Tag Archives: 2018 election

Beto gets ’em fired up early

The media and political fascination with Beto O’Rourke has commenced. It’s at full throttle already.

The former West Texas congressman announced his presidential candidacy this week, jetted off to Iowa and had the political media following his every move.

I heard one commentator gushing over how physically attractive he is and how O’Rourke already has ignited the national flame much as he did in Texas when in 2018 he came within a whoop and a holler of defeating U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

None of this early excitement is surprising. O’Rourke presents a different type of presidential challenger. He nearly defeated Cruz in a heavily Republican state. He ran close and hard with nary a political adviser to be found; he had no pollsters; he toured every one of Texas’s 254 counties.

He is pledging to do something similar as he runs for president. Good luck with that, young man.

I remain fervently on the fence regarding Beto O’Rourke. I am inclined to want to support him. I am just not there. I don’t know if I’ll get there. I’m thinking hard about it, along with the rest of the already-gigantic field of Democrats lining up for the chance run next year against Donald Trump.

The media fascination in a strange way seems to mirror the fascination they showed toward Trump as he announced his candidacy in 2015.

I don’t expect O’Rourke, though, to inflame animosity the way Trump did, even though the president likely owes the media debt of gratitude for elevating him from carnival barker to serious presidential candidate.

Welcome to the big time, Beto O’Rourke. This will be wild ride.

Will he or won’t he run for POTUS?

I am on pins and needles waiting for Beto O’Rourke to tell us whether he is running for president of the United States in 2020.

Well, actually, I’m not. I am amazed, though, at the excitement that a potential Beto candidacy is ginning up among Democratic partisans as the field for the presidential election keeps growing.

O’Rourke seems like a fine young family man. He represented El Paso, Texas, in Congress for three terms. Then he ran for the Senate in 2018 and came within a couple of percentage points of defeating Sen. Ted Cruz, the sometimes-fiery Republican incumbent.

That a Democrat could come as close as O’Rourke did in 2018 to upsetting a GOP incumbent still has politicos’ attention. Thus, they are waiting Beto’s decision.

He says he’ll let us know by the end of the month whether he intends to seek the presidency, which is just a few days down the road.

The political world awaits.

I remain decidedly mixed about Beto’s possible candidacy. I wanted him to win his race against Cruz. I think he would be a fine U.S. senator.

And, maybe, one day he will make an equally fine president of the United States. Still, there’s just something a bit too green about Beto.

Do his policies bother me? No. I consider myself a center-left kind of fellow. Thus, I don’t see Beto as a flame-throwing progressive bad-ass. He’s not a socialist — closeted or otherwise.

However, he seems to be trading on the excitement he built with his Senate run, believing possibly that he can parlay that into a national campaign.

I just don’t know

That all said, I’ll repeat what I’ve stated already: If he were to win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination and then face off in the fall of 2020 against Donald John Trump, he would have my support all the way to the finish line.

He just isn’t the perfect candidate to take on Donald Trump.

I’m still waiting for Mr. or Ms. Political Perfection — or a reasonable facsimile — to jump out of the tall grass.

Elections always have consequences

I have long understood and appreciated the consequences that elections bring to those in public service.

It’s an accepted part of the electoral process. If the individual you want doesn’t get elected to any office, you then must face the prospect of the other individual doing something with which you likely will disagree.

It happened certainly in 2016 with the election as president of Donald J. Trump. He won the Electoral College as prescribed by the Constitution, but more of us cast ballots for his major foe than for the winner. Still, we are paying the consequences of the previous presidential election.

Well, here we are. Two years later and the president finds himself facing his own consequential electoral result in the wake of the congressional midterm election. The House of Representatives, half of the legislative branch of government, is about to flip from Republican to Democratic control; the gavel-passing occurs on Jan. 3 when Nancy Pelosi ascends to the speakership. Committee chairs will get their respective gavels, too.

Get ready, therefore, for hearings. Get ready for lots of questions that House Republicans so far have been  unwilling to ask of the president of their own political party.

The president appears to be in trouble. His GOP “allies,” and I use that term guardedly, have been reticent in seeking the truth behind the many questions that swirl around the president. They aren’t “friends” with Trump as much as they are frightened by him. He has bullied them into remaining silent.

The president won’t be able to play that hand with Democrats who are in charge of the lower chamber of Congress. Thus, it remains increasingly problematic for the president to do something foolhardy, such as fire the special counsel who is examining those questions concerning the alleged “collusion” between the president’s campaign and Russian government agents who interfered in our electoral process.

Yes, indeed. Elections have serious consequences. We are likely to witness them play out in real time . . . very soon.

I, Robert Francis ‘Beto’ O’Rourke, do solemnly swear . . . ‘

Roll that around in your mouth a time or three, maybe four.

Might it be what we hear in Jan. 20, 2021 at the next presidential inauguration? Some progressive pundits and pols are hoping it happens. I remain dubious, but perhaps a little less so than I was immediately after Beto O’Rourke lost his bid to become the next U.S. senator from Texas.

