The media was abuzz as things kicked off for the 2020 elections. Gun control, we were told, was going to be a key issue. The candidates started their campaigns and every website has at least something about gun control on it. There was even one candidate who was running pretty much exclusively on a gun control platform.
As the race progressed, he didn’t amount to much and dropped out of the race. Then a previous Democratic darling picked up the gun control football and tried to run with it, reinventing his campaign and doing more to rally gun rights activists than all of the other candidates combined.
Others tried to push their anti-gun agenda at various times, then stopped after a bit.
Then the former Democratic darling dropped out of the race too.
It was like gun control wasn’t the winning issue, even in the Democratic presidential primary. In fact, a report at the Washington Free Beacon suggests as much.
Gun control has increasingly taken a back seat in coverage of the 2020 primary, upsetting proponents and causing celebration among opponents, who believe the drop-off shows the issue is a loser even in the Democratic primary.
In interviews with the Washington Free Beacon, gun-rights groups argued that the media have downplayed gun control and candidates have avoided it because 2020 hopefuls who have run on the issue have failed. A Free Beacon analysis lent credence to this claim, finding that gun control is no longer drawing the same media attention it did in the aftermath of the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. The issue was all but absent from the most recent Democratic debate, a fact lamented by gun-control advocates.
These changes, the gun-rights supporters argued, indicate that gun bans and confiscation schemes are a losing issue even among Democrats.
That’s entirely possible, of course. After all, if gun control is a key issue for Democratic voters, you’d expect to see candidates pushing it gain a lot more traction.
Then again, some of these proposals have been pretty extreme. It’s entirely possible that while they may back universal background checks or red flag laws, they’re not ready to go door to door to take people’s AR-15s.
Yet even those who support that tend not to have it as a driving part of their ideology. It’s not the primary issue they look at with a candidate. They care about things like jobs, welfare, health care, foreign policy, or any number of other issues. Unless the voter in question thinks the candidate is solid on those, it’s unlikely they’ll back someone on their gun control policy.
Meanwhile, those anti-gun positions meant to woo Democrats have also likely pushed away some of the more moderate voters.
In other words, this whole push for gun control has been a complete trainwreck for the candidates. It’s been great for us here at Bearing Arms and other gun politics sites, but bad for the candidates.
In fact, let’s look at the most surprising candidate of the 2020 Democratic primary so far: Pete Buttigieg. The mayor of South Bend, Indiana doesn’t have any business being up there with the big dogs. Yet as former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are currently trending down in the polls, Buttigieg is trending upward.
It was Buttigieg who stood against Beto O’Rourke as the failed senatorial candidate pushed his gun confiscation scheme.
Now, I’m not saying Buttigieg is a friend to gun owners. He’s not. What I am saying is that he’s the one candidate who vocally opposed one of his opponent’s gun control schemes and is also the one currently surging in the polls.
If gun control were such a winning issue, that wouldn’t have happened.
The push for gun control was media-driven, and the candidates fell for it. Now, not even the media are pushing for it as the Free Beacon report shows.
That doesn’t bode well for gun control in the coming months, nor for the lawmakers who seem to push for that at the exclusion of nearly everything else except for impeachment.
November 2020 is sure shaping up to be very interesting.