Tacking left

There’s a problem that affects all presidential candidates: The electorate voting in the primaries is not the electorate you’ll face in November.

We see this highlighted in Hillary Clinton’s “Bernie Problem”. Democrat primary voters are the party’s activist core. They’re far more left wing than are the party’s rank-and-file voters and way to the left of the average American. But before she can win the general election, Hillary has to win the primaries by winning over those far left wing voters. And to do that, she has to get to the left of Bernie Freakin’ Sanders. That’s like getting to the left of Karl Marx. To accomplish this, she’s settled on gun control as the issue where Sanders might be vulnerable. This is not going to end well for her.

In 2008, with her party still smarting after Algore’s defeat in 2000, Hillary dialed back the anti-gun rhetoric. Gore lost his home State of Tennessee, and the election, because he championed gun control. (After years of claiming to support gun rights.) But now she needs to get around Bernie Freakin’ Sanders’ left flank…

But now Hillary is all in against gun rights at a time when gun ownership in America has been rising for at least a decade and now surpasses 100 million gun owners. Hillary has even made her desire to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) into a common part of her stump speeches. She says the PLCAA gives gun makers “carte blanche” protection from civil liability, which is such a whopper that Politifact looked into this and ruled Clinton’s claim to be “false.”

After coming out this strongly against a basic American freedom, Hillary will have a hard time pivoting to a less extreme position on gun rights. It will be especially hard for her given that the U.S. Supreme Court’s balance is so obviously at stake in this November’s election.

Any sailor will tell you that there are times when the wind doesn’t take you in the direction you want. And in a race, wind shifts can leave you badly out of position. You might have made great time chasing the wind off on the left side of the course at the beginning of the race, but a change in the wind could leave your opponent closer to the finish line. You were ahead,  but now you’re forced to make an extra tack before you can get close to the buoy on the left end of the finish line. Your opponent, who stayed closer to the centerline of the course, doesn’t have that problem.

In racing, the wind is what it is and you can’t predict it. That’s not the case in politics. Hillary knows the wind will shift come November. It always does. She’s going to have a hard time tacking back to starboard if she wants to be competitive this Fall.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply