Ousted Official's Story Should Be Lesson To All Lawmakers On Gun Issues

Second Amendment supporters are a funny bunch, by and large. Many are more than willing to work with pro-gun liberals on gun issues even though they may disagree with them, but they’re also more than willing to work with them on the points they agree.

But it doesn’t work that way on the other side of the equation. If one’s an anti-gun Republican, for example, it doesn’t matter how squishy one is on the topic as they’ll likely find themselves on the losing end just because they’re a Republican.

Catharine Baker was the only Republican representing the Bay Area in either the Legislature or Congress, until she lost her re-election bid to the Assembly in November. Now there is none.

The two-term incumbent practically ran as a Democrat, and still lost to a political neophyte. That raised the question: If Baker can’t win in the Bay Area, what Republican can?

The answer Baker found after spending weeks combing through post-election data and campaign trail anecdotes should be a red flag for Republicans in the Bay Area and beyond in California, heading into President Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.

“Ninety percent of the feedback we received was, ‘I can’t vote for you because you’re Republican,’” Baker said. “That message to Republicans is, ‘Your brand is toxic in this state.’ That’s why the party has a very faint pulse right now.”

Baker is pro-choice. She supports same-sex marriage rights and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. She voted for the state’s leading-edge climate change law. She supported gun control measures in the Legislature.

And where did that get her?

I’m sorry, but California’s a lost cause. There’s an unhinged element to its brand of liberalism. Baker was hardly what anyone outside of the Democratic Party could term a “good Republican.” She split from the party on critical issues, particularly guns, and where did it get her?

However, these good progressives who couldn’t vote for a Republican, even one in name only, don’t get that they’re not making anything better.

For one thing, they’ve now signaled to every Republican still standing that there’s little reason to support gun control. Many of their liberal constituents would be unlikely to give them any credit for it. They’ll still be treated like the most rabidly pro-gun candidates, but they’ll lack the backing of groups like the National Rifle Association.

Not much of a win.

Besides, this only reinforces the partisan divide in this country. “I don’t care about their positions; they’re just an icky Republican.” Yeah…that’s a winning strategy.

For Republican lawmakers in progressive areas, remember this. Remember that no matter how much you try to play to them, they won’t appreciate it. You’re the wrong flavor of lawmaker. You’ll always be the wrong flavor. They’ll never give you credit for catering to them.

With that in mind, why even bother? Vote for the most pro-gun measures and oppose the anti-gun bills and damn the consequences.

At least then you’ll have the respect of your party if you get voted out.