The NRA controls the purse strings for many Republicans in Congress. Now those Republicans lack the courage to go on television to defend their stance on guns or their financial relationship with gun makers.
There is no single reason why the National Rifle Association has a death grip over the debate on gun regulation in the United States. Much of its power comes from its cult-like cultural propaganda videos to NRA membership, which galvanizes them to relentlessly call members of Congress.
But another source of the NRA's power lies in its enormous campaign finance operation. In 2016, the NRA spent over $50 million on elections up and down the ballot, and it has already spent over $1 million on 2018. Tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons of GOP lawmakers were gifted with outside spending from the NRA, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who received nearly $1 million for his re-election campaign in 2014.
Like so many of his fellow Republicans beneficiaries of NRA donations, he offered only thoughts and prayers on Monday, but no mention of addressing gun violence.
Which could be why none of these lawmakers are willing, in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, to appear on TV and talk about their stance on gun laws.
So far, Republicans have been shying away from appearing on national television. No congressional Republican is in Tuesday’s lineup for "Morning Joe" — every Republican who was invited declined. Even "Fox & Friends" did not get any takers. Although curiously, a couple of GOP lawmakers were happy to appear on right-wing talk radio.
Republicans’ deafening silence comes as the NRA itself delayed its latest batch of campaign ads for a week, and as Donald Trump stupendously butchered his response, calling 59 dead Americans a “miracle.”
Republicans, and their NRA backers, clearly hope that, as has been the case every time so far, they need only go into hiding until everyone just forgets about the issue. It is incumbent on concerned Americans who value the safety of their communities to stand up and refuse to be ignored.