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Republicans Fear NRA Turmoil Will Hurt Trump’s Re-Election Chances

Republicans are concerned that the seemingly never-ending parade of scandals at the National Rifle Association could seriously hurt Trump’s reelection efforts.

This week Politico reported on GOP concerns about the NRA, which has been a pivotal part of the Republican right’s vote mobilization efforts in the past.

“The turmoil is fueling fears that the organization will be profoundly diminished heading into the election, leaving the Republican Party with a gaping hole in its political machinery,” Politico noted.

The outlet reported that Republicans are already raising alarms and asking the NRA to come clean with its plans for 2020 so they can address possible deficiencies before the race begins in earnest.

Politico noted that Republican senators “have privately expressed concerns” about those problems to Todd Young, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

“The situation has folks nervous,” said Gregg Keller, former American Conservative Union executive director.

GOP strategist Chris LaCivita told Politico that the raging internal controversies “will have an impact on the NRA’s ability to raise money, which would be used in elections to turn out its membership.”

In 2016, the NRA gave $54 million to Republicans, with $32 million of that backing Trump through an avalanche of campaign ads and voter mobilization efforts.

Things have gone considerably downhill since.

There are congressional inquiries into the source of some of those funds after it surfaced that Russian money was being funneled to the NRA.

It was revealed that an admitted Russian spy had infiltrated the top levels of the NRA.

The NRA is currently embroiled in a very public fight between key executives, which led to the ouster of its president Oliver North and the revelation that CEO Wayne LaPierre went on lavish spending sprees while the organization was cutting jobs and perks.

Recently, the gun lobby shut down its propaganda arm, NRA-TV, letting go high-profile figures like spokeswoman Dana Loesch.

And in 2018, the NRA’s chosen candidates within the Republican Party lost congressional races all over the country, leading to a Democratic majority in the House. That majority recently passed the first gun-related legislation in years to make it through the body.

On the presidential campaign trail, leading Democratic candidates have been more open with their support for gun-safety legislation than in the past, a clear indication that fear of the NRA’s political muscle is at a new low.

 

Published with permission of The American Independent.

IMAGE: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump poses with NRA Executive Vice President Wayne Lapierre (R) and NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox (L) at the National Rifle Association’s NRA-ILA Leadership Forum during their annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., May 20, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Danziger: The Most Useful Idiot

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.com.

New Report On 2016 Reveals Massive Scope Of Russian Social Media Subversion

The Russian government deployed intelligence assets to carry out a massive disinformation campaign on every major social media platform to support Donald Trump and the Republicans in 2016 and beyond, according to a new report prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee.

In an exclusive story published Sunday evening, the Washington Post revealed details of the report, which is based on “the millions of posts provided by major technology firms” to the Senate committee during its investigation of Russian election interference. According to the Post:

The research — by Oxford University’s Computational Propaganda Project and Graphika, a network analysis firm — offers new details of how Russians working at the Internet Research Agency, which U.S. officials have charged with criminal offenses for interfering in the 2016 campaign, sliced Americans into key interest groups for targeted messaging. These efforts shifted over time, peaking at key political moments, such as presidential debates or party conventions, the report found.

A tidal wave of Russian messaging encouraged voting and activism by conservatives who might support Trump, while seeking to “confuse, distract, and ultimately discourage from voting” demoralize those groups — notably African-American citizens — more likely to support Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Russian operatives ran thousands of social media accounts on platforms that included not only Facebook and Twitter but Youtube, Instagram, and Pinterest, along with a phalanx of email accounts on Google + and Yahoo.

Read the full story here.