The country voted, and James Madison won.
I do not mean that flippantly. There is no sugarcoating the consequences of November’s election for America’s gun owners: For the last four years, we have had a president who stood with us, and, as of January, we will likely (still unconfirmed as this was being written) have a president who is committed to advancing every bad gun-control bill that has been proposed over the last three decades.
But, thanks to the genius of our political system, all is not lost. The president of the United States is not a dictator; he is just one important part of a larger machine. On election day, the American people complicated Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ control of that machine.
Almost to a man, the pundits predicted a “blue wave.” That wave failed to materialize. The importance of this—particularly of the Republicans’ successes in the U.S. Senate—cannot be overstated. It is of the utmost importance that the Republicans win both of the Senate runoffs in Georgia, and, in so doing, slam the brakes on the Biden presidency before it has begun. You won’t hear this said much in the media during the next four years, but “count every vote” applies to the U.S. Senate, too.
Prior to election day, many in the Democrat Party had begun to flirt with some genuinely terrifying ideas: Blowing up the U.S. Supreme Court, abolishing the U.S. Senate’s filibuster rule and adding states for the sole purpose of consolidating their power and inoculating themselves against a backlash. Thanks in part to the hard work of Second Amendment advocates, all of those notions have been stalled—until the 2022 midterms, at least.
Promisingly, a few days after the press called the race for Biden, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a Democrat, showed that he understood the electorate when he confirmed that he was not interested in helping his party stage a power grab. And that, if he is true to his word, could be that.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Republican, has proven to be a wily majority leader—indeed, McConnell is one of the main reasons that the U.S. Supreme Court now appears to be split 6-3 in the favor of those who believe that the words of the Second Amendment have clear and tangible meanings—but he will once again be on the defensive: against Joe Biden, against Kamala Harris, against Nancy Pelosi, against the media, against the universities and against Silicon Valley. McConnell’s task will be simple: To hold the line against unconstitutional encroachments and nascent radicalism, while waiting for backup to arrive after the midterms.
In this endeavor, McConnell will have more help in the U.S. House of Representatives than he expected. Still, defenders of the right to keep and bear arms should not kid themselves: This was not a victory. But the slim margins that the Democrats will enjoy in the House—margins that shocked the prognosticators—will undoubtedly limit the party’s ambitions, especially among members who live in moderate and suburban districts and who are looking ahead to 2022 with dread. It will be the task of every American who wants to preserve the Second Amendment to impress upon wavering members of the House that if they side with the Biden-Harris administration against the U.S. Constitution, they will be voted out of office.
In an ideal world, every politician in the United States would respect their oath of office. In an ideal world, the citizenry would not have to remain permanently vigilant in defense of their basic liberties. But we do not live in that ideal world, and we must work with the tools that we have. For now, those tools may be enough—if, and only if, we are prepared fight with them.