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American midterms – revenge of young people and the decline of the NRA

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, November 12th, 2018 - 51 comments
Categories: International, us politics - Tags: ,

Remember the Parkland massacre earlier this year when 17 students and teachers were killed in yet another senseless episode that highlights how wrong the American second amendment is?

Remember the passionate speeches and how a whole group of young people started organising themselves and started to get political? And give speeches like this one?

And how they organised and urged all young people to get out and vote?

Well I can’t help but wonder what effect they had on the midterm election results. Because it appears that youth voting went through the roof.

And NRA endorsed candidates did not do very well.

From the article:

Democrats say they will pass the most aggressive gun-control legislation in decades when they become the House majority in January, plans they renewed this week in the aftermath of a mass killing in a California bar.

Their efforts will be spurred by an incoming class of pro-gun-control lawmakers who scored big in Tuesday’s midterm elections, although any measure would likely meet stiff resistance in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Democrats ousted at least 15 House Republicans with “A” National Rifle Association ratings, while the candidates elected to replace them all scored an “F” NRA rating.

“This new majority is not going to be afraid of our shadow,” said Mike Thompson, a California Democrat who is chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “We know that we’ve been elected to do a job, and we’re going to do it.”

For at least one of the candidates this was personal. Again from the WSJ:

The highest-profile gun-control advocate on the ballot Tuesday was Democrat Lucy McBath, who defeated GOP Rep. Karen Handel in a suburban Atlanta House contest. Ms. McBath, a former Delta Air Lines flight attendant, became a gun-control advocate after her teenage son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed in 2012 by a man who said the boy was playing music too loud. The assailant was later convicted of murder.

Of course it is simplistic to attribute all credit for this result to March for our lives and associated movements.  Campaign finance played a significant part:

The gun-rights advocacy group [NRA] spent about $20 million in the 2018 election cycle—much of it on advertising backing the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said.

Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun-control organization backed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and a group founded by former Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was critically wounded in a 2011 shooting, spent a combined $37 million in 2018.

But Gonzales and co should take a bow for turning the dominant American ethos around and for helping to make people with strong anti gun beliefs electable.

51 comments on “American midterms – revenge of young people and the decline of the NRA ”

  1. One Two 1

    So, these ‘young people’…

    Will disarm the military industrial complex and turn it into a benevolent entity?

    Halt the development and proliferation of the ‘all weapons’…

    Financial weapons kill and maim far more people, and so does the US healthcare system and pharmaceutical companies…

    Where are the ‘young people’ on these issue?

    The second amendment is not wrong, MS..

    You are, and so are the ‘young people’!

    • Ad 1.1

      Plenty of useful gun control can occur without overturning that Constitutional amendment.

      Engage with the proposed US reforms proposed before you start sounding like a gun nut.

      Go the young activists.

      • One Two 1.1.1

        Gun nut …Sounds like …

        There you go again, Ad…yesterday it was a lack of capability…going off half cocked…are you ok?

        I’m not interested in reforms of any type in the US…but simple minds fixate on subjects which are, in the bigger picture…irrelevant…

        MS has a simple minded fixation on this issue, the numerous articles signal as much…as does his position regarding red v blue…

        The young activists are promoted where the establishment want the attention of simple minds to be…

    • mickysavage 1.2

      The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

      • Adrian Thornton 1.2.1

        “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.”

        The big problem with that analogy is that the establishment Democratic party will take at LEAST two backward steps for every one that they are dragged unwillingly forward.

        ‘The Democratic party is now publicly attacking progressive candidates’

        “What is unusual about these attacks is that they issue not from her Republican rival but from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the campaign arm of Democrats in the US House of Representatives. Concerned that Moser is too liberal to unseat a Trump patsy, the DCCC has embarked in the kind of smear campaign pioneered and popularized by its political opponents.”

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/26/democratic-party-laura-moser-texas

        • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.1

          Can’t say that I’m surprised to hear that. Large problem with hierarchies is that the the people at the top actually do think that they’re better than everyone else and thus can make better decisions.

