Thanks to the tireless and inspiring work of the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting—who have been organizing, protesting, and dunking on politicians like Marco Rubio—it looks like the issue of gun control is only gaining steam ahead of the 2018 midterms.
Someone apparently forgot to tell the Democratic Party, though, because they seem to want no part of this growing movement. This morning, Meredith Kelly, a spokeswoman for the House Democrats’ campaign arm, told The Hill that “the party has no plan for a national messaging strategy on gun reform, citing the ‘geographically and culturally diverse House battlefield.’” One Senate Democratic aide told the paper that “it’s not going to be a top down every state strategy. Some places it will work, Illinois, Florida and Colorado suburban districts. And other places it won’t, like North Carolina.”
This is despite the fact that national polling for gun control measures has reached an all-time high in the wake of the Florida school shooting. According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, two-thirds of Americans support stricter gun laws—including gun owners, who support them by 50–44 percent. Literally almost everyone—97 percent of people—supports universal background checks, and 75 percent of voters think Congress needs to do more to reduce gun violence.
This isn’t to say that Democrats shouldn’t try to tailor their messages effectively depending on which district they are running in. But there is often a misperception among Democratic politicians about the liberalism of their districts when it comes to gun control. According to analysis by Sean McElwee in Vice, in the average DCCC target district—that is, Republican-held districts that Democrats are targeting—support for closing gun show loopholes is at 88 percent and support for an assault weapons ban is at 61 percent. As McElwee writes, “in reality, Democrats can run on common-sense gun regulations and win, even in the reddest districts they need to win back the House.”
The students at Stoneman High School have shown enormous backbone and political energy in the wake of the shooting. They deserve for their Democratic politicians to do the same.