While the Dow Jones industrial average has surged 8.9 percent since Trump was elected president—to within 0.37 points of 20,000 on Friday—shares of gunmakers have tanked.This is an illustration of a larger general point: national-level conservative political victories are bad for grass-roots conservative movements.
With gun enthusiasts sensing President-elect Trump poses less a threat to Second Amendment rights than a Hillary Clinton White House would have, shares of Smith & Wesson parent American Outdoor Brands have fallen 26 percent since Election Day through Friday.
Meanwhile, rival Sturm, Ruger shares are down 16 percent over the same span.
The decline reflects a stunning reversal in the buying habits of gun-lovers.
Firearm background checks by the FBI, which broadly reflect gun sales, fell in December — the first monthly year-over-year decline in 20 months, government statistics show. [Gun shares fall as anti-2nd Amendment threat weakens by Josh Kosman; New York Post, January 9, 2017.]
I saw this in my early years at at National Review fifteen years ago. As the George W. Bush administration settled in, there was a distinct nostalgia around the office for the Clinton years, when the enemy had been in plain sight on the national stage.
Donations and institutional support had fallen off, too. Following a big victory against left-liberalism there is a widespread feeling among grass-roots conservatives something like: "We did it! Mission accomplished! Let's go home!"
It's understandable, but politics goes on. When one chess game has ended, another starts up immediately.
Mrs Clinton may have gone away; but Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, Luis Gutiérrez, and Keith Ellison haven't. Nor have Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Bloomberg, and George Soros. Nor have the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC.
The nature of the fight will change on January 20th; but it remains a fight against powerful interests and carefully-cultivated styles of human ignorance and folly.
The price of victory is a slackening of the combative energies; but the price of liberty remains eternal vigilance.