          History shows otherwise and research is also starting to show that decisions made with more people are better decisions.

          Do we really want that car/cellphone/PC designed by committee? Yes, yes we do.

          Then there’s the right-wing BS of only requiring one person to fund an idea. How many bad ideas has that funded? How much damage has it done? How many good ideas aren’t funded because they won’t make some rich idiot richer?

          Reality is almost always the exact opposite of right-wing philosophy. And the US Democrats are right-wing.

        • SPC 1.2.1.2

          Fletcher the Democrat candidate won 52.5 to 47.5. The Republican incumbent had held it since 2000.

    • Bill 1.3

      The only thing that’s “wrong” is Reid J Epstein’s spin at the Wall Street Journal.

      None of the progressives coalescing and organising around the midterms gave any kind of high profile to gun control. (links to policies in comment number 7 below). Nether did the more “establishment” orientated Democrats who (some anyway) campaigned on how they really weren’t so different from Trump, and that being the case, deserved to be the recipients of swing voter’s support.

      61% of Americans want tighter gun regulation – so it’s neither partisan nor age related.

      But picking on gun control and running with it, is very nice cover for not picking up on policies and demands of progressives.

      I wonder what the results would have been for “likes to drive Jeep” in terms of those voted out and voted in? As far as I know, no-one ran on policies around Jeep, just as no-one ran on policies around gun control.

    • mpledger 1.4

      These young people, who have turned to activism, have been directly affected by gun violence. They haven’t the life experience to know about better health care or drug care systems. Understanding the health care system is a university course in itself because it’s a big and complex system.

      In contrast, although it’s not going to be easy to get the law passed, the actual cognitive ability necessary to make good gun control law is held by pretty much anyone .

      • Bill 1.4.1

        You what?!

        So when you write – They haven’t the life experience to know about better health care or drug care systems. – you’re arguing that a supposed major impact on the election was exerted by people too young and stupid to understand stuff?

        That’s quite some line of argument.

    • Nik 1.5

      Disingenuous nonsense. Because the movement’s focus is on gun control, you suggest they must have no other views or ideas to deal with any other societal issue. There is zero logic to that assumption, so obviously one must question the purpose of your purposeful misdirection..?

      • Bill 1.5.1

        …you suggest they…

        Nope. I’m suggesting that the elevation of gun concern, as though it was a major issue determining how people voted in the midterms is political game playing.

        Look at the links I provided to four progressive multi-issue progressive platforms at comment 7, and show me where gun control features.

        Alternatively, show where an “establishment” Democrat ran gun control as a major part of their election campaign.

        And if/when you come up with gun control being less than a major policy on election platforms, provide the reason as to why it’s being touted as something of a touchstone issue now. (I’ve provided my reasoning for that being the case)

        I don’t do “misdirection”.

    • Gabby 1.6

      They just won’t subscribe to the nra onesntwos.

  2. Ad 2

    This is way the most hopeful post I’ve seen in a while.

    They won’t do everything, but they are engaged and involved.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    Americans seem not only allowed, but encouraged, to maintain mini arsenals of automatic weapons and hundreds of rounds, and even “open carry” their military grade hardware in some states

    easy gun access combined with alienation and depression, sees the sick and disgruntled’s “right to bear arms” in reality equate to blasting away at their fellow citizens on a daily basis as a first resort to what ails them

    307 mass shootings in 311 days had to be a typo? no unfortunately…
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/11/08/thousand-oaks-california-bar-shooting-307th-mass-shooting/1928574002/

    all power to the younger echelon of voters–the “coots in suits” have had their chance and failed horrendously

  4. Gosman 4

    If you want to get gun control reform in the US along the lines of what happened in Australia after the Port Arthur massacre it would require a constitutional amendment. That would be almost impossible to achieve. The best bet for those advocating tighter gun control laws is to have some restrictions on the worst types of firearms but an acceptance that US gun laws will be more liberal than other nations.

