Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

Pat Toomey

I figured the competing endorsements, of Toomey by the Bloomberg Camp and McGinty by the CeaseFire Camp (as if they were separate: Bloomberg funds CeaseFire) was to create a situation such that no matter what the outcome, victory against the evil gun lobby could be declared. This article in the Dallas News backs that up, because it looks to me like prepping the ground space for this narrative. See, Toomey loses to McGinty, it’ll mean the people want gun control. And if Toomey gets re-elected, it’ll mean the people want gun control. You can see how Bloomberg can use this effectively.

McGinty is attacking Toomey for not being gun control enough, which was entirely predictable. She argues his background check effort was largely window dressing, which is absolutely true. Toomey was trying to have his cake and eat it too, apparently believing Bloomberg’s bullshit polling on the issue and thinking his money would help him. If Toomey loses, it’ll be because most of us “stayed home.” It won’t be because he wasn’t gun control enough.

There is a strong undercurrent within the GOP in Pennsylvania that this is a safe issue to equivocate on, which was probably true decades ago when the GOP maintained their political machines in the ring counties. Growing up in Delco, hard to believe today, but a lot of Dems registered as Republicans because that was the only way you could have an actual vote. Plus, if you wanted county jobs, you had better belong to the right party, and that wasn’t the Dems. If there are any older Delco readers, you probably remember the “War Board.” A lot of GOP elders have not really fully grasped the consequences of the collapse of that system. The GOP leaders have clearly not been opening the cross tabs on a lot of these polls and seeing how wide the gap is by party affiliation. Those cross tabs show that Democrats overwhelmingly support gun control, and Republicans overwhelmingly support gun rights. Independents? They lean a bit more Republican on the issue than Democrat. This should be especially noted in a state, like Pennsylvania, where if Republicans win state-wide office, it’s going to be by a hair’s breath. Toomey needs every vote he can get, and there are a lot of us that feel he stabbed us in the back.

And it’s not necessarily just because he went against us on this one issue of background checks: his record of disagreement on that issue was pretty clear going in. It was the manner in which he went about it where the real insult came. Toomey could have signed onto Tom Coburn’s Amendment. He could have actually read the FOPA provisions in his bill that would have effectively gutted its protections. He could have acknowledged his mistakes. But instead of that, to add insult to injury, he took Bloomberg’s money, endorsement, and allows ads to run that try to out-gun-control McGinty? Yeah, screw that, Pat.

Toomey is also wrong about background checks: they always poll great when people are asked about them abstractly. When people start having to think about the actual policy implications of what the gun control groups actually want, then maybe they don’t poll so well. We saw this in Washington also, that the policy specific doesn’t vote tally nearly as well as it polls, even when put to the people in a deep blue state. That Nevada’s initiative is polling at 54% gives me a little hope we can reduce Bloomberg’s margin a good bit this go-round, or perhaps even defeat him outright. Gun control has historically over-polled on ballot initiatives.

As for Toomey, I couldn’t care less about his fate. Defeat would at least show the GOP that there is no room to equivocate on this issue, and that touching Bloomberg or his money in exchange for equating on gun rights is a fatal move.

24 thoughts on “Heads I Win, Tails You Lose”

  1. “Defeat would at least show the GOP that there is no room to equivocate on this issue”

    Doubt it. I think it would show that a lot of people are allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good.

    At least Toomey would work somewhat to check Clinton, who I expect to win. McGinty will roll over for her. You have to look at it probabilistically: 100% chance McGinty rolls for Clinton, maybe only a 50% chance with Toomey. Off-year cycle is the time to oust him, not this year.

    OTOH, Toomey is polling better than Trump in PA. I find that extremely odd, and I just don’t believe it, given his history.

    I know it sucks, but Trump-Toomey > Clinton-Toomey > Clinton-McGinty. Not just on guns.

    If Clinton is elected, as I expect she will be, everyone will regret electing McGinty.

    1. I’m usually willing to vote lesser of the two evils, but taking money from Bloomberg and trying to out-gun-control McGinty is a bridge too far even for me.

      1. That’s fine. And when the Democrats take back the senate by one vote, and confirm Clinton’s anti-gun supreme court justices, you can pat yourself on the back about how ideologically pure you are.

