Joe Biden just can’t seem to get it — and it may cost him the battleground state of Pennsylvania.
On Sunday, according to Lancaster Online, this is what happened:
Police were dispatched to the scene of a domestic disturbance on the 300 block of Laurel Street in Lancaster city on Sunday evening, about 4:15 p.m.
When police got there, a man, Ricardo Munoz, was brandishing a knife and chased after a police officer on scene. The officer then shot and killed Munoz, according to police.
And as soon as you can say BLM, Lancaster was engulfed in a riot.
This followed, of course, the unprovoked shooting by an as-yet-unknown assailant of two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in Compton, California. While the officers were in a local hospital following the attack, protesters showed up to block the hospital’s emergency entries and exits, shouting, “I hope they f—— die,” “Death to the police,” and “Kill the police.”
And Joe Biden’s response to the Compton shooting? The Democratic nominee tweeted,
Weapons of war have no place in our communities.
We need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Well aside from the glaringly obvious point that someone willing to kill two sheriff’s deputies in broad daylight will not obey any gun laws — and used a handgun — the Lancaster attacker had no gun at all but rather a good-sized knife. There is no word about whether Biden will now be proposing knife control.
All of this will have a direct impact on Biden’s ability to carry Pennsylvania in November. Gun control is historically a very big issue in Pennsylvania — with over 250,000 registered gun owners in the state.
As far back as 1968, gun control has played a key role in Pennsylvania elections. Democratic Sen. Joe Clark, a supposedly popular two-term senator and ex-Mayor of Philadelphia, voted for the Gun Control Act of 1968 — and lost his reelection to the anti-gun control GOP Congressman Richard Schweiker. This in a year in which the Democratic presidential nominee, then-Vice President Hubert Humphrey, carried the state over the GOP’s Richard Nixon by 170,000 votes.
Along with fracking (as discussed in detail by my colleague Paul Kengor in this piece), gun control is decidedly the wrong issue to get on the wrong side of in Pennsylvania. Being seen as anti-fracking and pro-gun control should be a double whammy, a serious pair of political negatives that President Trump can easily use to carry the state.
Not to mention that Pennsylvanians as a whole do not take well to the scenes of all the rioting in cities across America — and will doubtless be infuriated to realize it has suddenly erupted in one of their own Pennsylvania cities. Here is a description from Fox News:
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Lancaster following the shooting. The crowd formed outside the police station, where the department stated multiple buildings and government vehicles were damaged by demonstrators. Videos emerged from the scene showing protesters apparently slamming on the building’s front door.
Police eventually deployed tear gas on a crowd of people protesting early Monday. Police said protesters “failed to follow the instructions.” Police said protesters threw glass bottles, gallon jugs filled with liquid and parts of plastic road barricades at officers.
Politically speaking, Lancaster County — I went to Franklin and Marshall college there — is Republican and conservative. In 2016, it gave Donald Trump 57.20 percent of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s 37.78 percent.
As no less than the New York Times has acknowledged, Trump’s strength in carrying Pennsylvania in 2016 — the first time a GOP presidential candidate had done so in over a quarter century — was that county by county he increased his percentage of the vote from that of GOP predecessors Romney, McCain, and George W. Bush.
With less than two months to go, the Lancaster riot over the shooting of a knife-wielding assailant charging a police officer may well add to the impression of Pennsylvania Trump supporters that Trump’s law-and-order issue has now hit home — their home.
And the betting here is that they won’t like it — and they will especially not like Joe Biden’s call for gun control. At all.