It is now less than 60 days until the election. All the signs indicate we may not have clear election results on election night. For example, in Kansas, ballots postmarked Election Day and delivered by the following Friday are counted. The laws vary by State. Sen. Charles Schumer, the uncle of the comedian, wants to be Majority Leader in the US Senate. He wants to gut Senate rules that have been around for more than a century. He desires the tyranny of the majority, the elimination of the filibuster. To achieve this nightmare, he wants to eliminate the requirement of 60 votes to advance a bill and only require 51 votes. With an election win to the post of US Senate Majority Leader, he could process bills from Pelosi’s chamber and put them on the president’s desk without a hitch.
The tit for tat destruction of Senate “traditions” began with the judicial confirmation process decades ago. It now has spread to the institution’s foundation that made it one of the world’s greatest deliberative bodies. It would make the US Senate operate more like the House.
The truth is that the NRA-ILA, the NRA-PVF, and the rest of the pro-gun community were outspent in the 2018-9 election cycle. AmmoLand News and others reported on the disparity in spending here, here, and here. And the threat continues in the 2020 race as Bloomberg dumps millions. They had a message that resonated with the uninformed. Off-year elections can be an indicator of change in voter attitudes.
When Sen. Mitch McConnell, at the Republican Convention, said that the US Senate was the firewall, he echoed the thoughts of many. At this writing, RealClearPolitics.com (RCP) shows 9 Senate races in the toss-up column. According to RCP, The majority hangs in the balance. Arizona’s classification has changed to “Lean Democrat.” Another tremendous political website, 270towin.com (270), shows six as toss-ups. There may not be a realistic chance in this cycle for Republicans to return to the majority in the US House; we can plow the ground for 2022.
The US Senate majority is clearly in play. The Toss-up States, according to 270, are Maine, N. Carolina, Sen. Perdue’s race in Georgia, Colorado, Iowa, and Montana. RCP supplements that list with Michigan, Minnesota, and S. Carolina. RCP also has a “No Toss-up” map, statistically predicting outcomes in the nine toss-up States based upon several factors, including past races in those States. It forecasts a Democrat majority of just one, 51-49. Should an anti-rights majority materialize in the Senate and the filibuster becomes history, firearms rights supporters will have an array of stark choices in 2021. From righteous indignation as restrictions and outright bans go to the President’s desk or damage control, essentially a Hobson’s choice. The fight with progressives would be expensive and eventually end up in the US Supreme Court. They have made it clear that they will, among other things, ban so-called “assault weapons,” criminalize private firearm transfers, bankrupt the firearm industry, and even require federal gun owner licensing and registration.
Scattergun Donations for the Win
We all must determine what we are willing to do with personal donations. Does the equivalent of the one AR or one high-cap pistol sound reasonable? Two would be better. If so, the “Scattergun” strategy is for you. The truth is that trying to pick an individual race competently, especially in another State, is very difficult. Here is how the Scattergun works. Find the candidates in each race that are the best match for your personal beliefs. Assume you want to invest the equivalent to your old Gen. 3 Glock pistol (about $450.00), send $50.00 to each. Remember, your parents told you, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” To send it all to one candidate risks it going where it may not make a difference. With Scattergun Donation, the probability of it making a difference in at least 2 or 3 races is certain. If hundreds or perhaps even thousands of likeminded people multiply your effort, it will generate a significant increase in last-minute resources. It could propel candidates worthy of your support across the finish line. It is so easy today with modern technology. Twenty years ago, one had to find the campaign address and mail a check. Now it can be done in your recliner with your smartphone or computer. Reminder: always look for “https:” in the web address to make sure it is a secure webpage and not a spoof.
Candidates! How to Pick’em?
Multiple sources are best, NRA-ILA or even the Brady Campaign and others will tell you who to support or oppose. The candidate’s website can be enlightening. While on a national level, anti-gunners are hiding the goals of their platform with the help of the talking heads on MSNBC and the Clinton News Network(CNN). They are discussing the issue with vague platitudes of “reasonable” restrictions and their desire to protect hunting or the 2nd Amendment. What they are saying to the American voter is very different from what they are saying to each other. Pictures of candidates in camo fool a few of us from time to time. It is hard to notice the crisp seams and lack of wear in those tiny pictures on campaign fliers. Cooking bacon on the barrel of a full-auto never did much for me either; bacon is a terrible rust preventative. Hoppe’s No. 9 adds little to the flavor.
When To Make The Commitment
In a word, NOW! In North Carolina, ballots went in the mail Friday, September 4th, 2020. The number of ballots mailed in that State was 15 times greater than four years ago. It is not too late, but the clock is ticking. Ballots will arrive in a few days, and many will lay in the mail pile for some time. With every day that passes the chance the message you helped pay for is presented to a voter who has already cast their ballot increases. As we approach November 3rd, these races will become closer contests. That makes this the most critical time in the campaign and the last chance to affect the outcome.
If you live in a battleground-state, you probably already know whom you will be voting for, and they need to hear from you. Regardless of your age and experience, they will have a seemingly endless list of tasks, some tailored to you. “Get out the Vote” (GOTV) efforts in this part of the election cycle can make the difference between winning and losing. Making sure gun owners turn out to vote should be our primary goal. Good campaigns have already prepared for this time in the campaign by identifying voters likely to support their candidate. Then prodding those identified as supporters to fill out their ballot and get it in the mail or turn out to the polls or providing transportation to the elderly or infirmed are critical tasks. If you go to the campaign HQ, wear your hat. They need to know whom you represent. Ask how you can help. They have a plan and know what they need. Don’t go alone; bring a friend or family member.
When phone banking or some other one-on-one contact and the person isn’t with you on our issue, don’t waste time trying to convince them how Jefferson’s insights apply to our modern world. Just express that you are sorry to hear that and thank them for their time. Even when they are with you, “Move On,” the successes of these efforts are measured by the volume of people reached. If you do have time to chat and they aren’t with us, try to find something they do agree with and leave the conversation on a positive note.
Good fishermen (fisherpersons) go where the fish are. Don’t forget the fun. Go where the gun owners are. Gunshows are restarting around the nation. Gun clubs are still meeting; matches continue your friends still meet for coffee. I know it is hard but get outside your comfort zone. Don’t expect universal success, and don’t be daunted by the opposition; move on. Like the “Little Engine that Could,” the power of positive thinking really works.
The simple truth is: if gun owners don’t wake up until it’s the law and not before they are lawmakers we will have lost perhaps our only chance to avert what could be a real catastrophe.
Phillip Journey was NRA’s political activist of the year in 1993. He helped write NRA’s 1st grassroots manual has worked in over 100 campaigns at the local and state level. Phil served in the Kansas Senate and is now running for re-election to his 4th term as Judge in the largest city in his State and faces a general election opponent. He was recently elected to the NRA Board and will be sworn in after the Tucson meeting.