Is the NRA Really All That?

The National Rifle Association's political clout has long been feared by politicians in the US, but that fear may be misplaced. From an interesting piece at The Atlantic Wire:

Much of the decline in the clout of the NRA is traceable to what has changed in American politics generally and the Republican Party in particular. The NRA is often cited as the reason the Democrats suffered massive losses in the 1994 midterm elections, by both reporters and even Bill Clinton. But a lot has changed since 1994. Democrats may have lost most of the South in those midterms and those southern Republican states are still where the NRA is strongest. As The New Republic's Nate Cohn explained, "pro-gun voters are lost to Republicans, and probably for good." Put simply: no one thinks NRA members would vote for a gun-toting Democrat. The NRA's political fortunes are tied up with the Republican Party's and the NRA's campaign donations reflect this: it supports vastly more Republicans than Democrats. (A comment from an October 2012 Hot Air post: "I’m still PISSED because the NRA endorsed Harry Reid. There’s ‘stupid’, and then there is ‘absolutely stupid’." The endorsement, in that case, does not appear to have delivered a vote.) And yet since the NRA's asendancy, Democrats have still managed to win national elections and congressional majorities. When Obama won Ohio and Virginia, it was by focusing on the cities and suburbs, not rural voters. "To win nationally, Republicans will need to reclaim the socially moderate suburbs around Denver, Washington, and Philadelphia where gun control is at least a neutral issue, if not a real asset to Democrats," Cohn writes.

In other words if you're a Democrat the NRA can't help you and they can only minimally juice the numbers of the voting block you've already lost anyway. In the larger national picture the NRA holds sway in places that are already heavily Republican so why should the Democratic Party worry about it at all since the group has minimal influence in areas that sway elections these days – those being the suburbs in large metro areas?

Here's a thought: the NRA is more afraid that it's losing its clout than it's afraid of a ban on assault weapons. That might help explain the craziness emanating from NRA HQ these days

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