I used to be against single issue voting as I thought politicians should be evaluated on the totality of their views and positions. It was one of the reasons that back in the 80s I dropped my yearly membership in the NRA for a while. I think the rise of voters who only voted based upon abortion was part of that decision. I was trying to be somewhat logically consistent.
However, I’ve come to appreciate how a candidate’s position on gun rights is indicative of how he or she may vote on other issues of interest to me. Michael Bane has made this point many a time on his podcast and has argued the efficacy of it in electing like-minded politicians. A candidate who supports gun rights tends to be liberty minded and that is what I want.
Now it seems the President is in agreement with me (and Michael) on this and urging single issue voting on the matter of gun rights. Of course, his position is diametrically opposite of mine.
His Press Secretary Josh Earnest made this clear in a press briefing on Friday.
Q Can I ask about the President’s campaign pledge in his New York Times editorial (on gun control)?
MR. EARNEST: Please do. (Laughter.)
Q Yes. I’m just kind of wondering if you can put some parameters on that — what a candidate would have to do or not do for the President — or I guess what a candidate would have to do or not for the President to say I’m not going to vote for you, I’m not going to campaign for you, I’m not going to fundraise for you. And also how he would kind of extricate his actions with the DNC or the DSCC or whoever else in that.
Q What about somebody like Heidi Heitkamp, who was a big vote for you guys on TPA, and the President made a big point of saying, I’m going to go out and campaign and raise money for these people who put their neck out?
MR. EARNEST: Well, look, there is no denying the fact that I think that when it comes to most issues, the President agrees with Senator Heitkamp on them, particularly when it comes to a whole range of economic issues and national security issues — that there are a lot of reasons for them to be on the same page. But what the President made clear in that op-ed is that when it comes to this issue, he’s prepared to be a single-issue voter. And he hopes that other people will, too.
And he’s hopeful that that will have an impact on the kinds of decisions that Democrats and Republicans make on this issue in the future when they’re serving in the United States Congress and when they’re called to vote on them.
Whether Democrat voters pay attention to his advice is another matter. As rare as it might be, I wonder whether they would vote for an anti-gun, pro-life, pro-fracking, pro-coal, and climate warming denier or some combination of those so long as the candidate in question is anti-gun. For some reason I doubt it. The interest groups supporting abortion, the environment, etc. seem to be much stronger than either the Brady Campaign or Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors. Moreover, for most Democrat voters, I think abortion, women’s rights, and the environment would be considered more of a core belief than gun control which is more peripheral to these voters.
Overall, I think this works out in our favor especially if we can get Gun Culture 1.0 to get on board with Gun Culture 2.0 in protecting our gun rights. We need to do more outreach to those in Gun Culture 1.0 so we don’t hear “I’m a hunter but no one needs (fill in the blank)” anymore. Unifying both cultures behind candidates who support gun rights will be the key to winning in 2016 and to keeping our rights in the face of the President and “nasty little fascist” billionaires like Mike Bloomberg. Now we just have to do it.