Former Democratic National Committee Chair and governor of Vermont Howard Dean stopped by MSNBC, where a discussion about winning back working class voters morphed into accusing the National Rifle Association of being a white supremacist group. The clip, courtesy of the Washington Free Beacon’s Conor Beck, shows Dean saying how the Republican Party is out of step, how working class voters wanted change, and how the GOP’s repeal attempts will lead to a buyer’s remorse. He also agreed that Hillary Clinton would have been a great president, though conceded that she wouldn’t have brought change.
Yet, before that admission, host Katy Tur pushed back on Dean’s notion that President Trump’s base can’t win in national elections, and that the GOP is out of touch, mentioning a) Trump won; and b) the GOP retained control of Congress with minimal losses in 2016. Also, they increased their footprint in the state and local arena as well.
It’s just the seat of irony that Dean thinks that the GOP is out of the mainstream when more Americans increasingly feel that Democrats are the ones who are on Pluto on a whole host of issues, especially cultural ones. Dean’s remarks perfectly encapsulate the Democratic reaction to their string of losses: it’s not that I’m out of touch; it’s just that everyone else is wrong. That mindset will be fatal politically, but I digress.
Dean responded by saying that he feels that the majority of Trump voters are not right wing gun nuts, but added that some are, while throwing in a jab at the recent NRA ad that slams politically motivated violence. For Dean, it was a disgusting media spot that was rooted in white supremacy, or something (via Free Beacon):
"A lot of the Trump voters are not far-right nut cases with guns that want to shoot up the place," Dean said.
"Well, I don't think anyone is defining them that way," Tur said.
"No, but there certainly are some of them," Dean said, before making his comments about the NRA.
"And the NRA put an appalling ad out there which really, basically made the statement that the NRA was now a white supremacist group," Dean continued. "I couldn’t believe the ad I saw. So there are far right people who are crazy for Donald Trump."
Okay—first the NRA is not a white supremacist group. That’s nonsense. Second, we’re back at this again. If you watch the ad, which features NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch, she clearly is slamming politically motivated violence. Right now, those with left wing tilt to their politics are committing this violence. We just had James Hodgkinson, an avowed leftist and Bernie Sanders supporter; attempt a mass assassination of GOP lawmakers in Alexandria, Virginia last month. The Republican congressional baseball team was practicing in the early morning of June 14, when shots rang out. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) was seriously injured after being shot in the hip. He recently underwent surgery to manage an infection.
If the message still wasn’t clear to the mentally impaired, Loesch did another video, where she said that violence used in the context of a political debate is the refuge of the idiot and the cowardly. That goes for anyone, no matter what his or her political affiliation. Violence is bad when it comes to politics. Is that now controversial? For the Left, they felt Loesch’s ad was a call for civil war, the protection of white supremacy, and maybe a green light to shoot liberals—all of which is false. Frankly, it seems that Loesch's remarks about fighting dishonest liberal narratives with a “clenched fist of truth” is what triggered them. Where were they when she issued the same warning to The New York Times?
“We’re going to laser focus on your honest pursuit of truth. In short, we’re coming for you,” she said in that ad from April of 2017. We’re dealing with softies, here.
Why is there such a disconnect? Well, maybe the American Journal of Political Science can explain from their study on political affiliation and psychoticism. In 2012, they said conservatives were more inclined towards the former, which was corrected in 2016:
The authors regret that there is an error in the published version of “Correlation not Causation: The Relationship between Personality Traits and Political Ideologies” American Journal of Political Science 56 (1), 34–51. The interpretation of the coding of the political attitude items in the descriptive and preliminary analyses portion of the manuscript was exactly reversed. Thus, where we indicated that higher scores in Table 1 (page 40) reflect a more conservative response, they actually reflect a more liberal response. Specifically, in the original manuscript, the descriptive analyses report that those higher in Eysenck’s psychoticism are more conservative, but they are actually more liberal; and where the original manuscript reports those higher in neuroticism and social desirability are more liberal, they are, in fact, more conservative.
Yeah—liberals are just nuts.
Full disclosure: I’ve been a NRA member for almost ten years. I often go to their fantastic gun range in Virginia and I’ve never been asked to leave because of my race, nor have I seen any “whites only” signs.