughts on “Did Gun Control Cost the Dems Gains in Virginia?”

  1. They jumped the third rail and it bit them in the ass in VA… They probably would have won the Richmond race if they’d played it straight!

  2. I wonder if it the gun issue or just telling an out of state person with big bucks to butt out.

  3. I’m calling it now: this mini-election is the 1991 Thornburgh defeat all over. Granted that the Dems already got smeared in the midterms, they could still put that down to the six-year curse. This, like Harris Wofford’s surprise defeat of the GOP heavyweight, isn’t just a turnout election; it is a specific blueprint showing exactly what the Dems’ weaknesses are.

    In 1991, popular former Pennsylvania governor and then-current US Attorney General Richard Thornburgh resigned to run for the Senate seat left vacant when Sen. Heinz died in a plane crash. Thornburgh figured he could use the image of the GOP as the competent party that had won the Cold War and the Gulf War to win a Senate seat on his home turf. Instead he lost to Wofford, an aging LBJ liberal, who successfully ran on bread and butter issues, particularly health care. Arkansas governor William Clinton took note and used the same type of campaign to defeat George H.W. Bush–until then a hugely popular President–a year later.

    Now, the Democrats, although they don’t have the competence issue (God knows the GOP doesn’t either), think they have “demographics” working for them. The problem is that they are running on hugely unpopular issues, like gun control. If a man supports gun control, you can almost guarantee that he’ll weigh less than the average woman his age, that he’ll have a beard that looks ridiculous on him, and that his job description will contain words like “synergy.” The rest of us, whose job descriptions have words like “manufacture,” “sell,” and “transport,” oppose it.

    Now it’s up to the GOP to use the opposition to far-left Dem issues to win a victory. A good starting point: dump the 47% talk. The GOP is a blue collar party. Don’t run against the non-wealthy.

  4. Interesting question: could Bernie Sanders’ whoring for the anti-gun vote now come back to haunt him in his next Senate run in 2018? I know, it’s far-left Vermont; but then again, it’s Vermont, the original no-permit state and a big gun-owning state. This could be doable, with an adequate investment.

  5. “I’m honestly not sure why the calculus changed for the Dems.”

    Two reasons.

    One, the Democrats really believe in gun confiscation, it’s one of their three button issues, which turns off their brains and fires up their emotions (the other two issues are race and religion).

    Two, the Democrats are suffering from major hubris over gay marriage. They really think gun control is at a ‘tipping point’, the same reason they have convinced themselves was the reason for the rapid flip on gay marriage. Of course the real reason gay marriage flipped so spectacularly was because the Federal Courts suddenly and uniformly overturned state laws and referendums against gay marriage.

    1. There’s also that gay marriage had no confiscation element. There was no seizure of straight marriages.

      Functionally gay marriage was implemented by expanding the types of people that can get a county clerk to sign off on a form.

      (There’s also that some SSM supporters were also 2nd amend supporters.)

      To think that gun control would be as easy to get enacted as gay marriage is lunacy.

      (Heck the argument for gay marriage was that the state could not deny permits for X to law abiding adults for an arbitrary reason. Gee… that sounds a bit like the arguments against May issue don’t it?)

      But yes, there were multiple articles written about how the left saw guns as the next issue they could triumph over.

      I mean it’s if SSM advocates took the gun control playbook they’d insist on a “good cause” requirement for marriage permits to be given, or that background checks would be mandatory to ensure an abusive relationship didn’t happen. Oh and they’d also be talking about how great it would be to ban marriage.

      1. “Oh and they’d also be talking about how great it would be to ban marriage.”

        Oddly, there are SSM proponents whose end-goal is precisely this. While I think this is a justified fear that a handful of SSM opponents have exrpessed.

        I have the impression that while there have been some good arguments against SSM, those arguments have generally been hard to find, for the most part.

        Another fear has been that SSM will be used as a bludgeon to destroy tax-exempt status of churches who believe same-sex relationships are sinful; some pro-SSM people have talked about doing away with tax-exempt status from churches altogether.

        While I think these fears are justified, I also have a feeling that the pro-SSM crowd who supports these steps are somewhat on the fringe; taking the further steps of trying to eliminate marriage altogether, or tax-exempt status of churches, may result in a severe backlash…

        I suspect that the reason why SSM and gun rights have succeeded up to this point, and why future efforts to destroy marriage, religion, and gun rights will likely fail, is that Americans want freedom. Accepting SSM and gun rights expands freedom, while these other things harm it.

        1. There’s also that it’s hard to make an argument against SSM itself without being explicitly or implicitly religious in nature.

          But as you said with the expansion: SSM was advocated via the idea of “X can have (a), but Y cannot have (a); Y should have (a) too.”

          Meanwhile gun control is “Ban (a)!” Or perhaps. “The police should pick who can and cannot have (a)!”

