They aren't. They're a synthetic focus for media hatred, and that's all. They can't elect anybody, but people who agree with them can and do.
And that's what's amusing about this persistent media trope - sure, eliminate the NRA and the rest will fall into place, right? Not even close. Five million NRA members, a hundred million gun owners. You can start a war on the former but it's the latter who you'll have to fight.