        1. I’ve spent a lot of time arguing from your side of that argument, and I just can’t do it this time. Not at a time when we have a right to expect Republicans not to screw us like he has.

          1. Most of us don’t live in states where our votes matter. You live in the most important state this election. Hold your nose and vote to preserve the filibuster, which the Dems will trash as soon as they get 50+1. Keeping 51 votes is all that counts this time around. Otherwise, this time next year when you’re complaining about how Heller has been rendered meaningless and the House is caving, I hope people remember that you were one of the few percent of Americans with the opportunity to do something about it, but you chose not to.

            1. And if Toomey wins, and he pushes and gets support for UBCs, AWBs because “Look Republicans re-elected me so gun owners either don’t care or support them”, as well as voting to confirm anti-gun justices, I hope you’ll remember you were the one that could help stop him, but chose not too, and instead advocated for a Bloomberg supported anti-gun Senator.

              1. Are you dense? Toomey can push for gun control all he wants but he won’t accomplish anything because he’ll need 60 votes to do it! McGinty & Co will only need 50+1, which they can do with just Democrats!

                1. ROFL! I could ask the same about you.

                  He’s a hint- if a Republican Senator who pushed HARD for gun control was elected by gun owners, that gives cover to other Republicans to support gun control, and he’ll get his 60 votes easily.

                  And if the Dems can do it with 51, there isn’t any reason the Republicans couldn’t also, because remember gun owners supported a senator who supported gun control.

                  And really, since nothing is getting through the House even with Dems in charge of the Senate, there is no reason to support an anti-gun Senator. In fact, again, if we DO support him, it makes it MORE likely to get through the House.

                  So I repeat- gun owners would be hurting themselves to support an anti-gun GOP senator. (Not sure why I actually have to say that).

                  1. “he’ll get his 60 votes easily”. After Sandy Hook, gun controllers managed 4 Republican defections. 11+ is fantasy land. A hostile supreme court with a permanent majority is very close to becoming a reality. Look, rationalize all you want, but giving control of the senate to Chuck Schumer is a bad move (Not sure why I actually have to say that). I’m not going to argue with a brick wall. We’ve made our positions clear.

                    1. And that would be before we’d elect an anti gun R senator. Plenty were on the fence then, but they were afraid of electoral consequences. What do you think they’ll take away from the fact that there is no electoral consequences to supporting gun control? So 9 isn’t a fantasy land at all.

                      I’m not giving control of the Senate to Schumer, I’m making a statement. You want to give it to him because he supports Toomey. Great Job!

          2. Glad you finally came around. Toomey is a POS and he needs to go. Worse than just trying to screw us, the guy is unteachable. After failing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory with Manchin-Toomey, he didn’t learn anything from it. He thinks if he presents himself as someone who supports so-called “common-sense” gun control there are ANY lefties who would vote for him instead of ANY Democrat running against him.

            After he got cozy with CeaseFirePA, I wonder if he stood in the mirror patting himself on the back thinking that any of those people would actually vote for him. They probably laughed themselves silly as he merrily sabotaged his own reelection while supporting their cause. I don’t know what world he lives in, or what color the sky is there, but I sure I don’t need him doing me any more favors. I won’t vote for McGinty, but I’m enthusiastically not voting for Toomey – that’s for damned sure.

            1. “Toomey is a POS and he needs to go.”

              Toomey has always been a POS and a lot of us knew it from the first time he ran for congress. But, he has always succeeded by having the image of being the slightly lesser of two evils.

              The only thing I might disagree with you about, is that what you credit to mere cynical political calculation, I credit to his true beliefs; he has always personally believed in gun control, but had the misfortune of being a member of a party that still needs to give lip service to the pro-gun position.

            2. “I won’t vote for McGinty, but I’m enthusiastically not voting for Toomey”

              Allowing McGinty to win is voting for her all the same.

              It’s a terrible choice I know. But, you will come to regret having the quadfectca of Clinton, McGinty, Casey and Wolf in power. Worse than your guns, they will take your money too.

              If you wait around for a pure virtuous politician who does not play both sides, you will be waiting a long time.

