In the wake of the Parkland school shooting, something amazing happened. Unlike other mass shootings, which cause a flurry of calls for gun control that usually fizzle out in a week or so, this one resulted in a sustained conversation and some sort-of tangible damage to the NRA.
The change came because many of the Stoneman Douglas High School students who survived the shooting became organized — attending rallies, tweeting, and appearing on major networks — to call for gun control. Or so we thought.
About two weeks after what was reported as a movement by the students, forensic science specialist David Hines discovered that the whole “movement” was actually a coordinated plan from the Left. Within two days of the shooting, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., was helping the kids; teacher’s unions, groups associated with Michael Bloomberg, and people connected to the Women’s March were all assisting in securing funding and promotion. Planned Parenthood, George Clooney, and Oprah Winfrey all donated money to the effort.
The Right Victims For The Right Moment
There’s more. Tweets referring to the NRA’s Carry Guard insurance as “Murder Insurance” went from being largely ignored during prior pushes to getting certain Center for American Progress-related accounts hundreds of retweets. Those tweets were being pushed and circulated in a way they hadn’t been before.
Basically, the left had money and infrastructure ready to go for an all-out assault on guns and the NRA, they just needed the right moment — the right victims.
It’s sickening, when you think about it; they were basically waiting for children to die so that they could swoop in and blame everyone they dislike, instead of the actual shooter. They paraded grieving children in front of cameras without any care for their well-being just to help their cause.
And as much as it pains me to say this, and as much as I think this was a horrible thing for the Left to do; the right should learn from these tactics. Everyone remembers Michelle Obama saying “When they go low, we go high,” even though neither party really goes high. It was probably the most ridiculous thing she said as First Lady. Because what the Left has down with Parkland is not high, it’s incredibly low.
But this is where we are in politics, and if the Right wants to win on some policy issues, they’re going to have to find ways to do this too.
The Right does have a recent example of manufacturing a movement. The Tea Party rallies weren’t completely organic. Right-leaning groups trained activists and set up meetings to stoke outrage at spending that eventually grew into the massive political movement. The different with the Right’s efforts to prop up a movement is that they didn’t require people to die for it to get off the ground. Government overspending rarely causes deaths.
An Organized National Conversation
Now that Donald Trump is president, the Right doesn’t appear to be starting any movements or marches or rallies — when they really should be. Just because there’s a Republican in the White House doesn’t mean the Right should stop working to get issues in front of the public.
I know, I know, there are a ton of right-leaning groups out there working on these issues behind the scenes. I’m talking about starting a national conversation, like the Tea Party did. No, they didn’t force President Barack Obama to spend less, but they fired up enough Americans to give Republicans a historic win in the House of Representatives in 2010 and multiple governorships and state legislatures across the country. Tea Parties left the rallies and started working to get people elected — and less spending is a pretty simple and broad message.
The Left’s movements — the anti-Semitic Women’s March and this push for gun control — may not help them win at the ballot boxes in November, since gun control is a divisive issue and the Women’s March just preaches to the choir about left-wing issues. Still, their movements have potentially helped make President Trump shy away from avoiding gun control defunding Planned Parenthood.
If the Right wants other major policy issues addressed, such as immigration reform, it might have to sink to the Left’s level. Ready the money and lay down the infrastructure for a big push for a border wall or crackdown on illegal immigration (or whatever they want most) and be ready to go the next time an illegal immigrant commits a heinous crime.
(For the record, I don’t condone this, and I don’t think all illegal immigrants should be demonized because some murder or steal.)
I would hope the Right can find a way to create such a movement without using a tragedy as a starting point, like they did with the Tea Parties. But they’re going to need to start creating some counter movements to try and get some policy wins. It doesn’t have to be a protest against Trump, but as a way of creating momentum for Republicans in congress to produce bills that actually fulfill their campaign promises.