Political vs. cultural power
“Conservatives are losing the culture war over guns”—and they know it, said Peter Beinart. Although Congress and most red states aren’t budging on gun-control laws after the Parkland shooting, more than 20 corporations have cut ties with the NRA, and Dick’s Sporting Goods has announced it will no longer carry AR-15s. “The Marjory Stoneman Douglas gun-control activists have become national heroes,” and the NRA and its allies sound increasingly hysterical in attacking them, the media, and “socialist” elites. “This dynamic isn’t unique to guns.” Conservatives hold most of the political power in the country, yet when they look at cultural trends, they “feel like they’re losing.” They see kneeling football players protesting police killings, Confederate statues coming down, black and brown people and feminists challenging white “male dominance,” gay marriage becoming widely accepted. Donald Trump’s election was largely “a rebellion against these cultural shifts”—and he remains popular on the Right because his constant attacks on the media, black athletes, and liberals scratch “a conservative itch.” But conservatives are realizing that even when they win elections, the tectonic shifts in America’s culture are nearly impossible to reverse.