Showing posts with label gun lobbying. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gun lobbying. Show all posts

Thursday, July 26, 2012

It’s all fiction: NRA has no effectual control over elections - Part 2

In Part 1, Paul Waldman’s first and second studies on the effects of the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) on political elections in relation to money contributed to candidates and the organization’s influence on the outcome of the elections, covered the NRA’s (1)“Ineffective Spending,” and its (2)“Overrated Endorsements.”  The conclusive evidence of Waldman’s study confirms that, “The NRA has virtually no impact on congressional elections.”

Today in the third and fourth studies the author covers the sources of the myth that the NRA wields unlimited power in getting congressional leaders and presidents elected and then the contemporary status of guns in America.  Waldman seeks to literally knock out the foundations that provide “…the mistaken reading of history that allows the NRA to continue to make legislators live in fear of taking on the gun lobby.  In other words expose the NRA lies.

As NRA mythology goes, it all started in the early 1900s, during Bill Clinton’s first administration where the omnibus crime bill was passed in 1993 banning the sale of assault weapons.  Clinton even commented that the fight for the assault weapons ban cost 20 members their seats in Congress.  He added that the NRA was the reason that Republicans controlled the house.  Actually this wasn’t true as the study found a minimum impact on the 1994 election from NRA support.

“Republicans won the House in 1994,” Congressional scholar Gary Jacobson  wrote, “because an unusually large number of districts voted locally as they had been voting nationally,” or, they voted for Congress as they had for president.  It was highly partisan politics where some Democrats suddenly found themselves in trouble in GOP-leaning districts.  It probably had nothing to do with gun legislation, more likely to have been affected by Clinton’s health care reform.

NRA head, wacky Wayne LaPierre even said in speaking to the group’s annual convention in 2002, “You are why Al Gore isn’t in the White House.”  Many experts say, if Ralph Nader hadn’t run, Al Gore would no doubt have won.  And when Waldman looked for evidence that Gore’s stance on gun control cost him decisive votes, he found none.  He even carried states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota and Iowa on the issue.

Waldman reiterates: “the National Rifle Association didn’t win Congress for the GOP in 1994, and it didn’t deliver the White House to George W. Bush in 2000.”  He also comments on a common theme that seems to surface during the analysis, “what the NRA claims credit for usually turns out upon closer examination to be nothing more than elections in which Republicans do well.”  Two glaring examples, Pres. Obama’s and Pres. Clinton’s election wins.

The NRA was in their blustering, bumbling profile while waving the flags over 1994 and 2000 victories, but were completely silent when the Democrats won in 2006 and 2008.

NRA caught with their pants down
 In Paul Waldman’s fourth study, he addresses the current status of “guns in America,” which has been experiencing a long, steady decline over the years.  We’re down to around 32 percent of U.S. households (37,349,213) owning guns, so this raises even more red flags in my mind.  If you do the math, the actual number of guns per households is 8, based on approximately 300,000,000 firearms in the country.  Now here’s the question:

Based on recent reports that gun sales have surged due to the Aurora, Colo. movie carnage, similar to past incidents of gun massacres, are these new guns going into the same households or are they new purchasers?  Either way we are putting more guns on the street thanks to the National Rifle Assn. (NRA).  But, if they are going into the same gun nut households, it is yet another example of an out-of-control nation that loves its guns more than it does its citizens’ lives. 

And that is how we are viewed worldwide.   

 The actual decline in gun sales dates back to 1977 when 54 percent of American adult households owned weapons, but by 2010 the number had fallen 22 percentage points to 32 percent.  Young adult, African American, Hispanic and Asian households have low percentages of gun ownership.  The right to own firearms has become more popular recently in the U.S., along with a majority of Americans that believe in reasonable gun controls.

Watch a not-too-accurate video on NRA lobbying:

Assault weapons, what James Holmes used in the Aurora movie theatre shooting, is another thing.  A CBS/New York Times poll in January 2011 found 63 percent of respondents favoring a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons, almost unchanged from the 67 percent that favored such a ban in March 2000 (and even a majority of gun owners favored an assault weapons ban), as reported by Waldman.

Two-thirds of Americans believe in the rights of the 2nd Amendment, but 86 percent want waiting periods to buy a gun.  79 percent support registration while 51 percent think we should limit the number of guns a person can own.  70 percent want gun permits and 85 percent of all gun owners, 69 percent of NRA members support mandatory background checks at gun shows. 

What is it about these numbers that President Obama and the Congress don’t understand?    

Paul Waldman closes by saying, “…the NRA’s vaunted power to determine which politicians win and lose at the ballot box is a myth, one that the group and its allies work hard to sustain. If more legislators understood that fact, it would become more likely that future debates about guns reflect Americans actual habits and beliefs.”

