Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Optimism about Gun Control

Can we be optimistic about gun control, given that we have seen no real progress after any/all of the previous mass shootings?  I think so.  Why?  Because of this:

No, it is not because HRC will be able to make it so when she wins (Trump's attack on the federal judge and other stuff seems to be alienating moderates, as if everything he has done before isn't inherently alienating to moderates). 

No, it is because Hillary Clinton is strategic, and will take stances on issues when those stances are likely to help her win votes.  Because we are beyond the primaries (sorry, Bernie), HRC is playing to the general election crowd.  So, this stance on gun control now is about reaching general election voters and not just liberals voting in primaries.  If she didn't think it would play well, she would not take this stand.  She may not be the triangulator willing to sell out everything like her husband, but she is very much focused on doing what it takes to win.

Which leads to this: gun control of some kind is actually something that most Americans support, even most NRA members.  Couching in anti-terrorism language makes it sell better, but the basic reality is that more Americans want background checks and closed loopholes, and the assault weapon ban was not unpopular. 

However, I am not too optimistic, because, of course, the American political system is built to allow minorities to stymie majorities--preventing tyranny of the majority is a good thing but it has costs.  So, even after HRC wins and even if the Democrats win the Senate, there will be enough craven Democrats and certainly enough GOP folks that will follow the NRA and refuse to do anything.

But the politics may be a-changing on this. 

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