O’Rourke came within a couple of percentage points of upsetting Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. For a Democrat to come within a whisker of beating a GOP Texas politician has many on the left still all agog.

O’Rourke has changed his tune. He said the Senate race was 100 percent on his mind. He now says he is not ruling out anything. That he might be a presidential candidate in 2020. He’s going to take some time with his wife, Amy, and the three kids he featured prominently in his 2018 Senate campaign to ponder his future.

O’Rourke’s congressional term ends in early January. He’ll return home to El Paso and give thought to running for the highest office in America.

My desire for the Democratic Party remains for it to find a candidate lurking in the tall grass that no one has heard of. Beto no longer fits that description. He became a national phenomenon with his narrow loss to the Cruz Missile.

He’ll keep fighting Donald Trump’s desire to build a wall along our southern border; he’ll fight for comprehensive immigration reform. He said he plans to stay in the game. He plans to have his voice heard.

He might want to parlay his immense national political star status into a legitimate campaign for the presidency. My hope is that is he stays on the sidelines for 2020. However, in case he decides to take the plunge into extremely deep political water . . . well, I’m all in.

Did Cruz and O’Rourke bury the hatchet?

This story makes me smile and gives me hope about the future of political debate and discourse in the United States of America.

Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke — who have just completed a fiery-hot campaign for Cruz’s Senate seat — bumped into each other at George Bush Houston Intercontinental Airport. O’Rourke, who lost narrowly to Cruz, initiated the contact between them. They spoke cordially for some time, talking about how they can “move forward” from the election that just ended.

According to Click2HoustonTexas A&M student Tiffany Easter witnessed the moment and posted a recap on her Facebook and Twitter pages Tuesday.

In her Facebook post, Easter said she was waiting to board a flight to Washington when she noticed that both O’Rourke and Cruz were about to board the same flight.

“Beto noticed Ted sitting down and walked over to congratulate him on his re-election campaign,” Easter wrote. “It was the first time they had seen each other since the election, and the entire conversation was both of them talking about how they could move forward together.”

This makes me smile because the campaign the men waged was among the more aggressive in the country. It drew national attention, given the closeness of the contest.

I suppose one could have expected the men to maybe shake hands, nod at each other and then part company. They didn’t.

Their cordial encounter gives me a glimmer of hope that even the most intense political opponents can realize that politics is just part of who they are and what they do.

POTUS undermines, denigrates our electoral system

They’re still counting ballots in Florida, where election controversy seems endemic in a system that needs fixing.

But sitting on the sidelines is a guy named Donald J. Trump, the president of the United States, who is heckling state and local officials, accusing Democrats of trying to “steal” an election, suggesting widespread “fraud” where none exists and in general exacerbating an already-tense and contentious election.

Trump is doing a supreme disservice to the cause of free and fair elections, which are a hallmark of the nation he was elected to lead.

How about comparing this president’s conduct with another president who, as he was preparing to leave office, stood by silently while officials in the same state of Florida grappled with another — even more significant — electoral controversy.

Vice President Al Gore wanted to succeed President Clinton in 2000. He and Republican Texas Gov. George W. Bush fought hammer-and-tong for the presidency. It came down to Florida. The race was razor thin. Whoever won the state’s electoral votes would be elected president.

They launched a recount. Bush’s margin of victory narrowed to 537 votes out of more than 5 million ballots cast. Then the U.S. Supreme Court intervened. It ordered the count stopped. Bush won the state’s electoral votes. He took the oath of office in January 2001.

President Clinton stayed quiet through it all. When he was asked about the controversy, the president said he preferred not to get involved. The U.S. Constitution did its job without presidential hectoring, haranguing and harassment.

Yep, there’s a lesson to be learned about a previous president’s conduct during a seriously contentious time. The lesson will be lost on Donald John Trump.

Sad.

How do you ‘unify’ a nation while going to war with political foes?

Donald Trump’s stated pledge to seek “peace and harmony” has run straight into a virtual declaration of war.

The president is blathering out of both sides of his loud mouth. Imagine that … if you can.

The day after the midterm election, Trump held a combative press conference in which he issued a warning to House Democrats — who in January will take over control of the House — launch an investigation into Trump’s finances.

The administration, he said, would assume a “war-like posture.”

War-like posture? What’s he going to do? Mobilize the military, send our soldiers into battle … against whom? Democrats? Rogue Republicans?

Trump has said he wouldn’t cooperate with Democrats if they insist on investigating his administration regarding any of the myriad scandals, controversies and tempests that are roiling our government. Thus, he inserted the “war-like posture” assertion.

This is not how you unify the country. There will be no “peace and harmony” to be found in that context.

Donald Trump continues to exhibit a lust for combat. He looks for all the world like someone who cannot possibly accept tranquility. It might make him nervous, believing that too tranquil an environment somehow hides an unwelcome surprise.

Praise for Pelosi, then a threat

Hell, I don’t know what makes this guy tick. I offer these views only after watching him from afar.

