Let's put aside the fact that the nation is horribly split on many issues and that 2016 is an election where each side leads with the argument that "if they win we're all dead". We have been heading in that direction for over a decade and there is no end to this Doomsday scenario in sight. The simple fact is that this a national election and President Barack Obama has won both of the last two with outright majorities. I have written many times already that he has established one of those historical winning electoral coalitions that stay intact for at least two generations - like the New Deal coalition and the Reagan/Republican Revolt.

Stated simply, Mr. Obama is powered by the enthusiasm of young voters (including about two in five who are people of color), along with Latino, African American, and Asian Pacific voters of all ages, and the Creative Class. When they are excited about him they vote and win. When they are disappointed and disillusioned with him, they do not vote (e.g. 2010 and 2014). What drives them to vote in larger numbers is not only getting revved up by the man in the White House but also when they fear what they see as excessive rhetoric by the Republican opposition.

This Obama Coalition has a clear world view that is fearful of another war and the United States trying to overplay its hand as a superpower. They are inclusive when it comes to immigration and race. They are open on gay rights and marriage, on a woman's right to choose, and on federal action to alleviate global warming. While the nation is split overall on the issue of gun rights (55%) vs. gun control (37%), the Obama Coalition is heavily in favor of the latter. According to Pew Research, 77 percent of Latinos said they supported requiring background checks before letting people buy guns, 76 percent favored establishing a national database of gun owners and 58 percent opposed allowing the mentally ill to buy guns. Four in five (76%) percent of blacks prioritized controls on gun ownership over protecting gun rights. Overall, Americans support a law requiring background checks on sales of guns at gun shows and 55% believe it "is too easy to buy a gun in the United States." Three in four (73%) of Democrats favor "prioritize controlling gun ownership over protecting gun rights."

While levels of intensity have consistently been on the gun rights side of the battle, there is growing evidence that the degrees of emotion on behalf of gun control action have been turned up several degrees with the dramatic increase of mass shootings in recent years. And it appears to be sustained and not ephemeral this time.

In short, the President is listening to his base and is promoting the issue of gun control not only because he believes in it and wants it to be part of his legacy but because it is simply good politics for him. It provides Democrats with another wedge issue they can use in their arsenal to generate enthusiasm to get their base out to vote in November 2016. The proof is when no prominent Democrat - including both the party's frontrunner and main challenger for the Presidential nomination - has come out to challenge the President.