Ted Cruz warned this morning that if Trump goes all in for the Manchin-Toomey background check bill, he could risk the election next year and we could all end up with “President Elizabeth Warren”:
THE HILL – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Thursday warned that if President Trump strikes a compromise with Democrats to expand background checks for gun purchases along the lines of the 2013 proposal from Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), it would demoralize conservative voters and help Democrats capture the White House in 2020.
“If Republicans abandon the Second Amendment and demoralize millions of Americans who care deeply about Second Amendment rights, that could go a long way to electing a President Elizabeth Warren,” Cruz said at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor when asked about the prospect of Trump endorsing a modified version of Manchin-Toomey, which would require background checks for all firearms sales over the Internet or at gun shows.
Cruz warned that if conservatives aren’t motivated ahead of the 2020 election, a liberal Democrat such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) would have a much better chance of winning.
“We’re going to see record-shattering Democratic turnout. The only element missing to ensure Democratic victory is demoralizing conservatives so they stay home. I hope we don’t do that. I think that would be a serious mistake,” Cruz said in response to speculation that Trump may strike a deal with Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Manchin and Toomey to significantly expand background checks requirements.
In 2018 Cruz predicted a massive turnout from Democrats in Texas and he wasn’t wrong. He won by less than 3%. I believe him when he says Democrats will be out in record numbers in 2020.
He also points out that the Manchin-Toomey bill is not just about the election, but about bad policy:
“It would also be a serious mistake as a policy matter. The Democrats’ proposal would not have prevented any of these mass murders. We ought to be focusing seriously, substantively on how you stop these horrific crimes and what they’re proposing wouldn’t do it,” he added.
Cruz said he’s not opposed to strengthening the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and is pushing a bill co-sponsored with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), that would improve and reauthorize grants for the NICS database, increase federal prosecution of gun violence, and criminalize the straw purchasing of firearms and gun trafficking.
“What I’m proposing has a far greater likelihood of preventing these kinds of crimes,” he said.
Cruz said he’s open to the president striking a deal on strengthening background checks, but warned against a proposal along the lines of the 2013 Manchin-Toomey amendment, which would expand background checks to all gun-show and Internet sales but exempt sales between family members and friends.
With Trump’s rhetoric over the summer about background checks, I’m not sure which way he might go on Manchin-Toomey. At first he sounded like he was very much open to a bipartisan bill strengthening background checks, but then he seemed to back off saying we have enough background checks.
I do hope Trump heeds Cruz’s advice because right now it’s the Democrats who are talking about gun confiscation and banning sporting rifles. And he shouldn’t do anything to change that narrative.