Over the past few months, the National Rifle Association has released a succession of Web videos, all strikingly bellicose even by the standards of the association, reports The New Yorker. They’re notable for how far they seem to veer from the NRA’s ostensible priority, defending gun rights. NRATV published a video that featured images of the New York Times’ headquarters and interspersed footage of violent protesters with commentary accusing the left of inciting people “to smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports, bully and terrorize the law-abiding, until the only option left is for the police to do their jobs and stop the madness.” In another video, Dom Raso, a barrel-chested former Navy seal and NRATV contributor, declared that the country had fallen into “organized anarchy, led by people who hate our President and who hate the people who support him.” After a Washington Post article commented that Raso’s “dark video” had failed to even mention guns, the NRA went after the Post.
Richard Feldman, a former NRA lobbyist, said the group’s great political success can actually be problematic for it. The NRA is not so much interested in winning,” Feldman said. “They’re interested in fighting, because fighting is great for fund-raising and membership recruitment.” Hillary Clinton in the White House, with her support for tougher gun laws, would have been a boon for the NRA. Trump’s surprise election meant the association needed to recalibrate, and quickly. The NRA adjusted its customer-acquisition strategy by, aping the angry rhetoric of the candidate it championed. The media outrage over the videos only fuels the NRA.