For old times sake I'll ask you to indulge my musings on this election coming up.
I'm not convinced that Trump isn't just trolling. His positions seem almost a caricature of "right wing" ideas from a leftist perspective, not too different in the way that little slug Verhoeven's Starship Troopers was an abysmally inaccurate treatment of the novel it stole its title from. I'm unsure of Trump's motives; perhaps he's really trying to win it, or perhaps he's trying to destroy the republican party from within while pretending to be competition for Hillary.
It seems every time he starts to pull ahead in the polls, he does something to set himself back. He kept missing the easy shots during debates that would really be damaging to Hillary, and in general seems to say just the wrong things at the wrong times to diminish the enthusiasm for his base, while managing to not make any headway with the undecideds.
Could be that he's just bad at running for office. Or that he's trying to throw the election to Hillary. From my vantage point I can't tell.
Third party isn't an option this year. Johnson not only is appearing a bit weak-in-the-knees on some issues that libertarians should've been stronger on, but ain't no libertarian leaning gun owner gonna vote for a ticket that'd put the deciding vote in the senate in the hands of a jerk who likes "assault weapons" bans. Given some of Johnson's statements and actions, and notably his choosing Weld for VP, I'm not for certain that Johnson isn't making a pretense of running whilst throwing the election to Hillary. For a libertarian to screw up his positions so badly that he's not a possible alternative to Trump or Hillary makes me think either the Libertarian party is on the pipe, or they're throwing this election purposefully. If either of my two not-quite-as-hyperbolic-as-I'd-like speculative conclusions aren't correct, then how would the Johnson campaign be run differently?
That being said there are 2 likely outcomes - President Trump or President Clinton. Now if that don't put you off your soup I don't know what will.
Hillary is no friend of gun owners. If anyone had any doubts they should have been erased when she promised to destroy the gun culture if she gets in the White House. (She said "change the gun culture" but considering she's mentioned Connecticut as being a model for firearms laws and has spoken favorably of "the Australian model" I'm gonna have to interpret her intentions as destructive.)
Trump is better than Hillary on guns, but he's still lacking. he's recently being lauding "stop and frisk" as a way to deal with "illegal" guns. He mentions he has a NYC carry permit, ostensibly to demonstrate that he's a gun carrier, but perhaps not realizing how harmful permits are to the Right to carry weapons, and NYC's in particular is just a nasty process. He's also spoken in a more contemplative manner than I'm comfy with about the "no fly no buy" idea. Michael Bane has been stating that Trump's sons, who are competitive shooters and hunters, sat Trump down and made him see the light on "assault weapons". But Trump is a progressive (culturally if not ideologically) and has the progressive mindset (society should be structured from the top down with a focus on the collective). What he would view as "reasonable" restrictions that don't conflict with the 2nd amendment would likely be casus belli to me.
If Hillary gets in and faces a republican legislature then the damage may be limited as far as legislation goes. "May" is a mighty important word in that last sentence, as I don't have much faith in the republicans to hold their majority in the senate, not to acquire a backbone in time to learn how to use it. Hillary can and will use executive action to screw with us, and any president is capable of doing a lot of damage with merely a stroke of the pen. Regulations concerning firearms manufacturers and sellers (not to mention ammunition makers and reloading component suppliers) could make life difficult and/or mighty spendy for us.
Of course, if Hillary gets a democrat led senate then, absent stapling a spine to the house republicans and making them read a wikihow tutorial on its use, I look for some legislation to get passed against us. Maybe "no fly no buy" or some sort of "universal background check". I don't think an outright "assault weapons" ban would get through, but I wouldn't bet brunch on it.
At that point the NRA, with or without the support of the NSSF, the SAF and every allegedly pro-gun group save GOA, RMGO and a few others, would be humming those same ol' appeasement blues. "It's going to happen, but if we work with them we can keep it from being as bad". The NRA was talking a good game for a little while, but I don't see any proof that they've changed their irrational desire to play "let's make a deal!". What's worse is they've never been any damn good at it. I can see them trying to trade "universal background checks" for nationwide concealed carry permit reciprocity, but ending up with universal background checks/registration lite. That'd be about as useful as letting the dog urinate on your couch while getting its' blessing for you to use public restrooms in Norway.
