By Tom Reynolds Treasurer and At-Large Director
Since Franklin Roosevelt was President, the United States has moved slowly to the left domestically, as if on the installment plan; in small steps our elected officials moved us into socialism but few noticed the “low monthly payment”. Then, in 2009, Barrack Obama and the Democrats got greedy and decided to foreclose on America by instituting wholesale socialist changes. Much to their surprise, America suddenly felt the accumulated pain, realized what was happening and reacted strongly to the erosion of their Constitution and traditional American values. The TEA Party was the most prominent example of this reaction and it grew to become a powerful anti-socialist force in the Republican Party. Driven by the TEA Party, over the next three election cycles, the Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives, then the Senate, and finally the Presidency.
New York State endured something similar. Liberal gun grabbers enjoyed some small successes until Andrew Cuomo went wild in 2013 with the SAFE Act. Many gun owners were awakened from their lethargy and 2nd Amendment defense organizations (such as SCOPE) saw their memberships increase dramatically.
Unfortunately, as America moved farther from 2009, the TEA Party lost some of its energy. 2nd Amendment defense organizations also saw memberships drop as we moved further from the 2013 birth of the SAFE Act. Some of this should have been expected as we moved away from the crisis event and those marginally involved people dropped out. But unlike the TEA Party, 2nd Amendment defense organizations had little tangible results other than having helped to block further erosion of 2A rights. These blocks were made possible by the Republican held New York Senate which acted as a kind of goal keeper; it blocked most – but not all - of the left wing craziness’ shots and NEVER went on the offense.
In 2018, Socialism started a recovery on the national level as Democrats won the House and in New York as Democrats took over the NY Senate. Unlike the federal level where Republicans control the Senate and the Presidency and can neuter the socialist tendencies of the House, the far left now controls all branches of New York’s government. And don’t expect any help from the courts as Cuomo appointees dominate the Appeals levels and those appointees have never shown any allegiance to the Constitutional rights of citizens, such as those in the 2nd Amendment.
How did this happen? No one cause covers everything, but one major issue is certainly the preponderance of Republicans In Name Only (RINO’s) among that party’s elected and elite. Personally, I consistently voted Republican or Conservative, but I did it while holding my nose. Too many Republicans in safe districts are content to have a career based on being “the lesser of two evils”. If these safe districts were Democratic, many incumbents would probably have no problem changing parties and adopting centrist Democratic principles, since they basically have already done that. This kind of leadership does not inspire marginally involved people to get out and vote – until the next crisis hits when it may be too late. Only then will some get engaged, but many will still only complain as they see the same Republican establishment faces that caused the problem and will not see the point in working and voting for those faces.
The second major issue is the incompetence of the Republican Party’s leadership. There are so many problems there, I can only summarize them.
In New York, the Republican and Conservative parties’ strength is overwhelmingly in Upstate. So, where do the state chairmen park their butts? Michael Long (ever heard of him?) has been the Conservative Party chair since 1988 and lives in Brooklyn. Ed Cox (who occasionally ventures into the wilds of Upstate) has been the Republican Party chairman since 2009 and lives on Long Island. They are much like the generals who stay well behind the front lines but believe they know what’s happening from reports they get. Not exactly inspirations to the troops.
Although Republicans controlled the NY Senate for decades, the last Senate Majority leader from Upstate was Warren Anderson, of Binghamton, in the early 1980s. Again, Upstate Republicans are missing from the corridors of power even though they are the strength of the Republican Party.
On the national level, we may have just endured the two worst Republican House Speakers in history. (I only say “may have” because I don’t know the history of all House Speakers, but it is hard to imagine two worst ones than John Boehner and Paul Ryan). In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell only seems motivated when there is a Supreme Court appointment at stake (but that does rank him ahead of Boehner and Ryan who were never motivated to effective action.) When the Democrats had both houses of Congress they were ruthless. Boehner and Ryan got control by promising to end Obamacare, fix immigration and defund Planned Parenthood but they were pussycats. Many promises were made but few were kept by this infamous leadership.
So, how do we dig ourselves out of this hole? First, keep in mind that the Democrats are Socialists and Socialism ALWAYS fails. We have to be in position when that happens.
Our immediate New York goal should be to regain the NY Senate in 2020 and we may have Andrew Cuomo’s ego to help us. Most are pretty sure he will make a run for the presidency in 2020 and his strategy should help us. Will he try to strengthen his far left credentials and, thus, provoke a crisis? Remember, it was Obama’s overreach that created the TEA Party and Cuomo’s SAFE Act that motivated gun owners. Since Cuomo completely controls the political side of New York, it is easy to imagine him pushing through a far left social agenda that will antagonize Upstate and he already has an economic agenda that is depopulating Upstate.
All 2nd Amendment defense organizations must work together for the common goal. There may be hard feelings between some of the organizations but Andrew Cuomo and the Democrats are our common enemies. We don’t have to be best friends but we must work together – cautiously if necessary – but together for the greater good. Many SCOPE members are also members of other 2A organizations and they must press them to work together.
We must reach out to other organizations that Cuomo has and will offend. We may not agree on some things but we disagree with Cuomo on everything. Is there a TEA Party in your area? Get some of your membership involved and remind them we have the same enemy. Are you aware of any anti-abortion groups in your area? Cuomo has offended them as much as he has offended 2A groups and many churches are very angry over this. And don’t forget the upstate economy, or lack thereof. The “Divide NY” people are on our side. These may seem like a stretch but remember, during World War Two we partnered with the Soviet Union to take down our common enemy.
The leadership of 2A groups goes into gun fights without ammunition when gun owners don’t vote. Gun owners must get registered to vote and then follow through. Register in a political party so you can vote in their primary. We have to rid ourselves of the “lesser of two evils” if we are to get marginally engaged gun owners to vote. Primaries get a low turnout and a motivated group can overcome the incumbents just by showing up to vote. Identify good candidates to represent us in those primaries and then support those people. We will not get any help on this from within the party; they will circle the wagons.
As party members, you can work to oust the current do-nothing leadership.
No one has to do all this themselves but it does require leaders. It’s time to step up.