While the mainstream media and others giddily touted how Donald Trump's candidate lost in Alabama's run-off election Tuesday, don't be fooled. President Trump didn't lose yesterday. He won. In fact, not only did Donald Trump win, but so too did gun owners – in a big way.
As a member of the Trump Second Amendment coalition team, I've met some great people and they have shared a lot of their political their insights. While we would like to implement major rollbacks of gun control, the Washington D.C. swamp has bogged down Team Trump reforms at every turn.
House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate President Mitch McConnell stand as the single biggest enemies of gun rights reform in Congress. While both talk a good game at election time, the truth is that neither could give a damn about gun rights or gun owners. Their priority remains protecting the fetid cesspool commonly known as the deep state.
Yes, Donald Trump endorsed and campaigned for Luther Strange in Alabama's U.S. Senate run-off election. Sort of. In fact, Breitbart News described Trump's endorsement as "tortured". Indeed. Speaking last Friday in Huntsville, Trump said:
“We have to be loyal in life,” Trump said. “There is something called loyalty, and I might have made a mistake and I’ll be honest, I might have made a mistake."
… “By the way, both good men and you know what, I told Luther … if his opponent wins, I’m going to be here campaigning like hell for him,”
As a former Senator might have said, President Trump doesn't take a dump without a plan. Trump supported the "establishment" Republican guy in order to leverage their support for tax reform, Obamacare repeal and the border wall. When Trump's initiatives failed to gain support of the establishment GOP (eGOP), Trump's subsequent "I might have made a mistake" line makes a lot more sense. After all, Trump knows how to give a glowing endorsement when he wants to. And Trump's rally for Luther Strange, if anything, showed just how to make a "tortured" endorsement.
In fact, President Trump might as well as have spoken directly to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in that speech. "Mitch, we have to be loyal in life. There's something called loyalty, and I gave you mine. I might have made a mistake in giving you my loyalty, because you're betraying me at every turn."
McConnell spent dearly – $30 million worth – trying to help "Big Luther" over the finish line. In the end, that money bought only a stinging ten-point defeat. With the crushing loss of "his" candidate, McConnell's power will diminish further after Roy Moore wins Alabama's special election in December.
Elsewhere, Tennessee's Senator Bob Corker has read the writing on the wall. He just announced his own retirement. From
Jeff Bezos' blog, the Washington Post:
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) announced Tuesday that he will not seek reelection next year, another blow to the Republican establishment on the same day the latest GOP effort to revamp the Affordable Care Act failed.
Corker and other Republican leaders in Congress have come under fire from President Trump and his supporters for not delivering in the early days of the administration.
Look for other "retirements" as well, according to Politico. Retiring incumbents would prove bad for both McConnell and his establishment Republicans. Democrats have their own set of problems aside from possible retirements. 2018's elections will have Dems trying to defend ten of their U.S. Senate seats held in states Trump won. McConnell does not have $30M to throw at each of a dozen or more races to shore up his eGOP wing of the party.
Yesterday's election result will increase the already growing pressure on Ryan and McConnell to stop dragging their feet on President Trump's agenda, including gun rights reform. Ultimately, as the 2018 elections grow nearer, gun owners and others will demand action, not rhetoric.
Expect some movement on pro-gun legislation before the end of this year – specifically national reciprocity and suppressor regulation reform. Both will almost certainly pass the House before Christmas. Passage in the Senate will happen if McConnell decides he wants to throw some red meat to conservatives. He may need to in order to preserve some of his eGOP friends.
Either way, expect these and other gun rights legislation to become law ahead of the 2018 elections.
If next year's vote follows the current trend, both Ryan and McConnell could lose their leadership posts. If that happens, buy stock in Depend undergarments. The good folks at The Trace and big daddy Bloomberg's Everytown will need a lot of them.