              Many Republicans have supported gun control at one time or other then have evolved. Esp northeastern ones. It sucks, but PA ain’t Texas.

              Everyone so willing to stick it to Toomey are not considering the possibility that he might be as good as it gets, for now. See: NY, NJ, and MD.

              You might get a better candidate when Casey or McGinty are up for reelection, but incumbents are really hard to defeat once the machine is behind them.

              1. You always have the option to leave it blank. A ballot turned in with a section blank is still counted.

                The technical term for this is the “under-vote”. It’s the portion of ballots turned in that didn’t vote for ANY candidate in a particular race.

                Here’s what the candidates — and the DNC/RNC — see (just making up numbers): Suppose PA voters turn in 2 million ballots. That’s 2 million votes. Now suppose that whoever wins the election, only wins by 100,000 votes, with a final tally of 500,000 to 400,000.

                That’s 1.1 million ballots that weren’t marked for either candidate OR a write-in, or a 55% under-vote. IOW, the majority disliked both candidates enough to not vote for either one.

                Now, granted, the under-vote means more to single-candidate “races” (like most circuit judges here in Oregon); when there’s only one candidate, it’s an almost-sure win, but that person pays very close attention to how many DON’T vote for him/her.

                So if you can’t vote for Toomey because of his gun-control history, and can’t vote for McGinty because she’s a hard-core gun-controller, you have the option to leave that race blank. The under-vote sends a message, too. It’s quieter, and the parties are less likely to hear it unless it’s HUGE (and are probably tone-deaf enough to disregard it even then), but it’s still a message.

                1. Don’t you people realize that the ONLY Senate vote that matters next term is the vote for who gets to decide the senate rules? But fine, throw away the senate to “send a message”. It’ll ruin our best chance to save this country, but it’ll make you feel better about yourselves. I hope Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sends you all a nice fruit basket to say thank you.

                  1. Yeah, it’s a shitty situation all around. If he wasn’t so eager to join forces with the likes of Bloomberg (!!!) to screw me, I could vote for him. But nope.

                    1. I’m sure Bloomberg will be real upset when you make Chuck Schumer the Senate Majority Leader.

                  2. Except what you miss is that if we support Toomey- EVERY GOP politician in PA will realize we have no power, and then can support the “reasonable” regulations without fear of electoral punishment. UBCs, AWBs- everything is on the table except and outright ban.

                    So they will have no reason to listen to us, because well vote for them any way because they aren’t as bad as the Dems.

                    Conversely, if Toomey loses in a close election, it will be because gun owners stayed home or refused to vote for him. It’ll be seen as “gun owners sent us a message”.

                    Sure, in the short term the Senate may be lost. But it’ll be lost long term if Toomey wins.

    2. But I do take your point that the GOP wouldn’t learn anything. That is likely the case. Base elections are hard to win in a state where Dems outnumber Republicans by nearly a million votes.

      Though, I’d argue they’d pick up more votes equivocating on other issues, like abortion, but you’ll never see that in a million years. Why? Pro-life people show up, and the issue is a deal breaker for them. Our problem is that our people don’t show up.

      1. I expect republicans to go out of their way to distance themselves from Clinton on so many issues, not just guns. Taxes, regulations, health care, energy.

        I also think it sends the wrong message to Casey, who will move to the left thinking that is where the voters are. PA will get two Clinton stooges, instead of two Senators looking over their right shoulder for a challenge.

        The time to send a message to Toomey is by getting a better candidate when Casey is up for re-election. Make him think he needs to shuffle to the right.

        I do think people will live to regret McGinty if Clinton is in the WH and McGinty is in the Senate. More than guns are at stake. Plus, as I said, there will be knock-on effects on Casey and other representatives who take the signal PA voters are more progressive than maybe they are, because some stayed home.

  2. Sounds like a lose-lose to me. Feel bad for you folks in PA but I feel even worse for my friends and family in IL this election cycle.

    1. Kirk was always a jerk, and then he had to go open his stupid mouth right before the election and remove all doubt.

  3. Good to see you come around on this. Even if the GOP doesn’t listen on this (I think they will) at the very least they won’t have a reason to point to that gun owners will vote for the regardless.

    The best thing gun owners can do is to refuse to vote for Toomey.

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