The National Rifle Association is facing rough times.
The pro-gun organization has posted steep financial losses, faces state investigations and a potential loss of tax-exempt status over reports of corruption and misuse of assets, is being ripped apart by faction fighting and power struggles among the top leadership, and continues to feel the embarrassing fallout of the criminal investigation into how an admitted Russian agent infiltrated the group and influenced their politics.
All of this, according to a report by The Guardian, has some Republican officials worried that the NRA will fail to deliver a Trump re-election in 2020.
Trump himself has also signaled his concern about the situation, urging the NRA in tweets to “stop the internal fighting” and “get back to GREATNESS – FAST!”
The NRA pumped over $54 million into the 2016 election cycle, to elect both Trump himself and his allies in the House and Senate. But during the 2018 midterm election, as their financial problems grew, the group spent only $9.4 million, and failed to win many key races.
In Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, for example, the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action backed the re-election of Rep. Karen Handel, who had only just won a special election the year before, only for her to lose to gun control activist Lucy McBath — a defeat that the NRA’s new president Carolyn Meadows blames on McBath being a “minority female.”
“The reality is that the NRA absolutely helped Trump get elected, and probably to an extent greater than most people realize,” said former NRA spokeman John Aquilino to The Guardian. “The strongest NRA states are the swing states. Trump realizes that NRA support in those swing states is more important than political party affiliation for winning.”