Senator Ted Cruz (TX, R) recently argued that social media and grassroots politics played a pivotal role in defeating the landmark gun control bill. Cruz made an appearance during a summit for FreedomWorks, a conservative non-profit organization based in Washington DC.
He argued that vocal supporters of the Second Amendment served as the pivotal support that killed the gun control legislation. He stated, “Senators would go to their home states [during the two week recess], they’d show up at a town hall and men and women from their state would stand up and say, ‘Hey, why aren’t you standing up for the Second Amendment? What’s wrong with you?’”
The grassroots support of gun rights caused wishy-washy Republicans to fall back to their fundamental conservative principles and join the filibuster. Cruz added that support for the filibuster went from three senators to 16 and eventually more than 30 over the course of those two weeks.
Cruz suggested that the Internet, social media, and increased interconnectivity allowed conservative voters to “focus the attention of the American people” on hot-button topics and force legislators to vote within their political parties. Indeed, Twitter and other websites lit up with angry voters in the weeks prior to the vote.
Somewhat surprisingly, Cruz cast Senators in a rather negative light. He stated, “There are few things elected officials like less than getting heat from their constituents” and he blasted his fellow Republicans for being “squishes.”
Cruz’s speech was inspiring for gun rights proponents, but it could be equally inspiring for members of any political platform. If Cruz was correct in that grassroots campaigning led to a dramatic shift in the Senate vote, then theoretically any grassroots campaign movement could similarly encourage Senators to vote in order to appease their constituents.
He also noted that Harry Reid (NV, D) will likely make another push for gun control legislation. Twitter and other websites may once again become a political battleground as gun rights advocates and gun control advocates wage war over the votes of Senators.
Source: IJ Review