    • Wayne 4.1

      Not sure I would agree with that. Has the Supreme Court said a ban on Military Style Weapons is unconstitutional? I am pretty sure they haven’t.
      It seems likely that Australian or NZ style gun regulation is permissible within the context of the second amendment, if that is the will of Congress. Both Houses have to agree, but I think you will see some greater level of gun control, perhaps not Aus or NZ regulation, but much better than what currently exists.

      • Gosman 4.1.1

        SCOTUS has recently ruled against Gun control rules. This coupled with a more conservative bench means any additional measures banning an entire class of weapons currently allowed may well run in to issues. Personally I think the best that can be expected is that restrictions on who can and cannot purchase them rather than an outright ban.

      • McFlock 4.1.2

        I suppose they could expand the NFA definitions to include rate of fire and magazine size and expand registration that way, but with the SCOTUS line-up it might prove counter-productive.

    • The USA already has restrictions on certain weapons that the public cant buy… to say that its impossible to have is a fallacy

    • Gabby 4.3

      You just have to well-regulate the owners gozzer. Parade drill and square bashing twice a week, subject to military discipline, weapon checks up the wazoo, knock the gungho clean out of their fat arses.

    • Tricledrown 4.4

      Gosman once again you are making things up.
      The states with the tuffest st gun laws have the least gun related homicides the NRA are in decline gun manufacturers are going bankrupt.
      The constitution doesn’t need to be amended.
      The selling of guns to people with out a license and mentally ill could be stopled
      Australia had a massive buy back and made serial numbers compulsory.
      The republican party is the problem they get funding from the gun lobby the NRA and gun manufacturers.
      The public Backlash is slowly changing there ability to get corporate funding.

  5. That Medicare-for-all policy is a real winner though..

    https://freebeacon.com/politics/pelosi-cheers-for-more-pre-existing-medical-conditions/

    oh, yeah, well, maybe not…

    I wonder how many votes were simply a vote against Trump? After all a 2017 Washington Post-ABC News poll found a majority of Americans (52%) said the Democratic party “just stands against Trump”, while only 37% believed the party actually “stands for something”.

    It remains to be seen how far Pelosi et al. will go to stymie the Bernie Sanders led , insurgent progressive wave.

    • Ad 5.1

      The post discusses electoral performance not Committee performance. Wait for them to get sworn.

      With the biggest surge since Watergate and tonnes of fresh candidates there’s plenty to support the progressives side of the Dems.

    • The key issue I see with Medicare for all in the USA is most of the hospitals are privately run…

  6. Puckish Rogue 6

    Win the battle but lose the war

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/if-the-midterms-were-a-referendum-trump-won/2018/11/09/a39cc5fe-e44f-11e8-ab2c-b31dcd53ca6b_story.html?utm_term=.0fc98b4bb40b

    https://www.businessinsider.com.au/trump-actually-did-way-better-than-obama-in-his-first-midterm-2018-11?r=US&IR=T

    Presidents almost always lose a few dozen House seats in the midterms.Barack Obama lost 63 in 2010 and Bill Clinton lost 52 in 1994.

    The elections haven’t all been called yet, but Trump likely lost around 30 House seats, making it a pretty strong showing.

  7. Bill 7

    About 13% of Democrats and 8% of all voters said gun control was the most important issue affecting their vote. according to a poll quoted in that Wall Street Journal piece.

    And the Democratic Party is going to introduce tougher gun control measures when 61% of voters in the mid-terms (according to the same wsj article) thought gun control measures should be stricter.

    Meanwhile, Our Revolution, Justice Democrats, Brand New Congress and Democratic Socialists of America all have policies around medicare for all, living wage, cross sectional rights, voter reform, money in politics….

    None elevated gun control in their policy platforms.

    So, given where the focus of organising lay, and given that entrenched interests in the Democratic Party are not on board, why do you think some “safe” (in political terms) issue like gun control might be pushed up the agenda?

    It wouldn’t be case of seeking to avoid tackling those “harder” (some might say systemic and structural) or more substantive demands by any chance?

    • RedLogix 7.1

      Good observations there Bill. On reflection I don’t think the Americans will ever give up what they believe is their right to self-defense with guns. It’s fundamental and embedded into their culture. The current level of massacres are not going to change this; even if 10% of the population slaughtered themselves, gun sales would continue to soar.

