Sen. Charles Schumer from the anti-gun state of New York is no friend to gun owners or Second Amendment advocates. His anti-gun credentials are well documented and understood. Also understood, however, is that he’s not exactly the dumbest member of the United States Senate. That’s evidenced by his warning to fellow Democrats regarding gun control.
Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) is urging his colleagues to stay away from gun control in the budget debate despite pressure from activist groups that argue the party needs to take a stand given the string of mass shootings across the country.
Schumer, focused on next year’s midterm elections, thinks it is smarter to focus on economics — specifically President Trump’s tax plan, which Democrats say is a giveaway to corporations and the rich, and GOP proposals to cut Medicare and Medicaid.
“Democrats need to find courage and learn to speak to the issue,” said Ladd Everitt, director of 1Pulse4America, a gun-violence prevention group created after the Orlando nightclub shooting in 2016.
“There’s a lot of anger in this movement about the response from Democrats right now. People think it’s totally inadequate,” he added.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) tweeted Wednesday night that the country should be talking about answers to gun violence.
“The deadliest mass shooting in our country’s history was 16 days ago,” she wrote. “Conversations about gun violence have faded. We can’t accept that.”
In next year’s midterms, however, Democrats will be defending 10 seats in states won by Trump in last year’s election — including West Virginia, Montana and North Dakota, where guns are a big part of the local culture.
Schumer’s strategy is based, at least in part, on saving those seats and potentially winning back the Senate majority next year if Republicans falter badly.
Schumer’s strategy is actually sound. Harris and company are deluding themselves if they believe anti-gun votes won’t hurt Democrats in rural states like Montana and North Dakota. Further, Schumer is also smart enough to recognize one very important fact. They’re the minority party. They don’t have the numbers to force a vote on gun control, and even if they did it’s unlikely they’d be pleased with the result since they control neither the House, the Senate, or the White House.
Schumer is probably remembering the Democratic bloodbath that followed the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban, Anti-gun activists and organizations systematically targeted any who supported the legislation for removal from office. Run in conjunction with the GOP’s “Contract With America,” control of Congress flipped to the Republican Party.
Only now, Republicans already have the majority. The key difference is they don’t maintain enough of a majority to block filibuster attempts by Democrats. An anti-gun push now might result in more Republican control, effectively eliminating the Democrats as a force to even be considered for the next couple of years.
I hate to say it, but Schumer is on the ball here. He’s not our ally and everyone knows it. His position is one based on pure pragmatism for his party, yet hotheads like Kamala Harris want to keep pushing for something that’s not likely to happen anyway. Go right ahead. Just be sure to take a bow when you push your party into national irrelevancy.