Politics vs. Reality: Elections & Politicians That Stink

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Tombstone, Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- Almost 20 years ago, I wrote an article denouncing the practice of voting for the “lesser of two evils.”

In it, I focused on the idea that the lesser of two evils is still evil, and I argued that voters should always vote their conscience. I was naive. In the years since writing that article, I’ve been up to my eyeballs in politics, worked on dozens of campaigns, and come to some very different conclusions regarding who to support when.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a single-issue, no compromise GunVoter and advocate for the Second Amendment.

That doesn’t mean that I vote and advocate based solely on what the candidate has said or done regarding “my” issue. On the contrary, I’ve learned to think, advocate, and vote strategically. I’ve learned the importance of looking at the bigger picture, and voting based on what will best advance or protect what matters most to me. Often that best course turns out to be to hold my nose and support a candidate who’s not fully (or even a little bit) on my side.

I know that this statement will set off a wave of expletives among a wide group of my readers, and those of you who just declared me to be an idiot are exactly who this article is written for, so please keep reading.



Ideological purity is a wonderful thing, but it’s pretty useless if it means you lose the battle and the war.

In politics today, it seems that everything is absolute black or white, with no shades of gray. Either you are on my side 100%, or you are the enemy. Either you agree with everything I say, or you are evil. Either you toe the line that I have drawn in the sand, or you are a traitor.

This sort of divisiveness and intolerance has always been with us, but it has come into full flower with the progressive “cancel culture” of the left, then, somewhat ironically, picked up steam among hardcore Trump supporters – and the virulent anti-Trumpers. Along the way, it has become a badge of honor among some Second Amendment advocates.
The practical result is that GunVoters will often engage in self-defeating behaviors.

It’s an unfortunate reality that most politicians think of the Second Amendment as just another political issue, not a moral issue or matter of core principles. As such, they often say ignorant things that drive committed rights activists crazy. That’s not a reason to throw those politicians under the bus though. It’s often just a matter of lack of education, and/or poor choice of advisors. While we’d all prefer that our politicians and political candidates be well-versed in the history and principles of the Second Amendment, the fact is that few actually are. They hold a general appreciation for guns and gun owners (or GunVoters), but when it comes to details, they frequently rely on “policy experts” to guide them through the minefields.

Unfortunately, there are a whole lot of professional, “conservative,” campaign and political advisors who just don’t understand the Second Amendment and GunVoters, and who give really bad advice on the subject. It’s no small chore getting past those advisors and capturing the ear of a politician (or their top aides), but it can be done, as long as the bridges haven’t been burned.

Regardless of the particular policy positions of individual politicians, we must always look at every race in the broader context of party politics, legislative majorities, and the overall potential impact of that race in the broader scheme of things. Then we must vote in accordance with what is best for our broad objectives. It’s not about rewarding or punishing a particular politician, but rather about how we can best advance the cause of individual rights.

Even if a particular politician is totally committed to bad policies that we disagree with, and can’t be convinced of the error of their ways, that doesn’t mean they can’t be useful – for a time. The fact that the Democratic Party has made gun control a priority, and its support a litmus test for its candidates, makes it difficult for GunVoters to ever support Democratic candidates, even when the Republican in a particular race is just as opposed to our rights as the Democrat, or even more so because in state legislatures and Congress, party majorities matter – a lot.

As I have often repeated in recent years, a RINO or two in the midst of a herd of elephants is a nuisance. But a RINO or two in the middle of a herd of Jackasses is a serious problem. Keeping anti-rights extremists like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer out of control and in the minority, is a very big deal (as the past year has demonstrated), and if accomplishing that means we have to support weak or downright hostile Republicans, then that’s what we have to do. And if it means throwing some support behind incumbent Democrats like Manchin and Sinema, who don’t really support our rights, but who refuse to kowtow to their leadership on critical issues like abolishing the filibuster, then we might have to do that too.

I know some readers are jumping up and down right now yelling about Libertarian candidates, and I’ll agree that, if there’s a Libertarian candidate who has any chance of winning, I will support them over a weak Republican. The problem is that the Libertarian candidate rarely has any chance at all of even making the ballot, much less winning. They don’t have the critical mass and party infrastructure behind them to seriously compete with Republicans and Democrats in most races. Too many voters are committed to voting for R’s and D’s, and Libertarians rarely find a way past that obstacle.

I personally think it would serve Libertarians well to abandon their third-party aspirations, and instead run their candidates as Republicans or Democrats, working to carve out niches within those two parties. With the Big D or Big R by their names, those candidates can have a chance of actually winning and actually making a difference.

Too often, our folks tend to look exclusively at individual candidates and lose sight of the bigger picture. I don’t want a turncoat or an idiot representing me, but I recognize that often the alternative is much worse. Trump gave us a ban on bump stocks and rhetoric in support of “red flag” laws, but he also gave us three fairly conservative Justices on the Supreme Court. Does anyone believe that gun owners would be in a stronger position had Hillary Clinton won in 2016?