      It would only stop at around 20% of the population. At that point most societies start falling apart and change happens.

      Foreward:

      I stopped updating this for every mass shooting.

      Because I was updating it every day.

      So now I update it only when the mass killing breaks some kind of record or is otherwise notable. Last time that happened was October 3, 2017. We’ve had dozens of mass shootings between then and now, and thousands of other incidents of gun violence.

      Congratulations on the slaughter, America. Heck of a job.

      It’s now been two three four five six years since I first wrote this on the day after a madman stepped into a darkened movie theater in Aurora, Colorado and started killing people. Since then more than ten twenty sixty ninety one-hundred-and-eight-thousand Americans have died from gun violence, three seven ten twenty sixty times more than died on September 11th, 2001, more than twenty-five times all the US military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, slightly more than the number of Americans killed in Vietnam. There have been so many mass shootings between the day I wrote this and now that I’ve lost track, and the agencies that are tasked with keeping track have to limit their definition of “mass-shooting” and “gun-violence” because they like me can’t keep up with it.

      One killing blurs into another and the bloody rampages seem to be our new national pastime.

      I got a lot of email regarding this post over the years.

      A lot of people told me I was wrong, some in less than flattering terms. Some threatened to beat me bloody or kill me to make their point.

      Those people are not only fools, they are damned fools.

      Jim Wright

      https://www.stonekettle.com/2012/07/the-seven-stages-of-gun-violence.html

      • Bill 7.1.1

        US citizens not giving up their penchant for “bearing arms” is much less important to my mind than “the establishment” not giving up on it’s habit of forcing a myriad of things on those same citizens from a position of (some would argue) total disconnect and denying those same citizens a myriad of things because of that same disconnect..

        • McFlock 7.1.1.1

          ISTR from some surveys of attitudes to gun vontrol in the US that gun control is one of those things being denied to citizens because of that disconnect.

          If I recall the story correctly, NRA started receiving funding as a lobby group for the industry more than the membership from about the 1970s. Before then it had actually been in favour of gun control and responsible gun ownership. But as a lobby group, it still retained a particularly active membership who voted on the gun issue – they could be relied on to call the representatives and vote based on the NRA rating.

          Now that the gun control vote seems just as mobilised as the NRA, if it keeps its legs then legislative change might be achievable over the next few years.

          In other words, the disconnect got so great that people affected negatively by that disconnect mobilised enough to vote.

          That makes me optimistic.

          • Bill 7.1.1.1.1

            Now that the gun control vote seems just as mobilised as the NRA,…

            But, is it?

            60% of American voters want stricter gun control (according to the article the post’s based on). So, politically it’s a fairly easy barrow to push. And it does not in any way affect the structural stuff that non-establishment Democrats have been pushing hard on.

            Which candidates campaigned with gun control as a major part of their platform? Any? Because if it wasn’t a major part of a number of platforms, then where does the “just as mobilised” come from?

            edit – Apparently The highest-profile gun-control advocate on the ballot Tuesday was Democrat Lucy McBath, who defeated GOP Rep. Karen Handel in a suburban Atlanta House contest.

            • McFlock 7.1.1.1.1.1

              An indication is the electorates switching from a candidate with an NRA “A” rating to a candidate with an NRA “F” rating, as mentioned in the post.

              • Bill

                What’s that an indication of? That thousands upon thousands of people voted with gun control uppermost in their mind?

                Even the linked article belies that notion with the poll it quotes.

                • McFlock

                  Uppermost? For thousands, probably. Tens or hundreds of thousands, maybe not.

                  But gun control is definitely one of those issues where many “representatives” are representing their funders rather than the people in their electorate.

                  To reject candidates A-graded by one of those funders to candidates with F-grades indicates a rejection of the principles supported by those funders, no? Especially if the funder is a single-issue lobbyist?

                  It’s not really important whether that issue was uppermost in either the voters’ minds or even the candidates’ manifestos – that’s a hell of a reversal, so there’s some relationship to changing attitudes in the electorate that did not favour the “establishment”.

