The National Rifle Association has significantly fewer allies in Congress than it did a decade ago, a decline driven by the near-total fraying of the group’s ties to Democrats in the House and the Senate, according to a The New York Times analysis of the group’s letter grades and endorsements.
The NRA still has considerable clout with Republicans, including President Trump and Senate leaders, and it is now flexing its muscles in the debate over background checks. Yet for many years, the group’s influence was broader and deeper because of its large numbers of friends in both parties. These political allies received “A” ratings from the NRA and often feared grade reductions if they crossed it. Now, the number of Democrats in the House with “A” ratings has fallen from 63 after the 2008 elections to three after the 2018 midterms. Support for the NRA has always been much stronger among Republicans than Democrats, both in Congress and in the electorate. But until recently, a significant minority of Democrats were on board with the group. In the current Congress, slightly more than half of all members have F’s. Each of the past four congressional elections has brought in more F-rated legislators than the last.