By Jeff Knox
(July 20, 2016) The stage is set for a head-to-head battle between the two most widely disliked presidential candidates in modern history. There is still significant enmity between Trump supporters and fans of Senator Ted Cruz, just as there is a rift between Hillary followers and Berners. Hillary has the advantage that Bernie Sanders has officially endorsed her – something Ted Cruz has refused to do for Trump – but his supporters still aren’t happy about the outcome. The big difference is that Hillary has the Democratic Party establishment firmly in her pocket, while the GOP establishment is swallowing bile not to actively oppose Trump.
The key factor going forward will be how well either candidate can capture the supporters of their primary opponents and those elusive swing-voters. If Republicans can overcome the Cruz and establishment “Never Trump” suicide pact, and alienated Sanders supporters bolt to support the Green Party, the GOP should easily win the White House and hold their majorities in the House and Senate. On the other hand, if Democrats unify behind Clinton and the Republican Party remains splintered, we could see the first female President and quite possibly a return of a Democrat majority in the Senate.
If both parties remain divided, or both parties manage to unify, then the advantage goes to Trump based on the dedication and fervor of his core supporters, the nation’s general desire for a change from the status quo, and the fact that, even though a large number of people dislike and distrust Donald Trump, an even greater number of people dislike and distrust Hillary Clinton.
For GunVoters there is only one option. With the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s recent comment that she would like to see the Court overturn the landmark Heller decision, the next President will decide the fate of the individual right to arms for generations to come.
Though the Court is commonly referred to as being “evenly divided,” that is not accurate, especially where the Second Amendment is concerned. The current division of the Supreme Court breaks down more like: four solidly committed and united “liberal” Justices all of whom voted against McDonald and/or Heller, versus one solid pro-rights purist – Thomas, one justice strongly leaning toward a pro-rights position – Alito, one justice who leans toward rights, but has cold feet about scary-looking guns and concealed carry – Roberts, and one justice who appears to have been barely convinced to go along with the majority in Heller and McDonald – Kennedy.
What this means is that even if a Second Amendment stalwart like Ted Cruz were to be added to the Court, any further advances in the fight to restore the right to arms would still be in doubt. It might ensure that Heller would not be overturned, but bans on semi-auto rifles and standard-capacity magazines, along with unreasonable restrictions on defensive carry would be likely to stand, and the legal maze that is California’s gun laws would continue unabated.
Second Amendment rights are unlikely to be secure in the Supreme Court until at least two additional pro-rights jurists are seated – with one of them replacing one of the current members of the “liberal” wing of the Court. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, at 83 and in frail health, has been expected to step down any day now for over 10 years. Swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy, is next in line age-wise at 79, the same age as Scalia was when he died, with “liberal” Justice Stephen Breyer following at 77. That would suggest that the odds are good that the next Justice to leave the Court will be either a “liberal” or a “moderate,” but really, no one knows how many days we have on this earth, or what moves justices to remain on the bench or seek retirement. The only true rights stalwart on the Court, Justice Clarence Thomas, is 68. He could decide to hang up his robes tomorrow to go RV’ing with his wife in their golden years.
Barring some major upheaval, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is going to be the next President of the United States. Hillary Clinton promises to appoint Justices like Ginsburg and Breyer. Donald Trump promises to appoint Justices like Scalia and Alito. Hillary Clinton promises to continue down Barack Obama’s path. Donald Trump promises a new direction. Hillary Clinton lauds confiscatory gun bans like those in Australia. Donald Trump promises to support and defend the Second Amendment.
We might have questions as to what Trump would actually do as President. We have no doubt what Hillary Clinton would do.
Now it is up to you, not just to hold your nose and vote, but to influence your family and your community. To win, you must convince others to vote rights first. One of these two will be President and we all have an obligation – to our forefathers, our children, and our grandkids – to do everything in our power to make sure it’s not the wrong one
This election is much too important for you to sit on the sidelines.