If Trump gets in office it'll be relatively better than Hillary. Trump is an unknown - there's no way to predict what he'll try to do once in office. But if he continues on the progressive path he's been on, I expect the same UBC/national reciprocity threat to be discussed. I doubt "assault weapons" bans would be a concern, and probably adverse regulation wouldn't be as pervasive as under Hillary (or Obama for that matter). I can see him setting the stage for the next dem with a supportive congress to build on whatever he does. Universal background checks have to have a registration component after all, and I think Trump would hand that to the dems on a platter.
I could be mistaken; perhaps Trump wouldn't do any serious damage to us. Perhaps he'd push for repeal of some of the more idiotic laws we're burdened with. Perhaps Jessica Alba, Katheryn Winnick and Morena Baccarin will stop by for a weekend or twelve. (I'm not saying I won't keep the Jagermeister chilled just in case, but I wouldn't run out and buy a fresh bottle if I were dry.)
In Colorado things are worse. I haven't been privy to anything specific but I am concerned about the senate races here. For some reason the dems pitted Zenzinger against incumbent Woods. Woods beat Zenzinger last time around (which gave the repubs the senate here). Judging by the campaign mailings Zenzinger has an infusion of cash. I wouldn't put it past that nasty little fascist from NYC (to narrow it down I mean Bloomie the Hut) to be bankrolling an attempt to take the senate back. The Colorado GoP is, as always, more concerned about maintaining the establishments intra-party power than winning elections or championing principle causes. I'm thinking they've rated a change in sobriquet from the stupid party to the imbecilic party. Maybe even the ridiculous party - we'll have to see how that plays out.
There are a few ballot measures I'm watching. Nothing directly gun related, but there's a move to jack up the cigarette tax by almost $20 a carton, a proposal for socialized health care, and an initiative to make it harder to get constitutional amendments on the ballot. The last has some arguments for either side I can understand, but those first two are good indicators that freedom is just another word. A 4 letter word in fact.
There are also two (not one but two! - count 'em two!) initiatives that would open up primaries to voters not of that party. One just lets unaffiliated voters choose which primary to vote in, the other is a full blown open primary complete with mail in balloting (busing folks in costs money ya know). Bloomie the Hut's servant Hickenlooper (the coward), as well as most dems from what I see, support both measures. That by itself would be a reason to be skeptical. If Colorado gets open primaries via mail-in ballot, I'd assume we'd be as much a progressive stronghold within a decade as California is now.
(As an aside, there was a proposal that didn't make it to the ballot that I think is worthy of some discussion. It would have prohibited sheriff's from denying a concealed carry permit to a known user of marijuana. In Colorado, both recreational and medical use of marijuana is legal. The feds say otherwise, but I'm leaning towards a very strong 10th amendment argument, coupled with rejecting a seriously overly broad Interstate Commerce Clause interpretation t conclude that the feds are once again out-they-cotton-pickin'-minds on this. Of note, the head of the Colorado state Shooting association was opposed to this, citing the feds saying it's naughty and couldn't be tolerated since we're all legal, responsible
Trump's less than stellar publicity of late may hurt downticket races, which will also negatively impact those ballot measures here. Hopefully folks that won't vote for Trump (and would never vote for Hillary) will vote anyway, on any ballot measures if nothing else. Course that is being almost as optimistic as covering up the "best group ever" targets on the wall with a Chagall or two in case mademoiselles Alba, Winnick and Baccarin appreciate early European Modernism.
Again though, that all is predicated on the notion that Trump isn't just trying to wreck the republican party internally and throw the election to Hillary. "If" is a rather relevant modifier in that regard.
In short, I don't blame people for the notion that voting can make a significant difference. I understand, I really do. But of late I've viewed it as a delaying action at best. With Paul or Cruz we would have gotten maybe 3 or 4 more years - 8 on the outside. with Trump perhaps another year or two. Hillary's reign would cause that delay to be measured in weeks.
Between the math and the culture war there's not much chance of continuing what can't continue. Oh some, if not most things could be fixed. But they won't be. So we try to delay things. Elections of late, and this one in particular, are more about putting off what should have been done yesterday until tomorrow than they are about providing any genuine solutions. Maybe even some parties are trying to make sure they lose, so the other party will get the most blame after things go all Copybook Headings. In any case whatever is coming will likely happen sooner than later.
I'm not ready to proclaim the downfall of the republic, but I am planning on staying within eyesight of the hills. On election day I'll do what I generally do - watch the results whilst cussing and sharpening a bayonet. Then again, this election is special and that halberd in the corner looks a might dull...