Billy Daley had a piece in the Washington Post on April 19th entitled “Heidi Heitkamp betrayed me on gun control.” The first line was “I want my money back.” Mr. Daley gave the Heitkamp campaign $2,500. Now, after Keitkamp voted against the most recent gun legislation, Daley is upset. I guess when you come from Chicago, the link between a donation and favored legislation is supposed to be clear cut and Heitkamp violated the very important Chicagoan principle of money for votes.
More seriously, I want to focus on one piece of fallacious reasoning coming from Daley that seems to be common in the wake of the gun vote. Namely, the assertion that fear of the NRA is what drove votes against the legislation despite popular support for gun control. Daley nicely sums up the argument here:
Polling has shown that nine in 10 Americans and eight in 10 gun owners support a law to require every buyer to go through a background check on every gun sale. In North Dakota, the support was even higher: 94 percent. Yet in explaining her vote, Heitkamp had the gall to say that she “heard overwhelmingly from the people of North Dakota” and had to listen to them and vote no. It seems more likely that she heard from the gun lobby and chose to listen to it instead.
Daley’s argument is a nonsense. If the voters in North Dakota were so overwhelmingly in favor of the legislation that was on the table, as Daley asserts, then Heitkamp would have nothing to fear from the NRA. In fact, it would be the opposite. She would have to fear that if she did not vote for the legislation then she would be kicked out of office (or her chances of being kicked out would increase). If you were a politician, would you vote against a bill that 94% of your constituents and your party supported? The only way it made sense for her to vote against the bill was if, as she stated, her constituents were not in favor of it.