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Democrats Have An Identity Crisis

Democrats Have An Identity Crisis

Democrats are still reeling from the election results a couple of weeks ago, still trying to dissect what went wrong and determine how best to move forward. There are a couple of competing camps emerging from the election night wreckage. One group looks over the domination of Republicans in both the Electoral College and in many state legislatures and sees the need to speak to voters who don’t buy into the panoply of progressive ideology. Another group believes middle America is a vast cultural wasteland, home to scores of trailer parks packed full of inbred rednecks and their imbecilic offspring, and should, therefore, be ignored or actively opposed. 

Right now it looks like the second camp is winning the internal fight over the future of the party. Nancy Pelosi claims to have the votes to head off a challenge to her position as House Minority Leader, and the leading candidate to head up the DNC is Rep. Keith Ellison, a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and an ardent anti-gun politician. Ellison supported virtually every gun control bill brought up by Democrats over the past eight years, and also took part in the “sit-in” stunt promoting gun control in the House earlier this year.… back in 2014, Ellison told HBO host Bill Maher that he wished the Democrats as a party would “oppose the Second Amendment.”

And back in 2014, Ellison told HBO host Bill Maher that he wished the Democrats as a party would “oppose the Second Amendment.” Seconds later, he touted his work with the Congressional Progressive Caucus to promote what he called “common-sense gun safety rules.” In Ellison’s mind, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between the two. That’s because “common-sense gun safety rules” is what anti-gun advocates call gun control laws. Supposedly it gives the voters warmer and fuzzier feelings than the phrase “gun control,” though I wouldn’t be surprised if we see new messaging from the anti-gun crowd before the 2018 midterms. 

Regardless of the messaging, we know where Ellison stands—opposed to our right to keep and bear arms. Opposed to you owning a rifle that was designed after WWII (honestly, he sounds like he’s opposed to you owning any rifle that wasn’t around in 1791). Opposed to you carrying a firearm for self-defense. Keith Ellison thinks your rights are wrong, and if that position dominates the thinking at the DNC, I think the party’s going to spend some more time wandering in the wilderness and bitterly clinging to the coastal enclaves where they hold sway. Heck, Ellison may have easily won re-election in his gerrymandered Minnesota congressional district, but the state legislature flipped to GOP control, and Donald Trump came within 40,000 votes of winning the state as well. Minnesota voters certainly didn’t embrace gun control on Election Day, even if Ellison is all for it. 

If they want to be “gun safety” advocates, they should actually advocate for gun safety, including increased access to ranges and training in urban areas.Democrats are at a crossroads. Do they try to compete in the heartland, or do they continue foisting the ideas of a nannying anti-gun advocate like Michael Bloomberg on a populace that is growing less interested in the tired gun control policies offered up in every election cycle? As a gun owner and Second Amendment advocate, I sincerely hope the Democrat party will remember a couple of things. They should remember, or maybe acknowledge for the first time, the Second Amendment supporters in their ranks. They also should keep in mind that for the vast majority of the American people, the point of gun violence prevention efforts should be to actually prevent violence, and not just to regulate or ban firearms or to drive down the number of legal gun owners. If they want to be “gun safety” advocates, they should actually advocate for gun safety, including increased access to ranges and training in urban areas. 

You may have heard the term “food desert” used to describe neighborhoods without grocery stores, but we have “range deserts” across large swaths of blue-state America—and there’s nothing “gun-sensical” about that. If you support gun safety, you should support real training and education opportunities. Instead, the “gun-sense” crowd seems to want to make it as hard as possible. That message may play well in some deeply anti-gun congressional districts around the country, but it’s unlikely to appeal to the nation at large—especially since more and more voters are becoming gun owners by the day.

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