On Monday, Politico published an article claiming that former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg was preparing to spend up to $25 million to fight national concealed reciprocity, via his gun control group “Everytown For Gun Safety”:
Preparing for life with Donald Trump as president and Republican majorities in Congress, Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group is threatening to spend more than $25 million in 2018 races.
Everytown for Gun Safety, founded and funded by the billionaire former New York City mayor, is hiring several new top staffers and turning much of its attention to state legislatures, while moving to a defensive posture in Washington as it tries to stop what’s known as “concealed carry reciprocity” from becoming law.
It seems Bloomberg hasn’t learned from his previous failures that one billionaire throwing money at a cause isn’t always a sound financial investment. Despite all that, it seems he is prepared to do the same thing all over again. So, given that Bloomberg clearly intends to just do “MOAR” of the same, with the exception of choosing a target, how will he choose to deploy his funds?
Bloomberg is going to devote his resources to gun control’s last possible avenue of opposition – the Senate. Currently Republicans hold a 52-48 majority, which is not enough to meet the threshold to overcome a filibuster, however, the last time a CCW reciprocity bill went before the Senate in 2013, the vote count was 57-43. Of the 33 who voted against but are still in office, five in particular are in states that elected Trump, and presumably could be flipped in 2018:
- Bill Nelson, Florida
- Claire McCaskill, Missouri
- Sherrod Brown, Ohio
- Bob Casey, Pennsylvania
- Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin
The Republican prospects of passing the bill lie on getting about three of these Senators to flip their vote, or by replacing them, possibly using a “no” vote as fodder to that end. Which, it appears, is where Bloomberg is using his past “success” to fight tooth and nail:
Everytown is brandishing its significant spending in the 2016 New Hampshire Senate race that former Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte lost narrowly — the group targeted her for voting against background checks in 2013 — as a warning to other senators up in 2018 and possibly 2020 as well.
“This is a line in the sand on this issue, there’s no question about it. The NRA wants to normalize carrying guns in public. It’s not where the American public is,” said Everytown President John Feinblatt. “We’re putting people on notice today that we’re watching … and that we expect to hold people accountable.”
Between Everytown and other avenues that Bloomberg and gun control advocates used, Ayotte had roughly $8 million spent against her. Bloomberg spent north of $25 million counting money he put into Senate races and into four state ballot measures on gun control, three of which passed.
The net change in the Senate party composition after the 2016 election was -2 for Republicans, which includes the loss Mark Kirk (R-IL), who was the only Republican to vote against CCW reciprocity in 2013. Bear in mind, Republicans “contested” 17 seats in 2016, while the Democrats only contested two. Thus, Bloomberg’s net gain against CCW reciprocity for his spending was one seat, held by the aforementioned Kelly Ayotte, who was already a weak candidate.
The map is far worse for Democrats in 2018. There are 34 seats up for reelection, and Republicans are only defending 9 of them. Republicans have two “close” races, while Democrats have nine. Clearly, Bloomberg is prepared to use his influence against any Senator in a close race who dares to consider to vote for CCW reciprocity – it is his only hope of stopping the legislation if Republicans put it to a vote.
But, even if 2018 is a failure for him, he is still looking ahead to 2020. Remember Shannon Watts?
3) Gate agent for flt 215 at 7:55. Said she doesn't make the rules, just follows them. I guess @united not letting women wear athletic wear?
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 26, 2017
Watts made headlines recently when she tweeted that two children wearing leggings were forced to changed their clothing to board the flight, as per a United regulation:
.@united Two other girls were not allowed on flight.
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 26, 2017
.@united They just boarded after being forced to change or put dresses on over the top of their clothing. Is this your policy?
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 26, 2017
The outrage from Twitter users was predictable:
The policies did not stop other users from standing behind Watts. People like Patricia Arquette, William Shatner and Chrissy Teigen joined forces on Twitter to voice their opinions on the matter.
Yet, it seems Watts purposely omitted the reason the girls were refused boarding – they had free flights, traveling using employee discounts/status as “non-rev” customers. All non-rev passengers must adhere to United’s employee dress code, which is as follows:
Here’s the dress code for non-revs on United:
- Pass riders’ overall appearance should be well-groomed, neat, clean and in good taste.
