The National Rifle Association’s growing controversies are alarming President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign and Republicans, who are concerned the party will be left with a gap that will be too hard to fill in the 2020 presidential election.
“No organization has been more important to conservative voter education and engagement than the NRA. We all hope they’re able to mount the kind of effort in the 2020 cycle they have in the past,” Gregg Keller, a former American Conservative Union executive director, told Politico. “But in case they can’t, given their current situation, I hope they’re being forthright about that within the movement so others can pick up the slack.”
In 2016, the NRA pushed its more than five million members to vote for Trump, boosting him in the nation’s Rust Belt states. But the gun rights organization in recent months has faced a failed coup attempt and other controversies, leading Republicans to fear the political powerhouse will lose too much strength before the election.
National GOP strategist Chris LaCivita said he does believe gun advocates will still turn out to vote in 2020, but he also thinks the issues with the NRA’s leadership could hinder its efforts to get out the vote.
“Infighting and accusations playing out almost daily in the national media regarding the NRA have not been helpful,” said La Civita. “Clearly it will have an impact in the NRA’s ability to raise money, which would be used in elections to turn out its membership.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Koch network, both of whom have played strong roles in electing conservatives, appear to be backing away, notes Politico.
The chamber spent only $10 million in the 2018 election cycle, about a third of what it spent in the previous election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The Koch network, meanwhile, is shifting toward policy issues and plans to sit out the 2020 presidential race.