According to some, it kind of seems like Democrats have given up on gun control. Even anti-gun zealot Michael Bloomberg seems to be moderating his position, putting money into Democrat Senate campaigns that feature Senators who were no votes on gun control legislation last year:
Mitchell observed that Bloomberg had previously appeared to be “single issue focused on guns at the risk of jeopardizing Senate for Democrats.” TIME Magazine reporter Mark Halperin confirmed that Bloomberg not only resisted pressure from the two highest ranking Democrats in the Senate, but also former President Bill Clinton, who asked Bloomberg to temper his enthusiasm for attacking politicians who oppose stricter gun laws if those politicians happen to be Democrats.
Halperin added that, while there are many Democrats in the Senate up for reelection this year, they all enjoy some advantages; including strong fundraising, weak Republican challengers, and incumbency itself. These incumbents, he insisted, may hang on in November in spite of six-year midterm headwinds, but attacking these Senate Democrats from the left could imperil them by reducing the base’s enthusiasm.
CNN reports that the Democratic Super PAC to which Bloomberg donated millions has already gone up with ads in support of some of this election cycle’s most embattled Senate Democrats, including Pryor, Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Mark Begich (D-AK). Each voted “no” on a resolution that would have banned high-capacity magazines in April of last year. Thus, Bloomberg has financially rooted himself on both sides of the guns issue.
Message received: the most important public policy challenge of 2013 was not all that important after all, at least when directly balanced against Democratic control of the upper chamber of Congress. Furthermore, even the most principled among us can be moved to abandon their cause so long as the pressure is intense enough.
So have Democrats given up on gun control? The answer is…no, of course not. It’s just an election year, and since gun control policies are so wildly unpopular that when Democrats push them the most consistent result in a surge in gun sales, Democrats don’t like to talk about gun control during election years.
I’m sure Bloomberg has been sold on the idea that he should support Democrats now – even Democrats who haven’t been that cooperative with his gun control agenda – in exchange for Democrats taking up the cause again in a non-election year.