Nancy Pelosi is no friend of gun owners. That’s not exactly breaking news by any stretch. The San Francisco Democrat has made anti-gun noises her entire career and there’s absolutely no reason to expect her to change those noises anytime soon. Worse, she appears to be a true believer in gun control and ready to advance it with any opportunity she has.
Yet her decision to back an NRA “A” rated Democrat being primaried is quite interesting.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has endorsed conservative-leaning Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) for reelection in 2020 as he fends off a primary challenge from progressive candidate Jessica Cisneros.
Pelosi, as well as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has a policy of supporting Democratic incumbents in the House, but the speaker said Saturday that she would have backed Cuellar regardless.
“Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely, absolutely,” Pelosi told Evan Smith, CEO and co-founder of The Texas Tribune, at the paper’s annual festival in Austin.
“I’m very, very proud of Henry’s work in the Congress, and I’m proud to support him — even if I didn’t have a policy of endorsing incumbents,” she said, reportedly drawing some boos from the crowd.
So what gives? An anti-gun progressive in that seat would likely make gun control a bit easier than a pro-gun Democrat, so why not back the opponent?
The thing is, while Pelosi is like many other Democrats who support gun control, that’s not their primary issue. Even she has other priorities, issues she thinks are far more important than gun control. In other words, she’s like every other Democrat out there.
You see, people like Pelosi will talk a lot of fire and brimstone about gun control and its importance to them, but when the rubber meets the road, what we see is that the other issues make a lot more of an impact on who they support and who they don’t.
On the other hand, pro-gun voters tend to rate that as an extremely high priority. They’ll stand vote against any candidate that even gives off a whiff of supporting gun control. They’ll make their displeasure known hard and fast come next election. For pro-gun folks, it matters more than most other issues, probably because many see it as a proxy for where a candidate will fall on future issues as well.
Pelosi has given us a prime example of just why gun control is a political dead-end for Democrats. They talk a big game, but at the end of the day, it’s just not that big of an issue for Democratic voters. Why else is Beto demanding the party to adopt his anti-gun platform when it’s clearly not doing him any good? Even Nancy Pelosi can’t be bothered to back an anti-gun candidate, apparently, so why should any other Democrat.
It’s just a reminder that backing gun control isn’t the benefit some want to claim it to be.