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Sad news: the National Rifle Association spent bajillons of dollars getting Donald Trump elected -- like, maybe even a lot of money that wasn't from Russia -- and now its spending is down sharply on political campaigning for the midterms. SO SAD! Bloomberg News reports the group even "borrowed against life insurance policies on top executives and took out a loan from its philanthropic arm" -- which normally covers the NRA Fund to Yell At Bloggers About Magazines and Clips, You Morans.


But even with all that money from less traditional sources, the NRA is in a bind this campaign season:

NRA spending by its lobbying arm in venues like television and radio has plunged this year 86 percent to $1.9 million from the last midterm elections. When this outlay is combined with spending by the NRA's political action committee, which raises money separately, the $16.4 million total is less than half of what they deployed in 2014.

Tragic, really! NRA spokesperson Andrew Arulanandam said this is really quite a normal state of affairs for a nonprofit like the NRA, especially when it comes to "unrestricted assets," the money it uses for political outlays and the occasional trip to Moscow, maybe, who knows.

"Like many organizations, unrestricted assets may fluctuate from year-to-year based upon the needs of the organization," Arulanandam said in an emailed statement. He added that with 5.5 million members, the NRA is at "the highest levels of membership in our 150-year history." He declined to provide additional details.

Of course, the actual membership of the NRA may not really be so high, because the group just doesn't release that information. Sometimes it's "nearly 5 million" and sometimes it's "over 5 million," and no you cannot see any proof because then you would send the Antifa Super Soldiers to bully them. In any case, this year it increased its annual membership fee by five bucks, following some rocky times for membership dues. (Which you'd assume would be always climbing given the robust membership,huh?)

Two years ago, the NRA's finances began to weaken after the lobbying arm put $34.5 million behind the candidacy of Trump and other Republicans. The group ran a $41 million deficit in 2016 as increased political spending and membership acquisition costs drove total expenditures to $419 million, according to the NRA's financial statements.

Last year, the deficit grew by $21 million as revenue from contributions and membership dues sank. The $35 million decline in dues -- the NRA's largest source of unrestricted revenue -- was particularly significant.

As former NRA lobbyist Richard Feldman, who now heads the Independent Firearm Owners Association, told Bloomberg, the decline in money is just what happens when you win. Without Barack Obama to scare 'em, "The worst thing that happens to the gun rights movement is when they are successful politically." For the past couple years, nobody's been panic-buying guns in anticipation of the government coming to grab them from your cold dead fingers. So outside the occasional post-massacre shopping spree and the constant fear of immigrants running rampant, it's been tough. Even some gun manufacturers have seen business level off or decline.

Fortunately, happy/panicked days may soon be here again if the blue wave materializes:

The best outcome for NRA fundraising, said ex-lobbyist Feldman, would be success by Democrats election night.

"If the Democrats take the House, there will not just be gun control bills," he said. "There will be hearings. It's the kind of ink the NRA wants."

Add a few more mass shootings and hyped-up jitters about George Soros (as the NRA did just this week, after a Law-Abiding Gun Humper murdered 11 people at a synagogue in the belief The Jews are destroying White America), and things could really start looking up for the Fear Factory.

Oh, hey, you want that fine "NRA is Weak Sad Poop" logo, colored by Yr Wonkette Preschooler Overlord, on a lovely sticker? You should totally order one, just $2.50, CHEAP. Or get it on any number of fun items from tees to mugs to custom diesel-powered sex swings (temporarily out of stock) at our Redbubble Store!

[Bloomberg / Mother Jones / Mother Jones]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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There was a time, a few months ago, when everyone had written off Elizabeth Warren. Well, not me, because I am a fabulous genius, but lots of other people. The "very reasonable" talking heads on all the various news channels, the kind of people who used to say things like "Oh, we'd like universal health care too, but 'the people' will never go for it!" but who definitely did not actually want universal health care for any reason, and even the Trump campaign. Though, to be fair, the Trump campaign didn't think Trump had much of a chance of winning in 2016 either.

But now, as more and more people hear her speak, hear her plans, hear what she wants to do and how she wants to do it... Elizabeth Warren is rising up in the polls. She's a contender. In the most recent Quinnipiac poll, she was closing in on Sanders for second place nationally, and in California and Nevada polls, she's in second place.

And now, according to a report from Politico, the Trump campaign is now scrambling and panicking and... stalking her?

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