Here’s an interesting bit of gossip. I’m hearing that Maggart didn’t lose because of some great NRA influence in her district, but because she didn’t campaign anywhere but Hendersonville and it pissed her base off that she thought she could just skate by acting like she had this all but won because she had such powerful friends.
If so, it suggests two interesting things–one, the Republicans might also have some leadership problems. While I agree with folks that say that Tennessee will be Republican for a long time, the thing I have been stunned to see is that Republican politicians seem to think this means that they will be in office for a long time, as if the state leaning more conservative means that voters are happy with those particular Republicans.
It’s like thinking that, if you are on a baseball team that has had a hundred years of losing seasons and you are among the guys who take your division, that you won’t be traded for a player the coach thinks works better.
Who has two elections-worth of power and decides that means they are untouchable? What kind of party leadership lets individual politicians make that mistaken assumption?
And two, it means that the support of the gun lobby was not as big a factor as it’s being played up as, but is, instead, a convenient scapegoat. Maggart lost through no fault of her own, but because a powerful lobby set against her. You can see both why politicians would promote this narrative and why the gun lobby would.
But the fact of the matter on the conservative side remains this–permissive gun laws are widely favored by individuals and more restrictive gun laws are favored by businesses. Individual gun rights people can crow about spending $75,000 on that one race, but the issue remains–do you think, say, FedEx or Ingram or Amazon would blink at spending $75,000?
That’s a shit ton of money for an advocacy group. It’s chump change to multinational businesses. I don’t believe there’s an astute Republican politician in this state who doesn’t know that.
I’ll be more convinced the “Safe Commute” bills have a chance of passing when and if we see the insurance lobbyists not the gun lobbyists working on them.
Until then, I just don’t believe Republicans are ready to piss off the people with the most money.