          1. I must respectfully disagree with you both. This was not about expanding the pool of who could obtain marriage permits. These folks already had the same right as the rest of us: to marry a person of the opposite sex. Nobody denied that right to them. What they desired was a new right to “marry” someone of the opposite sex, a right that didn’t exist for anyone, you and me included. “Expanding the existing right” could only have occurred if extended to those presently denied traditional marriage (minors, brother-sister, uncle-niece, etc.).
            What the SSM folks pursued was not the same right of marriage I have (they already had that), but a brand new right involving a fundamental change in the legal definition of marriage throughout the law. Redefining who can get married is akin to redefining who can qualify to vote, which has always required a constitutional Amendment, not a mere opinion of five judges in a single case.
            Hence, I humbly submit, your analogy with gun-rights breaks down. For your analogy to be accurate, the anti-gunners would have to seek to change the legal definition of “arms” to exclude guns they hate, thereby eliminating them from our uninfringible right to keep and bear arms, an act that should also require a constitutional Amendment to accomplish.
            Respectfully, Arnie

            1. As someone who dislikes SSM, I would agree with your analysis (although I should point out that as a so-called anarcho-capitalist, I am committed to the idea that government shouldn’t recognize marriage at all: it is something that should be left to individuals to work out).

              Having said that, my comment isn’t addressing constitutional matters, and it isn’t addressing whether or not SSM is evil. It’s an attempt to assess what the public mood is on these issues.

              For example, I am convinced that any regulation banning or making the ownership of machine guns more expensive is expressly an infringement of our right to keep and bear arms…yet this is precisely the type of infringement that currently gets a stamp of approval from the legislature, the courts, and the people of the United States themselves.

              On the other hand, the people are becoming more and more appreciative of the right to keep and bear arms. And it seems to be that this is, in part, because the American people are freedom-minded; and this freedom-mindedness (whether or not it is misguided) is what makes acceptance of SSM (however grudgingly) possible.

              I’d like to think that this freedom-mindedness will protect freedom, marriage, and our right to keep and bear arms. The future is murky, and hard to predict, however, so only time will tell…

              1. I agree. “Infringement” has many applications, not just outright bans. Laws or regulations designed to put arms out of the financial reach of the common citizen is infringement.

  6. Kathleen Murphy, Delegate from McLean, won re-election after organizing protests against a new gun store in that town and then pretending that the protesters asked her to help them shut it down. Total snake behavior, and she was rewarded with another term. But that’s NoVa for you.

  7. Not only did Bloomberg cost the Dems the Richmond seat, I’m also willing to say it’s the reason why McPike only won 54% up in NoVA.

    I’m pretty familiar with Prince William County as I lived there for several years. Essentially, VA-29 should be a slam-dunk for Dems. It’s made up of liberal Dale City and other parts of eastern and central PWC. The county overall is becoming very purple, the only conservative areas are the western end at this point. I’m seriously willing to bet that Bloomie cost McPike at least several percentage points, maybe even as much as 5. Let’s hope your thoughts ring true and even Dems start to run from him.

  8. I wonder how much of Bloomberg’s money was siphoned off by candidates … or their campaign managers.
    Cynic? Who me?

  9. For Hillary to lose in 2016, the GOP has to run someone who can win. I still haven’t seen that individual. It saddens me, but it is what it is.

    Not looking forward to it.

    1. It’s the flip side of the Dem’s problem. The GOP has great local and regional politicians, but are weak on the national stage because of it. The Dems do well statewide and nationally, but their local and regional politicians are … more limited.

      It’s a bigger long-term problem for the Dems, but it’s a problem for the GOP as well.

      (I had hopes for Fiorina, then she got wrapped around the abortion videos axle and wouldn’t stop talking until too late.)

  10. I’m flummoxed by the change in the party’s approach to guns and i lay it entirely at Obama’s feet – it also made him a lame duck a couple months into his second term. as for why, i’d suggest:

    1) shared elite interest in disarmament due to clear social and economic problems in the US. it was activated by the “moral crisis” created by the press after Newtown and expressed by donor money and a spike in activism.

    2) the Obama Admin’s insularity and the Dem Party’s general failure to create a bench of young talent. there’s a reason that their two lead candidates are old as shit, that’s because the party mandarins want no young challengers who aren’t corrupted/compromised.

    3) after the gay marriage victory, there’s a lot of professionals sitting idle. the activist segment of the party is looking for their next big cause and wedge issue.

  11. I don’t believe the donor class cares about gun control. I believe it is Bloomberg almost exclusively. He promised to spent big bucks on state and national races, most of which would benefit the Dems. and they are going after it.

  12. I think they drank their own Kool-Aid and found-out the flavor tastes like piss.
    There can’t be that much support when 42-oddd states don’t even have waiting periods. Even Maryland doesn’t have a waiting period for rifles, and neither does Massachusetts.

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