“As you know, the bump-stocks are actually a very unimportant thing, and NRA, I went with them, and they said, ‘it doesn’t mean anything, they’re actually, all they do is teach you how to shoot very inaccurately.’ So we did that.” ~ Donald Trump, CNN Town Hall, May 10, 2023
“The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.” ~ Joint statement of Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox, NRA, October 5, 2017
U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Politicians in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, California, Oregon, Washington, Chicago, and elsewhere, keep telling the world that their constituents – the people who elected them – are stupider, less responsible, less rational, less trustworthy, and more prone to violence than the people in other areas of the United States. And the voters in those states and jurisdictions keep reelecting them.
Is that proof that the politicians are right and their constituents are stupider than the rest of us out here in flyover country?
Tombstone, Arizona –-(Ammoland.com)- Election Day for the critical 2022 mid-term elections is November 8, 2022, but Early Voting has already begun in many states. That means that many of your friends and neighbors could be casting their ballots as you read this.
So what have you done, what are you doing, and what are you going to do, to guard and protect your rights in this election? What can you do?
Tombstone, Arizona –-(Ammoland.com)- Election Day is fast approaching, and as I feared (and as usual), Republicans are doing their best to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It’s up to us to try and save them from their own stupidity.
I know there are many Republicans who have proven to be less than supportive of (and sometimes downright hostile to) the battle for our rights. I don’t like it, but we must keep the bigger picture in mind.
We GunVoters must act in our own best interests. Like it or not, we live in a two-party system.
Tombstone, Arizona –-(Ammoland.com)- If you have seen any of President Biden’s recent speeches, especially his dystopian “unity” speech the other night in Philadelphia, you’re probably a bit incensed over the way gun owners and patriots are being portrayed by the President.
That’s the objective: To tick you off, and hopefully motivate some overzealous gun owner, Trump supporter, or patriot, into saying or doing something stupid.
Trolling has always been part of the human condition. Remember the kid in junior high who would pester someone and pester them until the victim lost his temper and took a swing? The teacher or Principal wasn’t interested in anything except “Who threw the first punch.” And the victim ended up being punished. The same thing happens in business, social circles, and, yes, in politics.
Recently, here in Arizona, a guy in a BLM T-shirt showed up at a Republican club function where Senate candidate Blake Masters was scheduled to speak. The guy had on his Joe Biden, Aviator sunglasses, and various buttons. All intended to “trigger” the Republicans in attendance – and he had a video camera running. His sole objective was to get the folks there riled up, hoping they would say or do something ugly or stupid, which he could then post on social media to prove that Republicans are hateful, violent bigots.
Unfortunately, the folks there jumped at the bait, badgering the guy about “All Lives Mattering,” killing babies, and the like. They demanded that he leave, threatened him with arrest, got in his face, and tried to block or grab his camera. Eventually, an older woman, reaching for the guy’s camera, made physical contact, and things turned into a scuffle, ending with the guy being tossed out on his keister. Regardless of the details of who did what, the video of the Republicans being belligerent and getting in the guy’s face put Republicans in general in a bad light. Someone trying to diffuse the situation at one point even asked one of the belligerent guys to back off, and the guy responded, “They do it. Why shouldn’t we?”
The proper answer to that question is “Because we’re better than that,” but almost as important is that this is exactly what the guy wants you to do.
He was a Troll in the current vernacular and was very successful in that instance. He got what he was looking for, and his video made the rounds, with Republicans getting the short end of the stick.
Today, we don’t have a President, we have a Troll in Chief.
Remember that Joe Biden is several cans short of a six-pack, and his speeches are being written by far-left acolytes of Saul Alinsky and his “Rules for Radicals.” His words and actions are intentionally geared to anger his political opponents, hoping to instigate some ugly or violent response. And there are too many people on the “right” who are more than willing to take the bait and provide “proof” that his disparaging characterizations were accurate.
I guarantee people are reading this right now and are berating me as a wimp, afraid to stand up for my beliefs, who have a whole litany of excuses and rationales that they believe justify “hitting back” and “returning tit-for-tat.”
Again, I say; This is exactly what Biden and his handlers are hoping for.
I firmly believe in taking the higher road, living by the Golden Rule, and following my mother’s advice that if I don’t have something nice to say, say nothing at all, or at least don’t say it in an ugly way. But all of that high road stuff aside, I also believe in not giving my opponent ammunition to use against me.
