Did the Colorado recall have an impact on the gun control debate?
Sean Trende sees some lessons.
I do think that there’s one area where these recalls really are important. After the failure of the Senate gun-control bill, it was fashionable to argue, a la the Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky: “You cannot oppose the will of 90 percent of the public and expect no consequences.”
It appears that you can. For one thing, that 90 percent number represents something of a best case result drawn from a best-case question wording; actual public support for, say, universal background checks is somewhat lower (though clearly still a majority). Perhaps, as I explained in April, the energy is all on the side of the voters who oppose gun control. For example, while Americans might support universal background checks in the abstract, in practice they just don’t care that much about it. Those who oppose them, however, care a lot.
Gun-control proponents had argued that Newtown changed everything. The Colorado recalls are a fresh reminder of how weak an argument that truly is.