                  • Bill

                    You read the WSJ piece, yes?

                    So you’re aware it pivots on levels of monies raised by pro and anti gun lobbyists.

                    And that 60% of Americans want tighter gun control.

                    And that 8% of all voters said guns (either pro or anti) was the most important issue affecting their vote.

                    And since going from previous comments on other posts you work around stats (and like wiki), I’ll throw in the fancy version of the fallacy – cum hoc ergo propter hoc.

                    I’m not going to bother asking how you got from lobbyists and funders on one side of an issue, to funders and lobbyists on the other side of an issue, and on to the conclusion “not establishment”.

                    • McFlock

                      Assuming you mean “with this therefore because of this”, not quite what I’m saying. “then maybe because of, or with some common cause as, ” rather than “therefore because of” would be more accurate.

                      All interpretations are just navel-gazing. There is no proof of anything. Maybe 52% of voters wanted more gun control but didn’t let it affect their vote. Maybe the pro-control lobby had massive support from some industry that would be benefitted by more gun control.

                      But I doubt it.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      I suspect the problem is what happens in an FFP environment where it’s truly only viable to vote for one major party or the other. Voting for any other party is nothing more than a wasted vote.

    • Macro 7.3

      I think you are overlooking the history of Democratics actions wrt to legislation on gun control Bill. Bear in mind that the Repugnants have had control of the House since 2012.
      Pressure for legislative change for more gun control has been building for some time – particularly following the Sandy Hook massacre – but NRA funded politicians have consistently voted down any attempts at introducing any legislation. That is not to say that there have not been some serious attempts in the past to introduce more federal regulations wrt to gun control. Indeed, in June 2016 the Democrats staged a 2 day “sit in” in the House in an attempt to get some agreement from the Republican controlled House to consider some form of limited legislation wrt firearms. (A so called “no fly- no buy” rule).
      https://www.politico.com/story/2016/06/democrats-stage-sit-in-on-house-floor-to-force-gun-vote-224656

      • Bill 7.3.1

        I’ve e no doubt that pressure for gun control has been building. Hell, 61% of the population want stricter gun controls according to the poll cited by the wsj piece.

        But is it that that explains the spike in younger people voting? Or is it down to a progressive movement that organised?

        This is from the post –

        Well I can’t help but wonder what effect they had on the midterm election results. Because it appears that youth voting went through the roof.

        Stab in the dark. But seeing as not one platform I can find put gun control front and centre stage, I’m picking it wasn’t gun control that led to a spike in younger voters.

        N’fact, I’ll go out on a limb and suggest it was talk of higher wages (that won in some ballots), getting money out of politics (electoral reforms also won in ballots), medicare (80%? in favour), climate change, free education…and those other major issues that were shared across a number of progressive platforms and that talked to young people’s concerns that led to a spike in younger voters.

        Put that against the fact that the Democratic Party establishment has fought against those advocating for a progressive platform, and you can begin to see why there might be some casting around for alternative explanations going on.

        There are a lot of corporate fuckers across Congress looking to dismiss the present and bury the future.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    All I can say is that I hope those young Americans get organised enough to change their bloody constitution.

    • Bewildered 8.1

      Nope eventually they grow up,if you looked at the 60s generation we should all be peace, love and a socialist utopia by now

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1

        They didn’t grow up – they just became greedy and selfish along with the rest of their society.

  9. mac1 9

    Has there been no research undertaken as to the issues which motivate young voters in the US? I know it’s a bit early for research-based questioning and the consequent reporting of such findings, but surely there were surveys with age-related voter issues canvassed?

    A six per cent increase up to 31% is an increase above the norm but ‘through the roof’?

    Surveys which proffer reasons for why 70-75% of young voters choose not to vote would be very revealing, and useful. it’s not the behaviour of people who believe in their democracy.

    It on the contrary would argue a reason why significant change does not happen in the US, simply because of the disengagement which the power-brokers realise is a reality to be fostered.

    Who profits from this situation?

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