Thursday, September 12, 2019


Ted Cruz says what a lot of Republicans are thinking.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) warned on Thursday that congressional action to stop gun violence would not stop mass murders, would demoralize the nation, and could elect Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) president.

Speaking at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, Cruz was asked about background checks and discussions between the Trump administration and a bipartisan group of Senators.

Cruz warned that any such action could cost Trump re-election. "Republicans abandon the Second Amendment and demoralize millions of Americans who care deeply about Second Amendment rights, that could go a long way to electing a President Elizabeth Warren,” he predicted.
After this summer's wave of mass shootings, some people have expressed surprise that the NRA -- weakened, under investigation, and generally in disarray -- still seems to hold sway over the thinking of the president and most elected Republicans on the subject of guns. It's the money, right?

I don't think it is the money. I think Republicans are afraid that the NRA worldview has been internalized by so many of their voters that it functions on its own as a check on any Republican who might dare to vote for gun control legislation. I think if the NRA ceased to exist tomorrow, this no-retreat, no-surrender approach to gun laws would still hold sway with a large number of the party's base voters. And even GOP base voters who may not care that much about guns want to see the liberals squirm every day. Vote on a liberal priority and you're doing the opposite of what those voters want.

Of course, support for some gun control measures, such as universal background checks and red flag laws, approaches 90% in the country as a whole. Even majorities of Republicans support these measures, according to some polls.

But Republican politicians fear the wrath of the 10%. Do they need to? If these voters are generally conservative, where are they going to go? They won't vote for most Democrats in any case, though they may stay home. On the other hand, some of these Republicans might win a few votes if they moderated their stances on guns, or at least on the most popular gun proposals.

But they don't dare. They're afraid of their base. And they'd be afraid of their base even the NRA closed up shop.

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