Sen. Joni Ernest had to lie to an Iowa crowd about getting millions of dollars in support from the NRA as the gun lobby is growing toxic in the heartland.
Senator Joni Ernst when asked if NRA money is affecting her gun violence prevention legislation:
"They do not give us money. That would be illegal and I'd be driving a nicer car." pic.twitter.com/OduXnoWl9i
— March For Our Lives Iowa (@IowaMFOL) August 9, 2018
Sen. Ernest denied taking money from the NRA, which is technically true. The NRA has never given her any cash directly.
The truth is that Ernst is one of the top ten Senators who has benefitted the most from NRA spending on her behalf. Ernst has gotten over $3.1 million in support from the NRA throughout her career. Sen. Ernst can’t defend why she continues to support weak NRA backed fake legislation that doesn’t deal with the issue of guns in schools, so she has to play semantics with the question.
The NRA is becoming toxic for Republicans
The interesting aspect of Ernest’s answer is that she couldn’t stand up in front of a crowd and tout the NRA. The gun lobby is so toxic that the Senator from Iowa had to lie about benefitting from their support. The NRA used to be the greatest asset that a Republican candidate could have in their corner, but they are now a liability that has to be lied about and hidden from public view.
The NRA’s power and dominance are crumbling. Movements like March For Our Lives combined with public disgust over nothing being done about school and mass shootings is changing the culture surrounding the NRA.
Republicans didn’t use to have to lie about support from the NRA. They could wear it as a badge of pride, but that is gone now. Being associated with the NRA carries a stigma and it is only a matter of time until the cost of the stigma outweighs the political support that the NRA can provide.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association