To underscore how Hillary Rodham Clinton really felt about Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary, which she apparently figured to lose, she wasn’t even in the state for the vote count but instead was reportedly rubbing elbows with big money donors in New York City.
It was another decisive victory for rival Bernie Sanders, who may have entered the race as something of a “novelty candidate” but after winning six of their last seven contests, the senator from Vermont is no longer just a token opponent. His 13-point beat-down of the Democratic establishment’s front-runner has gotten everyone’s attention.
Sen. Ted Cruz, meanwhile, enjoyed the same victory spread over Donald Trump, even with Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the mix. Had Kasich not been on the ballot, there is no telling how the numbers would have shaped up, but it is doubtful that all of those Republican votes would have gone entirely to one or the other in the Cruz-Trump rivalry.
What hurt Clinton in Wisconsin? A combination of problems seems to dog the former Secretary of State, not the least of which is the trustworthiness factor, along with her high profile adherence to a policy of gun control. That doesn’t play well in the Midwest, where even people who vote Democrat are devoted gun owners.
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Wisconsin has more than 715,000 licensed hunters, and just days ago issued the 300,000th concealed carry permit. It is a state with a pretty strong gun and hunting culture, and Clinton’s harping about gun control and the National Rifle Association does her no good in “fly-over America.”
Adding to this is the fact that gun sales are continuing strong. The FBI reported that background checks conducted during March set a new record for the month. More than 2.5 million checks were conducted, and according to the Washington Free Beacon, that translates to strong gun sales, and March wasn’t the busiest month so far this year. The number of background checks in January and February exceeded March figures.
According to the Free Beacon, “FBI background checks are widely considered a reliable gauge for gun sales because all sales conducted through federally licensed firearms dealers must include one. Some states also require private sales between non-dealers to include a background check.”
The National Shooting Sports Foundation reported on Monday that its “adjusted” background check data from the National Instant Check System (NICS) noted that the number is still up 9.2 percent over March 2015.
Some might suggest that it is Clinton’s continued rhetoric about gun control that may be partly fueling these gun sales. She has made a rather “big deal” of the gun issue, while Sanders has not.
Sanders’ appeal reaches to the average citizen. He doesn’t hobnob with the rich and famous, doesn’t get six-figure speaking fees, doesn’t try to reinvent himself, nor has he ever been accused of using a fake accent on his visits to the South.