It’s just that when he pledges a quest for “peace and harmony” and then declares his intention to assume a “war-like posture,” I am led to believe only the worst.

The man wants a fight. I fear that congressional Democrats are going to give him one.

‘Florida’ becomes new synonym for election incompetence

Move over, Texas. You — I mean “we” — are being replaced as the butt of jokes related to election incompetence and possible corruption.

There once was a time when Texas was known for dead people casting ballots in, say, tiny Duval County in the southern part of the state. It was thought that the cadaver vote vaulted Lyndon Baines Johnson into Congress.

As a transplant who moved to Texas more than three decades ago, I am not proud of the state’s former reputation as a cesspool for political corruption. In that regard, I feel sorry for the conscientious Floridians who now are living with the same level of skepticism.

Broward County, Fla., is in the news again. It isn’t good.

Trouble looms for 2020

They’re trying to determine the winner of two red-hot races in Florida: the campaign for governor and for U.S. Senate. The attention focuses on Broward County, home to around 2 million residents. Thus, they cast a lot of votes in that south Florida county.

They can’t seem to get ’em counted. There might be an automatic recount. Or maybe it’ll be a manual recount.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott holds a narrow lead over U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson — at the moment! GOP U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis is barely ahead of Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. Scott and DeSantis have (more or less) declared victory. Nelson and Gillum aren’t conceding. They’re waiting … and waiting … and waiting for all the ballots to be counted.

Of course, this is far from the first time Florida has been at the epicenter of questionable electoral issues. You remember the 2000 presidential election, yes? It came down to an aborted recount of the contest between Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Albert Gore Jr. The winner would rake in the state’s Electoral College votes and win the presidency. The U.S. Supreme Court ended up ordering the vote count stopped and when it did, Gov. Bush had 537 more votes — out of more than 5.8 million ballots cast — than Vice President Gore. The court ruling came on a 5-4 vote; the five GOP appointed justices voted to stop the count, with the four Democratic appointed justices dissenting.

Well, the rest — as they say — is history.

This resident of Texas is glad to have my state kicked off the (alleged) voter fraud pedestal.

As a patriotic American, though, I do hope that our fellow Americans in Florida can cure what ails that state’s electoral process. Our political process needs to be free of this kind of turmoil.

I just pray the Russians aren’t involved.

Cool it with the accusations, Democrats

So much to say about the 2018 midterm election … so I’ll start with this item.

The presumptive speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said prior to the election that Democrats should cool it with talk of impeaching Donald J. Trump. She said impeaching the president is a non-starter and she didn’t want the campaign to be decided on that issue.

Here is her chance to make good on that plea.

Democrats seized control of the House last night. Senate Republicans gained a couple of seats, cementing the GOP control of the upper legislative chamber. The former House “ranking members” will become committee chairs. They’ll be able to call the shots in the House. The ballots were still being counted Tuesday night when word came out of Washington about Democrats wanting to subpoena the president’s tax returns, which he has (in)famously refused to release for public review.

I want to see them, too. However, Democrats also campaigned for office demanding that “pre-existing conditions” are honored if the House considers amending the Affordable Care Act. They have health care to consider.

They also have budgeting issues to ponder. They have to consider potential new tax cuts. That budget deficit is spiraling out of control.

The president called the new speaker last night to congratulate her for the Democrats’ House victory. The two of them reportedly talked about bipartisanship and working together to get things done on behalf of the people.

I don’t know if Trump actually means it, given his propensity for lying. Pelosi should heed that call, even if the president reneges down the line.

Those of us who want to see government re-learn how to function on behalf of the “bosses” — that’s you and me, folks — must demand that a divided Congress learn to unite within itself. We also must demand that the president and Congress set aside the fiery rhetoric and start acting as if they mean what they said about cooperation and compromise.

Get ready for ’20 election contestants

Many political junkies — and I include myself in that crowd — are awaiting the results of the 2018 midterm election.

Some of us, however, also are awaiting the announcements for the next big political event that’s coming up … two years from now!

That would be the 2020 presidential election.

The incumbent president already has declared his intention to run for re-election in 2020. Donald John Trump has begun raising money; he’s making speeches against potential Democratic opponents. So, the president is in.

There is some chatter out there that sometime this week, maybe by the weekend, we’re going to hear about announcements from notable Democrats who have been rumored to be considering a run.

I suppose we’ll hear announcements of the formation of “exploratory committees,” those pre-candidacy announcements candidates use to determine whether they have a chance in hell of winning.

I’m not waiting with bated breath. So far, I haven’t seen or heard much from any potential Democratic candidates who excite me. Maybe someone will surface, will emerge from nowhere. That’s the kind of candidate I want to challenge the president.

The old war horses won’t cut it for me. I hope to hear that someone will burst out of the tall grass and catch us all by surprise. I am secretly hoping for a candidate in the mold of Jimmy Carter to spring forth.

You know my thoughts about the incumbent. Enough on that … for now.

The end of one campaign is likely to signal the start of another. It’s the big one, man! Let’s all hold on for a wild ride.