- Attire should be respectful of fellow revenue passengers, employees and pass riders.
- Pass riders may wear denim attire (such as jeans), shorts that are no more than three inches above the knee and athletic shoes when traveling in Coach or Business cabin.
The following attire is unacceptable in any cabin but is not limited to:
- Any attire that reveals a midriff.
- Attire that reveals any type of undergarments.
- Attire that is designated as sleepwear, underwear, or swim attire.
- Mini Skirts
- Shorts that do not meet 3 inches above the knee when in a standing position.
- Form-fitting lycra/spandex tops, pants and dresses.
- Attire that has offensive and/or derogatory terminology or graphics.
- Attire that is excessively dirty or has holes/tears.
- Any attire that is provocative, inappropriately revealing, or see-through clothing.
- Bare feet
- Beach-type, rubber flip-flops
As you can see, “form-fitting lycra/spandex tops, pants and dresses” aren’t allowed for non-revs.
What do you think is more likely, that Watts was really clueless as to the real reason the children were forced to change their attire, or that Watts knew the dress code all along and staged the event with the children’s parents to get her name in the news? Would you really be surprised to learn that a former Monsanto lobbyist masquerading as a stay-at-home mom would go through such lengths just for a little publicity?
And why would she bother with all of this, beyond flouting Everytown’s gun control “credentials”? As Gun Free Zone points out, it appears Bloomberg could very well be putting her in position to be one of his Senate champions in 2020:
“According to the Boone County (IN) tax collector, John or Shannon Watts no longer own property there. According to the Boulder County (CO) tax collector, John and Shannon Watts do own property there. They live in Colorado’s 2nd congressional (deep blue) district.
It certainly wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that she try to unseat Cory Gardner in 2020.”
So I checked her Linkedin account:
It seems she officially has moved to the People’s Republic of Denver. Apparently Bloomberg feels that Colorado is now under his control and can get her favorite political courtesan elected to office.
Shannon is not going for a paltry State Congress seat but fully fledged Federal. The only question remaining: Is this vetted by Colorado Democrats or are we watching another Carpetbagging Attack?
If you think this is all a joke, take a closer look at who else used the United incident to boost Watts’ profile:
What is Emerge America?
From their website:
- Emerge America is the premier training program for Democratic women.
- We inspire women to run, we hone their skills to win.
- Our goal is clear: to increase the number of Democratic women in public office.
Uh-oh – it looks like Watts (and Bloomberg for that matter) have been caught stealing from the women’s rights cookie jar in an effort to further their gun control agenda. Then again, “Emerge America” could be another Bloomberg-funded dog-and-pony show aimed at influencing the voters into picking his show horse to win.
For the record, Watts probably doesn’t have much of a shot to win – as previously noted, she likely has far too much baggage to even win a primary race for Senate in Colorado. However, it goes to show just how important the 2018 elections are for gun rights. If CCW reciprocity doesn’t get past a filibuster in 2017, the only shot to ever get the measure past will be to replace those who have voted against it. And, as Sebastian of PA Gun Blog points out, the best way to do that is to get out the word on reciprocity, because the word is worth far more than Bloomberg’s money:
Who the hell cares if Everytown scores votes? How many dues paying members do they have? The answer is none. You can find in their Form 990 they don’t have any members except the Board of Directors. The big question every reporter should ask Everytown: what percentage of your organization is funded by Michael Bloomberg? The Form 990 also largely answers this question: Everytown spends almost nothing on fundraising. In 2013, they engaged two fundraising organizations which raised $100,000. That’s a drop compared to Everytown’s approximately 36 million dollar budget. Compare that with the Brady Center which raised 1.7 million in donations via fundraising for about 5 million in money raised overall. Why doesn’t Everytown need to spend more on fundraising? Because you don’t need to when you have one donor who can sign multi-million dollar checks.
Hopefully Trump isn’t too distracted bombing Syria to focus on CCW reciprocity, even if the opposition would oppose it just because he wants it. Nothing is more meaningful than help from the top, and if we want any shot at passing CCW reciprocity, we’ll need all the help we can get.