In the Comments section of articles on social media, we often see the phrase; “Don’t feed the Trolls,” but there’s almost always someone who will expend tons of time and energy writing endless rants in response to some Troll who’s sitting in his mom’s basement giggling at the rage he’s engendered.
Right now, the stakes are incredibly high. The Democrats have made gun control one of their core legislative objectives and one of their top campaign issues.
They believe that GunVoters are too divided and disorganized to be an effective voting block in this November’s elections, thanks to the dramatic decline of the NRA and betrayals of stupid Republicans who have backed some gun control efforts. They need as much evidence of “gun nuts” and “radical Republicans” behaving badly as they can get to scare the squishy middle over to their side, and they have the full support of the legacy media available to them to splash that bad behavior all over the news and social media.
Democrats desperately need to distract Americans away from rampant inflation, high gas and food prices, the destruction of US energy companies, unfathomable levels of government spending on idiotic and corrupt “investments,” [aka wars] the total collapse of our foreign policy, and the simple fact that the current President of the United States is clearly an idiot. They need distractions that will turn voters away from those things and instead focus their attention on synthesized bogeymen, imaginary enemies, and the former President’s foibles and failings. It’s working.
Two months ago, Republicans were expected to crash through the November elections like a tidal wave, and today those predictions are ringing hollow, as American voters are having their attention and energy sucked away from the real issues to instead focus on tertiary matters that should have no bearing on the coming elections. Just as Barack Obama once cautioned that one should never underestimate Joe Biden’s ability to “F- things up,” I have warned never to underestimate Republicans’ ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Focusing on Donald Trump’s legal troubles is a huge mistake, regardless of how false or factual they may be or how unfair the double standards of the FBI and Justice Department are. It’s a distraction. So is righteous anger over Joe Biden’s characterizations of Trump voters, gun owners, and “right-wing” politicians as enemies of democracy.
All of that energy should be focused instead on turning the debate back to the real issues at hand, the absolute failure of Biden and the Democrats to do anything right.
Every Republican politician should deflect every question and comment about Trump and right-wing extremism by pointing out that this is all just an effort to distract attention away from the real issues. then follow that up with solid proposals to correct the disastrous policies of the current administration and Democrats in Congress.
The American people are hurting. Democrats like Senator Mark Kelly (Mr. Gabby Giffords) of Arizona are putting out ads bragging about how they are working for their constituents to lower inflation, strengthen the border, and reduce gas prices while they vote in lock-step with Biden and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on policies that do the exact opposite of their claims. This should be Republicans’ talking points, and voting records and videos of these politicians’ actual words should be the core of their campaign ads.
Biden and the Democrats are Trolling GunVoters and the “right.” Don’t take their bait. Don’t give them bad behavior in response to inflammatory rhetoric. Focus on the facts that really matter: The Economy, the Border, Foreign Policy, Profligate Spending, the First Amendment, and the Second Amendment.
Tombstone, Arizona –-(Ammoland.com)- With the Senate’s passage of the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act” on Thursday, and the House’s passage on Friday, the bill is headed to the President’s desk in time for signing before everyone flees Washington to celebrate Independence Day. That seems a bit ironic, doesn’t it.
Others have already written about the numerous problems with the legislation, so I won’t dive deeply into those, but will instead focus on the political ramifications of the whole mess. As a lifelong politics watcher with over 30 years of active participation in the political process, including lobbying, campaigning, working directly for candidates, and as a campaign consultant, I’m at a loss to understand the Republican strategy of working so hard to come up with a “bipartisan, compromise” to give Joe Biden a “win” on gun control.
Sure, it would be tempting for them to want to be able to go home and say “We did something in response to the horror in Uvalde,” but “doing something” that is guaranteed to fail, with components that are patently unconstitutional, and which is guaranteed to alienate a large and very politically active segment of their base, just makes no sense.
You would think that chief Republican negotiator, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, would have gotten a clue when he was booed from the stage at a Republican event in his home state.
Instead, he referred to the frustrated Republicans as a “mob,” and vowed to stay the course in his efforts to “reach a compromise.” It was just after this that Cornyn announced language had been agreed upon. When that language was finally presented to the Senate and the public, senators were given less than an hour to review the details before they were asked to vote to approve the measure to move forward, setting it up for passage the next day.
