Will the Democrats fall into the 'Repeal the Second Amendment' trap?

The newest star in the New York Times editorial board firmament is Bret Stephens, a former member of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board.  Yesterday, he went full gun-grabber in an op-ed in the Nation's Newspaper of Record, calling for a repeal of the Second Amendment as the headline.  This matters, because more than any other single voice, the New York Times dictates the boundaries of the Ruling Class's national political discussion.  Its attitudes are then spread throughout the rest of the legacy media.

My first reaction was the same as Jim GeraghtyGo ahead and make my day.

Call me crazy, but I think Stephens' proposal is a giant bear trap for liberals and Democrats.

We haven't amended the Constitution since 1992, when we decreed any law affecting Congressional salaries cannot take effect until the next election – i.e., banning members of Congress from voting themselves a pay increase. We've never repealed a part of the Bill of Rights. And that's just what Stephens is urging Democrats to openly embrace, promise, and campaign on.

Can you picture some Democratic candidate supporting the repeal of the Second Amendment? The attack ads would declare: "John Smith thinks the U.S. Constitution gives you have too many rights . . .  and he wants to cut the Bill of Rights by ten percent!"

Or even better: "If John Smith doesn't think you deserve your Second Amendment rights . . .  how many more of your Constitutional rights does he want to take away?"

If the Democrats made a sustained push for a Constitutional amendment repealing the right to bear arms, Republicans would never have to worry about getting out the vote again. NRA membership would explode. Pro-gun Democrats would switch parties. Portions of key groups within the party could recoil, no pun intended. According to the most recent Pew Research Center survey, 32 percent of African-Americans say either they or someone else in their household owns a gun.

The most incendiary Republican accusation of Democrats – that they don't really care about the Constitution, that they just want ever-expanding government power and the authority to micro-manage every little decision in your life – would be largely verified in many American minds. 

George Neumayr and David Harsanyi join Gerraghty in thoroughly debunking the false and misleading data and reasoning used by Stephens.  Howie Carr brought up some of Stephens's recent history:

Funny, but less than 15 months ago, Stephens was tweeting out: "Prediction: In two years Europeans will clamor for their own 2nd Amendment."

But that was then, and this is now, post-Las Vegas, and if there's one thing "conservatives" in The New York Times must do, it's to attack anything that deplorables support, even if it's the Bill of Rights.

Sean Hannity devoted a portion of his Fox News show's opening to attacking Stephens. Start at 4:23:

Stephens, however, avers a longer-term strategy:

Repealing the Amendment may seem like political Mission Impossible today, but in the era of same-sex marriage it's worth recalling that most great causes begin as improbable ones.

He is, in other words, breaching the first line, speaking the formerly unutterable as a respectable member of the elite.  And he is historically correct.  This is indeed how his "great causes" such as transgenderism gain purchase and inevitable victory.  He may see himself as a brave first voice in the media that will someday be credited as helping along a great cause that eventually triumphed, as gun violence disappeared from America.

He's dreaming, if that's what he really secretly fantasizes.  This could be a disaster for the Dems, and the way they work, the fanatics get to drive the political agenda.  They show up at candidate forums and demand fealty to their demands and doctrines.  They are organized.  So expect a lot of pressure, Dems.

A number of my friends who were fans of Stephens in his earlier years at the WSJ are shocked and puzzled at his political devolution.  I am not.  Stephens, over time, socialized himself into the dominant media culture of Manhattan, even while at the Journal.  His wife is a music critic for the New York Times, after all.

At the Times, he has moved rapidly left.  It is a basic process of socialization into a work culture.  When people come into an organization, they adapt the values of their group environment over time.  Or else they become outcasts or isolates.  This is how all groups work.  Back when sociologists were concerned with real things, George Homans explained how this works in detail, with examples.  It is all but forgotten in sociology, but it is the basis for Harvard Business School's training of executives on how to manage groups of people.