Political Report: Voters Solidly Support Second Amendment
Saturday, January 23, 2010
In 2008, Americans voted for change in
overwhelming numbers. Just one short year later, voters in Virginia
and New Jersey voted to change back.
It's hard to read any other overall conclusion
into the results of the "off-year" elections in these disparate
states. In 2008, Virginia officially went "blue" for the first time
since 1964, voting for Barack Obama by a seven-point margin. This
result was nearly a mirror image of Virginia's vote totals in the
2004 election, when then-President Bush carried the Old Dominion by
eight points. That gentle swing of the pendulum underscores why
Virginia has come to be seen as a swing state.
This past year, however, Virginia voters elected
Republicans to all statewide offices in a rout, by blowout margins
of 14 to 18 percent. It is not a coincidence that these candidates
were all endorsed by the NRA Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF), the
political arm of your NRA.
The NRA-PVF enjoyed an overall success rate of 98
percent on Election Day in Virginia, also winning in 58 of 59 races
for the General Assembly. The NRA-PVF deployed TV and radio ads,
direct mail and phone banks to tell Virginia's gun owners which
candidates deserved their support. It is no exaggeration to say
that the NRA-PVF led the charge in marshaling the vote of gun
owners and hunters.
These exceptional numbers are an indication of
voters' solid support of the Second Amendment, but the blowout
margins also suggest rumblings of widespread voter discontent
directed toward Washington.
Gun owners aren't as strong a political force in
traditionally blue New Jersey, but were nonetheless successful in
dethroning its "F"-rated Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine. Despite his
personal fortune of billions and his willingness to spend it,
Corzine was unable to stave off a challenge by Republican
prosecutor Chris Christie. This race was less of a national
bellwether, given Corzine's massive unpopularity and the recent
(but definitely not unprecedented) corruption arrests of many New
Jersey officials. But no one can miss the national message in the
statewide election of a Republican governor in a state where Barack
Obama prevailed by 15 points in 2008.
And again in New Jersey, gun owners and hunters
were in the vanguard of Corzine's defeat. He drew the ire of the
state's hunters by politicizing the management of hunting seasons.
His record on the Second Amendment was atrocious. His final
anti-gun legislative spasm was a push to enact a "one gun per
month" law before he was dumped from office. The bill passed, but
was written so poorly that it prevented even gun stores and
wholesalers from buying more than one handgun per month. And state
politicians continue to wonder why all manner of small businesses
and industries are fleeing the state in droves.
Just across the Hudson River, in an even bigger
Election Day surprise, the busybody billionaire anti-gun zealot
Mike Bloomberg barely survived his own election scare.
First, his enormous ego dictated that he overturn
the city's term-limit law so he could run for a third term as
mayor. Having done so, he spent more than $100 million of his
personal fortune to be re-elected, setting a new record of $180 per
vote, the most spent in any election in the country. His nominal,
underfunded opponent spent a fraction of that in an underdog
campaign, but nonetheless came within five points of unseating
Bloomberg. With vanity unfettered by the near-death of his
political career, the mayor pronounced it a "great week" and threw
himself a ticker-tape parade.
Interestingly, it was one of Bloomberg's
signature issues that defined the difference between Virginia's
candidates for governor. The victor, former Virginia Attorney
General Bob McDonnell, strongly defended Second Amendment rights
despite Bloomberg's constant meddling to try and shut down Virginia
gun shows. The loser, former state Sen. Creigh Deeds, flip-flopped,
supporting gun show restrictions he once opposed. He gained the
support of Bloomberg's ilk and of the fawning media. But he lost
the support of Virginia's gun owners--so he lost the election.
It will be interesting to see how many
politicians remember the 2009 results heading into the 2010 midterm
elections. Clearly, the answer will come between now and