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Opinion
Jonathan Bernstein

Dysfunctional Republicans Bail Out on Gun Violence

The problem isn’t mainly that the GOP lacks practical solutions to calamities like the Texas school massacre. It’s that it isn’t making the slightest effort to find any.

Thoughts and prayers.

Thoughts and prayers.

Photographer: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

I don’t have the expertise on guns and violence that some of my Bloomberg Opinion colleagues or many academic experts have. So I really don’t know which of the gun-control policies Democrats have proposed would be helpful, which would make little difference and which would create new risks. 

What I do know is that that Democrats are a normal US political party, which means that they are mainly pragmatic problem-solvers. That is, what US political parties are usually good at is finding out what makes their constituents unhappy and attempting to do something about it. They listen to voters in their districts; to the party coalition that nominates them; to their strongest supporters. Some of their solutions may turn out to be highly ideological. Some are not. They’re generally willing to cut deals to pass something, figuring that something is better than nothing. If it doesn’t have the votes, or it’s implemented and it doesn’t work, they’ll try something else.