In some places, support for gun control is almost a requirement for public office. If you don’t support it, you’ve got the proverbial snowball’s chance in Hell of getting elected. It’s just not going to happen.
Conversely, there are plenty of places on the opposite side of the track as well. If you try to push that kind of thing in rural America, you might as well have saved your time and just stayed home instead of campaigning.
One place where gun control hasn’t typically done well is Texas. However, some think Democrats should keep pushing for it there.
Once upon a time, Democrats running for statewide office in Texas were reluctant to get crossways with Second Amendment enthusiasts in this historically gun-friendly state.
There’s also been a widespread assumption among political observers that former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke damaged his statewide prospects in Texas — perhaps irretrievably — when he took issue with assault weapons during his brief bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” O’Rourke said in a September 2019 debate, hosted by Texas Southern University.
Whether you agree or disagree with that proposal, there’s something quite refreshing about the El Pasoan’s refusal to backpedal or flip-flop on gun safety since entering the 2022 gubernatorial race.
We may be used to this grim status quo, but it’s more radical than anything O’Rourke is proposing. Many forget that President Bill Clinton signed an assault weapons ban into law in 1994, though it lapsed a decade later. And while polls show O’Rourke trailing Abbott, the crowds turning out for the former congressman in places like Amarillo and Lubbock explain why the governor seems a bit uneasy.
“We trust law enforcement; we want to see greater public safety; and we want to make sure that we protect the Second Amendment as well as protecting the lives of the people in our lives,” O’Rourke said, at the Amarillo event. “We can do that; we are Texans.”
It’s bracing to hear such candor—and confidence—from a statewide candidate.
There’s confidence and then there’s self-delusion. Beto O’Rourke suffers from the latter, as does anyone who really thinks that gun control is a winning strategy in Texas of all places.
Now, I’ll give him credit for not trying to reverse his position on guns in an effort to win voters. He said what he said and if he tried to back away from it, he’d likely be lambasted by his opponents. I won’t argue that one in the least.
However, let’s also remember that Beto’s support for gun control wasn’t enough to win him much support in the Democratic presidential primary, nor did it help him when he ran against Ted Cruz for Senate. The latter should be enough to show that Texas isn’t interested in gun control and the former should show that an anti-gun position may play well with Democrats, but it’s not enough to win a race.
But what it is, though, is enough to lose one.
Beto O’Rourke is a gift to those of us who write about the Second Amendment. He’s also a gift to those who fundraise for those who support it.
See, the author thinks Texas Republicans are on the defensive because they’re raising money over this. They’re not. They just see an opportunity to sound the alarm because the alarm bring in the cash. They know Beto has almost no chance, which means it’s harder to fundraise.
Texas loves the Second Amendment. If the author thinks Democrats should keep pushing for gun control in that state, well, I’m sure the GOP there would be appreciative.