A group of 15 Republican senators joined with the entire block of Democrats in the Senate to push the bill through. Of those Republicans, four are retiring at the end of this term, so voters can’t hold them directly responsible for their actions. [Toomey (PA), Burr (NC), Portman (OH), Blunt (MO)]
Eight were just reelected in 2020, so they’re not up for reelection until 2026 [Cornyn (TX), Graham (SC), McConnell (KY), Cassidy (LA), Capito (WV), Ernst (IA), Tillis (R-NC), Collins (ME)], and Mitt Romney of Utah, is not up for reelection until 2024. That gives GunVoters ample time to find and promote primary challengers for all of these compromisers.
The final two Republican compromisers are Todd Young of Indiana, who has already won his primary and is expected to win an easy victory in the general, even though his Democratic opponent looks pretty strong, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who has a primary in August, and actually has a solid-looking, Republican primary opponent. Alaska uses an unusual “Top 4” primary system, in which they hold an open primary, and the top 4 vote-getters move on to the general election, regardless of party affiliation, so Murkowski’s Republican Challenger, Kelly Tshibaka, is likely to make it into the general, but things get complicated from there. Taking on an incumbent is never easy, but with strong support from GunVoters, Tshibaka has a chance. Whether she can convince those GunVoters that she’s a better choice, remains to be seen. Murkowski’s done her part to drive GunVoters away from her camp, but Tshibaka will need to work to win them over to her side. We don’t know enough about her yet to make a recommendation, but invite anyone with knowledge about her, to share it with us.
The biggest problem, politically speaking, with these Republican compromise deals, is that they feed the “hopelessness” faction of pro-gun voters.
These are the folks who say that Democrats and Republicans are just “two sides of the same coin,” or that the “system’s rigged” so voting doesn’t really matter. Unfortunately, these are self-fulfilling prophecies. By abdicating their responsibilities and not getting involved in the election process, they bring about the defeat of their own ideals when they fail to vote, or only cast a protest vote for a third-party candidate with no chance of winning.
Don’t make this mistake.
Politics is a spectrum, like autism. Some politicians are far off to the edges of the scale, while others are somewhere toward the middle, and most swing like a pendulum, depending on which way the wind is blowing on a given day. It’s also a sad fact that many of them, from local City Council members to US Senators, and even Presidents, are not particularly bright. Having worked with, met with, and interviewed thousands of politicians, from all levels and all sides of the political spectrum, over the past 30+ years, I’ve been astounded by how many of them are total morons, with only one real skill – getting votes. Seriously, I would not hire some of these people to walk my dog or answer my office phones, yet they’ve somehow made their way into elected office, and in some cases, into the highest circles of power. The only good thing about these simpletons is also the primary bad thing: They’re easily manipulated. Since they have no real mind of their own, they depend heavily on other people to tell them what to say and do. If you or someone you trust are among that politician’s trusted advisors, then everything’s grand, but get a weasel in the hen house, or a politician who suddenly decides to make his own decisions, and things fall apart fast.
The sad fact is, to paraphrase Churchill, our political system is the worst ever devised, except for all of the others. It’s deeply flawed and imperfect, and it is susceptible to abuse, but it is the best available, and the more involved – and devoted to integrity – the people are, the better the system is.
Given all of that, the only way to get politicians that will vote the way you want them to vote is to first be sure that you fully understand your own political values.
What’s really important to you, and what doesn’t hit your radar? What issues are your “litmus test” issues, and how do you rank them on your personal priority list? For example, the Second Amendment might be your top priority, but you might also care about border security, abortion, economic issues, foreign affairs, etc., and the strongest supporter of the Second Amendment might be completely opposed to your position on all of your other top issues. They might be an avowed communist, or Nazi, or just a total moron on economics, or just a poor campaigner who has no chance of actually winning. So even though we often call ourselves “single-issue” voters, what we’re really saying is that our “single-issue” is a very high priority to us, but it can’t be the only criteria we look at.
Having a clear idea of your own political philosophy, is the first step to making solid choices in elections.
