My wife and I sat across a restaurant dinner table recently with friends in Colorado when the question came from one of them.
“Do you think Ted Cruz is going to get beat next year by that guy from El Paso?” our friend asked.
I had to answer honestly. “No. I don’t think it’s going to happen,” I said.
Cruz is the first-term Republican U.S. senator I have labeled as the Cruz Missile. The guy from El Paso is a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives named Beto O’Rourke.
Both are young men. Both are dynamic in their respective ways. Cruz, though, holds all the cards in this year’s election cycle. Why? The answer is clear cut: He is a Republican running for re-election in what clearly is among the most Republican-friendly states in the United States of America.
O’Rourke is seeking to mine what Democrats believe is the changing demographic makeup of Texas. They are hoping that with more Latino residents who tend to vote for Democrats that O’Rourke will be able to knock Cruz out of the Senate.
I am no fan of Ted Cruz. He has shown himself to be a blowhard and showboat since taking office in 2013.
I believe I am a realist, though, in trying to assess the political landscape in Texas.
Voters here seem obsessed with voting for Republicans. I see no change in the state’s GOP-leaning pattern in 2018. It seems the only thing that can derail a Cruz re-election would be a scandal of monumental proportions.
I don’t see it happening.
Beto O’Rourke might be the perfect candidate for the U.S. Senate. Except that he’s running in Texas, which hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994. The losing streak isn’t about to end.