The time to remove anti-rights Republicans is during the primaries. Once a candidate crosses into the general election, GunVoters must set personal feelings aside and support the candidate that will do the least harm to our greater cause. That’s not always easy, but the alternative can be devastating.


About Jeff Knox:

Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs, and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona, and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org.

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BigJim

Axe Oz during the Primaries.

Ope

I agree. What was Trump thinking when he endorsed Oz ?

Russn8r

Probably same thing he was thinking about when he endorsed Wilton “Red Flag” Simpson for Florida AG Commish: Trump.

Finnky

I think the last paragraph really sums up the best many of can do. If no good candidate advances from primaries, it’s too late to fight for the best. Typically fewer people vote in the primaries than in general elections, so one’s vote counts more. Budgets are smaller, so one’s contributions count more. Not only are you likely able to support a good candidate (instead of someone marginally acceptable) but you’re efforts are more likely to make a difference. I said that “typically fewer” vote in primaries – yet in 2020 primaries polling place lines seemed at least as long… Read more »

uncle dudley

Looking at the candidate’s stance on issue’s is very important, however you must look at the party platform for which they belong.
Most newly elected people will follow along with what their party platform outlines when it comes to voting, whether it’s in the state house or D.C..
We really only have two choices republicans or democrats, for the life of me I don’t understand how an independent in congress has any sway with the democrats, and allowed to conference with them.
Just my two cents worth.

Arkansas Rob

I almost confused Jeff with Harold. But as the piece continues, the distinction is clearer.

2gats

ASSASINATION (deliberate spelling) is highly under rated.

Thinking of hunter killer teams of end of life terminal cancer patients stepping up to save the republic.

Arny

And exactly what other right do we have to fight for to keep ? Oh that’s right just about all of them today. So should we just keep kicking the can down the road or get in the ditch & get dirty ? I’m not getting any younger. And my health isn’t getting any better. I guess I’ll need to get my Huvaround mounted up, just in case. Anyone who thinks voting is the answer is insane. They have tweaked their system for the midterms. Oh yeah they will let a few Rs win to make it look legit. How… Read more »

Arny

From ES&S WEBSITE IN 2018.

Arny

Anyone look up these members & their connections ? Like the Gates foundation. lol

Arny

Ben Carr

Arny

They won’t let another 2016 happen again, if it was by accident ? As the visibility of the “glitches” found in Dominion Voting Systems continues to spread across multiple states, and the longstanding issues surrounding Election Systems & Software start to re-surface, one critical question has yet to be asked, “How did they manage to corner the U.S. election voter market in the first place?” On September 14, 2009, Hart Interactive, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Diebold Incorporated and Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) alleging antitrust claims after the September 2, 2009 purchase of Diebold’s outstanding stock of Premier… Read more »

swmft

they will have a maduro type vote and riots will come out of it investigation of vote rigging and the gallows will get used…. about time… or second revolution will come either way

DIYinSTL

Sad but true. Everything Jeff writes in this article is true, but only as sad as you make it for yourself.

swmft

until they feal their values threatened most good people would never get into politics , so we get the trash we get

Russn8r

“If it means throwing some support behind Dems like Sinema who don’t really support our rights but refuse to kowtow to leadership on critical issues then we might have to”

Critical issues like putting gun grabber Ketanji on the court for life? Or voting to make Schumer Maj. Ldr.? No thx. Sinema’s up this yr & vulnerable. Why support her at all? Same for Murky, who helped Delecto & Collins confirm Ketanji.

Open border ‘Ls’ are far more destructive than weak Rs. Lots of them already pretend to be Rs & betray us from inside like your pal Grover Norquist

Last edited 17 days ago by Russn8r
Russn8r

Bounce all RINOs.

swmft

you left out ..out the back of a c151 over cuba

Russn8r

Works for me!

swmft

Argentinians called it flight training

Russn8r

With one of my favorite planes:

swmft

spent some time there in the 70sand 80s the inflation was insane!

john

First Arizona Is a democratic stronghold that could care less if the constitution and it amendments are upheld by those in office In Arizona Sinema / Kelly both democrats in the senate are anti gun anti republican to the core. In congress Kilpatrick / O Halleran Democrats that are also anti republican and anti gun they have a plan as do all Democrats Creating entirely new counties in Arizona would be a novel way to gain leverage over election administration. But Democrats insist it’s all part of the strategy about the outcome of the next election — or even to… Read more »

Last edited 18 days ago by john
Russn8r

That’s because 2A Hobbits like AZCDL think they’re Safe in The Shire since they have ConCarry so they did nothing to stop vote fraud & help win elections, refuse to form a PAC so they can endorse candidates.