From there, we ideally want to work to elect politicians who completely agree with us on every issue, but that’s not very realistic, so those who agree with us on the preponderance of our highest priority issues, and who actually have a chance of winning. While there are valid reasons to tilt at windmills – to help push the debate in a certain direction, flush out charlatans, build name recognition for future races, promote a particular issue, etc. – generally, if you’re going to dedicate your precious vote, or time, money, and energy to a candidate, you want that candidate to have a chance of winning. If they are not electable, you’re giving the office to someone else.
Beyond basic issues and electability, there’s the issue of party and majorities. For example, right now, the US Senate is evenly divided, giving Democrats the functional majority, because they can count on Vice President Kamala Harris to break ties in their favor. That means the Senate floor is controlled by Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and that’s a bad thing for gun owners. This November, that majority could shift, but it could be very close, and much depends on what happens between now and Election Day. With that reality, it could come down to Lisa Murkowski being the one-vote difference in whether Democrats or Republicans control the Senate. Would GunVoters rather retain the backstabber and get Schumer out of his position of control, or fire the backstabber and keep Schumer in power? Personally, I’d prefer to fire Schumer and withhold my wrath for Murkowski for another day, but there are a whole lot of GunVoters whom I doubt could be convinced to push in that direction by me or anyone else.
The most important thing for GunVoters to remember though, is that, while 15 Republicans crossed over to support this bad legislation in the Senate, and 14 did the same in the House, 50 Democratic Senators and 220 Democratic Representatives also supported it, and most of them were complaining that it didn’t go far enough.
GunVoters are very good at punishing backstabbers and turncoats, but we need to be better at taking on our real enemies, like Mark Kelly, the co-founder of the Giffords gun control group. He’s up for reelection in Arizona, and he should be beatable, and beating him should be GunVoters’ number one objective this year.
Tombstone, Arizona –-(Ammoland.com)- Almost 20 years ago, I wrote an article denouncing the practice of voting for the “lesser of two evils.”
In it, I focused on the idea that the lesser of two evils is still evil, and I argued that voters should always vote their conscience. I was naive. In the years since writing that article, I’ve been up to my eyeballs in politics, worked on dozens of campaigns, and come to some very different conclusions regarding who to support when.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a single-issue, no compromise GunVoter and advocate for the Second Amendment.
That doesn’t mean that I vote and advocate based solely on what the candidate has said or done regarding “my” issue. On the contrary, I’ve learned to think, advocate, and vote strategically. I’ve learned the importance of looking at the bigger picture, and voting based on what will best advance or protect what matters most to me. Often that best course turns out to be to hold my nose and support a candidate who’s not fully (or even a little bit) on my side.
I know that this statement will set off a wave of expletives among a wide group of my readers, and those of you who just declared me to be an idiot are exactly who this article is written for, so please keep reading.
Ideological purity is a wonderful thing, but it’s pretty useless if it means you lose the battle and the war.
In politics today, it seems that everything is absolute black or white, with no shades of gray. Either you are on my side 100%, or you are the enemy. Either you agree with everything I say, or you are evil. Either you toe the line that I have drawn in the sand, or you are a traitor.
This sort of divisiveness and intolerance has always been with us, but it has come into full flower with the progressive “cancel culture” of the left, then, somewhat ironically, picked up steam among hardcore Trump supporters – and the virulent anti-Trumpers. Along the way, it has become a badge of honor among some Second Amendment advocates.
The practical result is that GunVoters will often engage in self-defeating behaviors.
It’s an unfortunate reality that most politicians think of the Second Amendment as just another political issue, not a moral issue or matter of core principles. As such, they often say ignorant things that drive committed rights activists crazy. That’s not a reason to throw those politicians under the bus though. It’s often just a matter of lack of education, and/or poor choice of advisors. While we’d all prefer that our politicians and political candidates be well-versed in the history and principles of the Second Amendment, the fact is that few actually are. They hold a general appreciation for guns and gun owners (or GunVoters), but when it comes to details, they frequently rely on “policy experts” to guide them through the minefields.
Unfortunately, there are a whole lot of professional, “conservative,” campaign and political advisors who just don’t understand the Second Amendment and GunVoters, and who give really bad advice on the subject. It’s no small chore getting past those advisors and capturing the ear of a politician (or their top aides), but it can be done, as long as the bridges haven’t been burned.
Regardless of the particular policy positions of individual politicians, we must always look at every race in the broader context of party politics, legislative majorities, and the overall potential impact of that race in the broader scheme of things. Then we must vote in accordance with what is best for our broad objectives. It’s not about rewarding or punishing a particular politician, but rather about how we can best advance the cause of individual rights.
