Democrats need to follow President Obama’s lead and promise not support or work for the campaign of any candidate who opposes gun reform.
President Obama wrote in a New York Times op-ed that he will not campaign for or support any candidate that opposes gun reform:
On Tuesday, I announced new steps I am taking within my legal authority to protect the American people and keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people. They include making sure that anybody engaged in the business of selling firearms conducts background checks, expanding access to mental health treatment and improving gun safety technology. These actions won’t prevent every act of violence, or save every life — but if even one life is spared, they will be well worth the effort.
Even as I continue to take every action possible as president, I will also take every action I can as a citizen. I will not campaign for, vote for or support any candidate, even in my own party, who does not support common-sense gun reform. And if the 90 percent of Americans who do support common-sense gun reforms join me, we will elect the leadership we deserve.
President Obama’s stand as a citizen is not enough. Democrats need to follow President Obama’s lead. For example, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) voted with Republicans in the Senate in December 2015 to reject two gun control measures. Heitkamp is not a candidate that President Obama will be supporting, even though she is a Democrat. Sen. Heitkamp will welcome the public distancing from Obama in deep-red North Dakota, but she will miss the kind of the fundraising that only a sitting president is capable of.
The Democratic Party is much more unified on the issue of gun reform than they have been in years past, but the time when Democrats got a free pass for being owned by the NRA needs to end. President Obama’s principled promise will gain exponentially more weight if his fellow Democrats join him in taking a stand against gun violence. Obama has been there for Democrats, and in many cases has been the last line of defense against the Republican agenda, for years.
President Obama has had your back. Now it is time for you to return the favor and promise not to support candidates who oppose common sense gun reform.