The Democratic loser in yesterday’s special election to represent Montana’s at-large House district was seen in an ad caressing a gun he lovingly calls “this old rifle.” In another spot, Democratic nominee Rob Quist pulls a shiny bullet from his barn coat pocket, locks and loads, and fires at a TV airing a spot questioning his Second Amendment bona fides, Politico reports. (Quist lost to Republican Greg Gianforte, even though Gianforte was charged with body-slamming a reporter on election eve.) Quist’s break with the Democratic Party platform didn’t produce a peep from the activist left.
Are progressives knowingly practicing hard-headed electoral pragmatism? Or, as is more likely, are they ducking a divisive and frustrating issue for as long as possible, until another horrific mass shooting produces a fresh wave of outrage? Quist is not an isolated case. Progressives celebrated the spirited run in Kansas’ 4th Congressional District made by Democrat James Thompson, who brandished an assault weapon as he pledged to “fight for our personal freedoms.” They have not been bothered by Jon Ossoff’s avoidance of the gun issue in his bid to represent Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. The “big tent” mentality among progressives seems to apply only to guns. Democrats have been squeamish about gun control ever since they felt the backlash to President Bill Clinton’s support of a ban on assault weapons and “Brady Law” background checks, which shouldered some blame for the Democratic loss of Congress in 1994.