Even if a particular politician is totally committed to bad policies that we disagree with, and can’t be convinced of the error of their ways, that doesn’t mean they can’t be useful – for a time. The fact that the Democratic Party has made gun control a priority, and its support a litmus test for its candidates, makes it difficult for GunVoters to ever support Democratic candidates, even when the Republican in a particular race is just as opposed to our rights as the Democrat, or even more so because in state legislatures and Congress, party majorities matter – a lot.
As I have often repeated in recent years, a RINO or two in the midst of a herd of elephants is a nuisance. But a RINO or two in the middle of a herd of Jackasses is a serious problem. Keeping anti-rights extremists like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer out of control and in the minority, is a very big deal (as the past year has demonstrated), and if accomplishing that means we have to support weak or downright hostile Republicans, then that’s what we have to do. And if it means throwing some support behind incumbent Democrats like Manchin and Sinema, who don’t really support our rights, but who refuse to kowtow to their leadership on critical issues like abolishing the filibuster, then we might have to do that too.
I know some readers are jumping up and down right now yelling about Libertarian candidates, and I’ll agree that, if there’s a Libertarian candidate who has any chance of winning, I will support them over a weak Republican. The problem is that the Libertarian candidate rarely has any chance at all of even making the ballot, much less winning. They don’t have the critical mass and party infrastructure behind them to seriously compete with Republicans and Democrats in most races. Too many voters are committed to voting for R’s and D’s, and Libertarians rarely find a way past that obstacle.
I personally think it would serve Libertarians well to abandon their third-party aspirations, and instead run their candidates as Republicans or Democrats, working to carve out niches within those two parties. With the Big D or Big R by their names, those candidates can have a chance of actually winning and actually making a difference.
Too often, our folks tend to look exclusively at individual candidates and lose sight of the bigger picture. I don’t want a turncoat or an idiot representing me, but I recognize that often the alternative is much worse. Trump gave us a ban on bump stocks and rhetoric in support of “red flag” laws, but he also gave us three fairly conservative Justices on the Supreme Court. Does anyone believe that gun owners would be in a stronger position had Hillary Clinton won in 2016?
The time to remove anti-rights Republicans is during the primaries. Once a candidate crosses into the general election, GunVoters must set personal feelings aside and support the candidate that will do the least harm to our greater cause. That’s not always easy, but the alternative can be devastating.
Our friend Jim Shults of Shults Media Relations, LLC sent the following to his email list with the request that it be circulated within the pro-rights community. Jim is in Colorado which is may soon become the epicenter of the next fight over Second Amendment rihts. My take is that an amendment that makes a bad bill more palatable, and thus more likely to pass, is not good for our rights. One such “sweetener” is a “Grandfather Clause” which would exempt current owners from a ban or prohibition. The term has no meaning in law and is simply shorthand for some exception that exempts some currently-possesed items that would be otherwise banned. The actual wording is, as Jim points out, critical. It may mean that the grandfathered item is exempt from the ban and can be pass on to heirs or be sold, or it could mean that it is exempt only so long as the original owner is alive and must be in effect buried with the owner.
The idea that one generation could sign away the rights of the next generation is hateful and short-sighted anyway — not unlike passing a staggering debt on to the next generation, but that’s another topic. Here is Jim’s release. Read it and keep it in mind as the Gun Rights War heats up again.
This is a story about the "Bradley Effect." In the 1982 race for California governor between Tom Bradley and George Deukmejian, former LA mayor Bradley, a Black, was supposed to win handily. In the story the Democratic strategist makes the offhand comment that "there was this gun control initiative" which generated a bunch of votes out of the Central Valley. For years the "Bradley Effect" has been thought to reveal America as riddled with closet racists. This story actually throws some cold watner on that allegation, but doesn’t quite acknowledge that the gun issue provided the margin. Of course, the Republican Deukmejian went on to stick it to the gun owners who elected him, signing a nasty semi-auto ban in his second term.
I’ve long suspected that the "Bradley Effect" was at least encouraged, and possibly even planted, to allow Democrats avoid saying out loud that gun control is a losing issue.
The Republicans, living up to their title of the "Stupid Party," have so far shown far less understanding of the issue. Maybe someday.