Beto O’Rourke made a statement at the last Democratic debate that’s been hotly contested ever since. While some of his opponents seem to support his call for mandatory buybacks, others oppose it. However, what other candidates think isn’t really all that big of a deal. What really matters is what do the voters think?
O’Rourke hasn’t exactly been a frontrunner in this campaign. He’s a bottom-tier candidate who is, admittedly, getting a lot of free press thanks to people like me who keep pointing out his ridiculous claims.
For a while, he’s been polling at about three percent. That’s nothing to be proud of for someone who was once the golden boy of the Democratic Party.
Yet a Morning Consult Poll released yesterday shows Beto with a bit of a bump following his debate night performance, moving up to a whopping four percent.
What does this mean?
Well, it might not mean anything. The single percentage point is within the margin of error for pretty much any poll you care to name, so he may have had more support previously and this new poll is more reflective of that. It could just as easily be that this slightly overrepresents his support due to that same margin of error.
It could also suggest that O’Rourke said something that a number of Democrats have wanted to hear and are throwing their support behind him. We’ve long argued that anti-gunners were purely anti-gun, despite their claims of simply wanting a few “common sense” gun reforms. No, they want our guns and Beto is just the first candidate who is stupid enough to outright say it.
Of course, if that’s true, why did he get just a single percentage point?
Oh, that’s easy. It’s the same reason he and Rep. Eric “Nuke ’em All” Swalwell have never been top-tier candidates despite their anti-gun rhetoric. It’s because, at the end of the day, guns just don’t matter all that much to Democrats. Oh, most of them are anti-gun, but guns aren’t the issues that drive them to the polls. They don’t pick candidates based on their stance on guns. They don’t use gun control as a litmus test to determine who their candidates should be.
For them, it’s good for them if their candidates support gun control to some degree, but going more and more radical on guns isn’t going to win over very many voters.
The candidates who are at the top-tier–people like Biden, Warren, and Sanders–support gun control, but also have a dozen other positions they hold to and those are what voters have flocked to.
O’Rourke said something a lot of Democrats wanted to hear and a handful may well be offering up their support for his stance. However, at the end of the day, it won’t be enough to save his faltering campaign.
It will, however, be more than enough to remind discontented Second Amendment advocates just what most Democrats running for office really want, especially since no one at all is taking issue with the meat of O’Rourke’s comments, merely the timing of them. This is what gun rights are up against, and it’s time for gun rights supporters to close ranks, whether or not Beto ever polls above five percent again or not.