Ali Velshi used great graphics to showcase how over time, the NRA's influence over Democratic Congresspeople has waned drastically. Their influence over Republicans, though, has remained basically the same. Over the course of ten years, between 2008 and 2018, the number of Democrats who got an "A" rating from the NRA dropped from 67 (25%) to 3 (1%). In that same time period, the number of Democrats who got an "F" rating rose from 157 (58%) to 243 (95%).
The NRA ratings for Republicans, on the other hand, remained basically the same over the same ten years. 93% received "A" ratings in 2008, and 96% in 2018. Only 1% received "F" ratings in 2008, and it rose only slightly to 2% in 2018. He asked his guest, Robyn Thomas, Executive Director of the Giffords Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence, if she could explain those numbers. "What has changed? Have Democrats changed in what they say about guns or has the NRA's rating system changed?"
VELSHI: Let's talk about what those ratings mean. I'm almost as focused on the fact that between 2008 and 2018 for Republicans virtually nothing changed in terms of the support it was getting from -- they were getting from the NRA. What's the effect of the rating and the threat of losing the rating? It seems to not matter that much to Democrats and it seems to matter a great deal to Republicans.
THOMAS: Yes, and I think in some senses it is still a little bit of a wedge issue when it comes to Republican districts, so it used to be the case you'd have all of these Democrats and Republicans wearing these "A-rating" pins. Now most Democrats proudly wear their "F-rating" pins. That's been interesting to witness. I also will note that eight Republicans voted for HR8. So while it ls still very partisan, you do have Republicans now who are coming out in support of gun safety laws and they're doing just fine in the elections, also which is really interesting because it is not just Democrats that are shifting. Actually there are some Republicans who are starting to abandon the NRA's positions as well.
Not a moment too soon. And it doesn't matter HOW many Republicans come around to caring more about the lives of children and others whose lives are destroyed by gun violence. If Mitch McConnell stays in the pocket of the NRA, nothing meaningful legislatively will ever come to the floor of the Senate.