The phrase “all politics is local” is true until Election Day. After the campaign, the victors in federal elections go to Washington, D.C., where their very presence establishes the balance of power in leadership, on committees that write laws and more. If they are a senator, they vote for Supreme Court nominees. If they are in either body of Congress, the party with the majority has a better chance of getting its way on policy, such as any new law designed to control your right to bear arms.
That is how the American political system works. It is this reality that politicians such as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., , need to obfuscate to win.
This is why Manchin has an ad out again showing himself shooting a bundle of paper. In 2010 Manchin ran an ad showing him shooting the then proposed “cap and trade” bill with a bolt-action rifle. His new ad shows him using an over/under shotgun to shoot a copy of a lawsuit backed by 20 state attorney generals that could rip down the trusses of Obamacare.
One of the attorneys general backing this lawsuit is Manchin’s opponent, Patrick Morrisey, the first Republican attorney general of West Virginia since 1933.
In the ad Manchin says the lawsuit backed by Morrisey is designed to “take away health care from people with pre-existing conditions.” Actually, the lawsuit is aiming to scrap all of Obamacare. These attorneys general are arguing that after Congress struck down the law’s individual mandate the law became unconstitutional. The desire to protect people with pre-existing conditions is actually something Republicans and Democrats are in favor of; in fact, a group of 10 Republican senators recently unveiled legislation to protect people with pre-existing conditions.
Manchin is playing on fear as he oversimplifies his opponent’s position. But that’s politics. That Manchin is doing this with a shotgun is interesting, as it shows he is nervous. Recent polls show Manchin has a lead of 7 to 10 points in a state President Donald J. Trump won by 42 points. To win, Manchin needs West Virginians to overlook the fact that sending him back to Washington would balance the scales of power to the benefit of a party led by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Manchin isn’t the only Democrat taking this tack at a time when passing more gun-control laws is a core issue for the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., also tweeted out a photo of himself driving a pickup truck with a lever-action rifle in a rack behind him earlier this year. Tester is also in a state Trump won—by 20.5 points in this case.
Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., who won a special election in Pennsylvania 18th District, also ran an ad saying he “likes to shoot.” And Jared Golden, a Democrat challenging Republican incumbent Rep. Bruce Poliquin in Maine, ran an ad, this one titled “Bullseye,” showing him shooting. He even calls himself a “straight shooter.”
These Democrats sound like the “Blue Dog Democrats” who once gave then first-term President Barack Obama a big majority in Congress, but then all but died out after Obama’s far-left policies made voters turn on Democrats in swing districts.
This again is Manchin’s and other Democrat’s dilemma. It is true and important that not all Democrats want to effectively repeal the Second Amendment. But, in these partisan times, it is also true that the party with the majority can do a lot of things that a pro-gun senator or representative might not be for.