Taking money from the NRA makes 2018 candidates unelectable

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The horrible tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where 15 high school students and two faculty members were killed with a military assault weapon, has brought forth the predictable debate on gun control. 

All sorts of proposals are being made: 

  • raising the minimum age to buy firearms;
  • expanding background checks;
  • banning bump stocks;
  • banning military style semiautomatic rifles; and
  • banning high-capacity magazines. 

President Trump has exhibited all the qualities of a non-leader. An issue of such importance should elevate his behavior and public statements.

It has not. Not one bit.

{mosads}He is all over the place, one day advocating one minimal change and the next day refusing to mention his proposal again; suggesting arming teachers with weapons and saying he would have run into the school to confront the gunman.


These remarks by Trump are not helpful and in no way start the process of this nation getting to some sort of solution. 

Yes, there was a bipartisan summit on guns Wednesday. There is always the hope that something wonderful will come out of these types of conclaves.

I sincerely doubt it.

There will be a great deal of talk, but no major comprehensive, meaningful legislation will follow.

Some elected officials are saying the right things, and you can tell this time they mean it and are willing to back it up with action.

Washington state’s Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee called the tragedy in Parkland “a tipping point.” He went on to say, “I think what people are looking for is more independent thought and less slavish deviations to the NRA.”

Inslee does not equivocate, and most important he takes on the real culprit: the National Rifle Association. 

Let’s not kid ourselves. The NRA has managed to control the entire debate for decades.

They even opposed the modest change of raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21.

At the bipartisan summit, Trump said lawmakers are “petrified of the NRA.”

Trump told the nation’s governors earlier this week, “Don’t worry about the NRA.”

That’s totally wrong and not based on reality.

To make matters even worse, he uttered this fantasy, “They’re on our side.”

And if that’s not enough — how about this whopper: The NRA would “do something.”

The NRA will continue to do something — but it is not in the best interest of all of us. They are dedicated and devoted to stopping any substantive and substantial gun control.

That is their reason for being.

There are some politicians who — even at their political peril — are demonstrating true political courage.

Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke is running for the U.S. Senate in very gun-friendly Texas. His opponent is NRA supporter Republican incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz.

O’Rourke has come out in favor of banning assault weapons. This is no way a popular position in the Lone Star State. This stance does not get him votes.

But he notes, “you’ve got to do what’s right and people need to know where you are on these issues.”

How honest and refreshing — a politician seeking high office who won’t sacrifice his ideals for political gain.

The horror in Parkland should finally identify the impediment and obstacle for change and reform.

Make no mistake — it is the NRA.

Those candidates who continue to take money from the NRA should have to pay a price. The price is defeat at the ballot box.

Then and only then will things change and change for the better.

Democrat Ralph Northam ran for governor of Virginia last year. He was unabashedly for gun control. He wasn’t afraid of the NRA. He trounced his Republican opponent who touted his support from the NRA.

I am sorry to say that true and fundamental change will not occur until NRA backed and endorsed candidates lose and lose big.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is not up for reelection this year. Two years ago he took $3 million from the NRA. 

He went on a CNN town hall debate last week and when asked directly to give back the NRA money, he refused to answer.

Taking money from the NRA should doom you to defeat.

Taking their support of any kind should make you unelectable.

Let’s see what happens in the midterms in November. 

As they so rightly say, elections do matter. The November 2018 midterms could and should be a huge repudiation of the NRA and everything they stand for.

Then we can move forward and stop the carnage.

Mark Plotkin is a contributor to the BBC on American politics. He previously was the political analyst for WAMU-FM, Washington’s NPR affiliate, and for WTOP-FM, Washington’s all-news radio station. He is a winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in writing.

Tags 2018 midterms campaign Donald Trump Elections Marco Rubio Mark Plotkin NRA Second Amendment Ted Cruz voters

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