From the moment Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee, certain members of the media have been eagerly predicting his pivot away from the far right into the mainstream of American politics.
Today, while collecting the National Rifle Association’s endorsement at the group’s annual convention, he continued to keep both his campaign and his rhetoric firmly rooted in the policies and rhetoric of the far right.
Trump began his speech by claiming that Hillary Clinton wants to “abolish the Second Amendment.” Politifact rated this Trump claim “false” nine days ago.
In uttering this lie, Trump aligns himself with a longstanding NRA strategy. In both 2008 and 2012, the organization and its leadership made similar claims about Barack Obama, yet none of them ever came to pass. NRA board member Grover Norquist even acknowledged these statements were hyperbole.
Creating a climate of fear around the notion that a Democratic president will strip Americans of gun rights is not only designed to whip conservative voters into a frenzy, it also benefits the bottom line of the NRA’s benefactors in the gun industry.
As Jarret Murphy explained in The Nation:
There is no divorcing the politics of guns from their profits. America’s gun lobby and gun industry both benefit from creating a fearful vision of life in the United States—a picture of criminals constantly menacing our families and a government hellbent on taking our guns—that is very effective at selling weapons. In fact, in large part because of the way anxieties about his gun policies have been manipulated, the Obama era has been a golden age for firearms manufacturers, and the run-up to Election 2012 could be for Glock and Remington what the Christmas shopping season is for Macy’s and Sears: a time to cash in before the narrative changes.
This sentiment was reflected by gun industry analyst Jim Barrett, who told The Blaze in 2012, “The driver [of the gun industry's financial success] is President Obama. He is the best thing that ever happened to the firearm industry.”
The Blaze reported in the run-up to the 2012 election:
Major gun company stock prices are up. The number of federally licensed, retail gun dealers is increasing for the first time in nearly 20 years. The U.S. gun lobby is bursting with cash and political clout.
The NRA’s endorsement, if nothing else, means that Donald Trump will attempt to keep this gravy train of fear fueling the bottom line for gun manufacturers for another four years.