I’m hoping, that seeing this study, gun control advocates like The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, The Brady Campaign and States United to Prevent Gun Violence, would make certain copies of all four studies from Paul Waldman get in the hands of President Obama and every Senator and House Representative.  The Aurora, Colo. massacre was a tragedy, but if we use this and other gun violence to initiate stronger gun controls, we will pay honor to the victims.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It’s all fiction: NRA has no effectual control over elections

ThinkProgress has done a very comprehensive study on the effects of the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) on political elections in relation to money contributed to candidates and the organization’s influence on the outcome of the elections.  It reads like a political novel (only true) that exposes the bad guys for just what they are.  Paul Waldman, Contributing Editor at The American Prospect, and author of the study said: “The NRA has virtually no impact on congressional elections.”

In Part 1 of the study, he continues, “The NRA endorsement, so coveted by so many politicians, is almost meaningless. Nor does the money the organization spends have any demonstrable impact on the outcome of races. In short, when it comes to elections, the NRA is a paper tiger.”  The NRA didn’t deliver Congress to the GOP in 1994 or the White House to George W. Bush in 2000.  As a matter of fact, gun ownership has been steadily declining In the U.S. for decades.

In the above, the NRA took full credit for both election issues and has repeatedly denied the deteriorating interest in guns.

Yet Republicans and Democrats alike back off in horror when asked to confront the NRA on gun control.  This lack of gun lobby influence includes independent expenditure (IE) campaigns where they could spend much more than averages for House and Senate races, which are $2,500 and $5,000 respectively.  The IEs amount to less than $10,000 in the House and around $30,000 for the Senate.  IEs are for/against campaigns with no direct connection to the candidate.

As an example, “In the last four elections, the NRA spent over $100,000 on an IE in 22 separate Senate races. The group’s favored candidate won 10 times, and lost 12 times.”  But it’s probably the “wins” that the knuckleheads in Congress concentrate on.

My take is that, regardless of the complete ineffectiveness of its support, the NRA spreads around its money across the board to those in Congress just so they can engage in bullying tactics to keep Senators and Representatives in line.  This gang of gun thugs, from the NRA’s head wacko Wayne LaPierre right down to its dwindling membership, could not function, even exist, these days without their fear-mongering tactics.

Watch a not-too-accurate video on NRA lobbying:

In the second part of this series, Paul Waldman endeavors to illustrate just how overrated the coveted NRA endorsement is.  He achieves stunning success.  Most think that with this affirmation, candidates have clear sailing through what they perceive as the NRA’s grassroots organizational scheming.  Waldman proves that the NRA’s stamp of approval is “largely a myth.”  What you have to understand is that NRA endorsements are given as reward for cooperation.

90 percent of GOP House incumbents got the endorsement in 2004, 91 percent in 2006, 96 percent in 2008, and 97 percent in 2010.  In many cases they are incumbents likely to win without the NRA, some who ran in their races unopposed.  86 percent of NRA House endorsements went to incumbents in the last four elections.  In other words, here is the payoff for doing what we told you to do, take a perpetual stand against gun control legislation. 

Waldman did a regression analysis using data from all House races where there was a margin of victory of 20 points or above, that measured the “what ifs” and holding constant the factors influencing the outcome.  The latter applied to an NRA endorsement associated with more positive results for the endorsee.  Here are the results:

  • Republican incumbents in contested races get no statistically significant advantage from getting the NRA’s endorsement; they do no better than those who are not endorsed.

  • Democratic incumbents who are endorsed by the NRA get no statistically significant advantage from being endorsed.

  • Republican candidates in open seat races get no statistically significant advantage from an NRA endorsement (the group endorsed only a few Democrats in open seat races, too few for meaningful statistical analysis).

NRA caught with their pants down

In fairness, there is one group that will receive a small boost: “Republican challengers who get endorsed when they run against Democratic incumbents do about 2 percentage points better than similar candidates who don’t get the endorsement.”  But only 5 percent of the NRA’s endorsements go to Republican challengers.  Waldman makes another conclusion that, “…in all but a tiny number of races, the NRA endorsement is essentially meaningless.

To back that up, the author offers; in 2004, all of the 4 NRA-endorsed challengers lost to their Democratic opponents, as did all 4 NRA-endorsed challengers in 2006. In 2008, 11 out of the 12 NRA-endorsed challengers lost.  In 2010, only 18 of 36 challengers won.  According to Waldman:

“That means that based on this analysis, in the last four federal elections, in which the NRA made a total of 1038 endorsements in House races, the group could claim credit for a grand total of 4 wins.”

Still, both Republicans and Democrats fight fiercely for the NRA’s support, convinced that they could not win without the gun lobby.  And wacko Wayne goes right along with the whole charade gloating over the fact that he has most of Congress in his back pocket.  If the Aurora, Colo. movies massacre doesn’t help to remedy some of this out-of-control lobbying, we might as well just wipe the books clean of all gun laws and allow guns everywhere, anytime, anybody.

I think not!

Part 2, including the 3rd and 4th studies next.

Donald Trump Says He Will Be Indicted On Tuesday

  THAT'S TODAY... Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has brought the case to this point, now looking at a possible indictment. Trum...