Tag Archives: Beto O’Rourke

Texas Democrats optimistic; but let’s keep it (more or less) in check

Texas Democrats reportedly are optimistic heading into the 2020 election season. They think a Democratic presidential nominee can carry the state, handing Texas’ 38 electoral votes to the party’s nominee.

Were that to happen, the GOP president, one Donald Trump, can kiss his re-election goodbye. Indeed, I figure that if Texas is going to flip from Republican to Democrat, then the 2020 election will be a dark, foreboding time for the GOP throughout the ballot in Texas.

However, Democrats would be wise to curb their optimism in Texas.

It’s not that I don’t want Texas to help elect someone other than Donald Trump, or that I don’t want the Texas Legislature to turn from GOP to Democrat. I want to see at minimum a contested political playing field, one that features two strong political parties arguing vehemently to persuade voters to buy into whatever ideology they are trying to sell.

However, Texas’ turn from Democratic to Republican control was dramatic and total over the course of about 20 years.

I get that Democrats got all fluttery when Beto O’Rourke nearly defeated GOP U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. O’Rourke then tried to parlay that near-miss into a presidential candidacy. He failed.

Texas Democrats have been floundering in the wilderness since the late 1990s, when they won their last statewide political campaign. Is the upcoming year going to mark the turnaround for the Texas Democratic Party. My bias tells me to hope it does.

My more realistic side tells me to wait for the ballots to be counted.

Beto’s presidential ‘splash’ wasn’t what he hoped to make

Beto O’Rourke hoped to make a huge impact on the 2020 presidential contest.

The former El Paso congressman had that spectacular run for the U.S. Senate in 2018, falling just a bit short of making history by becoming the first Democrat to win a statewide office in Texas since The Flood.

Then he decided to go for the bigger prize, parlaying the excitement he generated in Texas into a national craze.

It, um, the excitement didn’t translate.

Now he is known for perhaps the most spectacular presidential campaign collapse in recent memory. The one that seems to measure up to O’Rourke’s cratering occurred in 1972 when Democratic frontrunner Edmund Muskie seemingly cried in public in reaction to an unkind editorial in a New Hampshire newspaper.

O’Rourke now becomes a political footnote. He has saddened a lot of my Texas acquaintances and a few actual friends by declaring an end to his presidential bid.

O’Rourke forged a number of political alliances in the Texas Panhandle, a famously Republican-leaning region of Texas, during his Senate campaign. Many of his allies there hoped he could stampede to the front of the pack during a presidential run.

Well, he started at the front, but then faded as the rest of the large herd of candidates overtook him.

Look, to be honest I am among those who is disappointed Beto O’Rourke’s presidential candidacy failed to ignite. The field that remains is still full of considerable talent, along with a whack job or two, or maybe three.

They all have the same goal. They want to defeat Donald Trump in November 2020. So do I … want him defeated. If lightning strikes, hell freezes over and Earth spins off its axis Trump might be removed before then.

I do wish Beto O’Rourke would have been in that mix. He won’t.

Unless … the presidential nominee — who is not a white male — believes Beto O’Rourke can regain his wings as a VPOTUS nominee. It can’t happen? Here’s two words: Joe Biden.

Beto wipes out on wave he hoped would win the White House

Beto O’Rourke rode a huge wave to a near win in a 2018 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Texas.

Then the former El Paso congressman decided he would ride that wave in search of a bigger prize: the White House.

Today, though, he called it quits. He is no longer running for president of the United States. Indeed, O’Rourke never quite caught the same wave that excited so many Democrats in Texas and for a time got ’em pumped up in many other parts of the country.

I’ll admit to being disappointed. I had hoped to cast my ballot for O’Rourke once the Democratic Party primary parade marched its way toward Texas. However, O’Rourke never quite ignited the same level of interest in his presidential campaign that he did while he challenged Sen. Ted Cruz a year ago.

Oh, I wanted him to win the Senate seat in the worst way. He campaigned in all of Texas’s 254 counties. He took his message to progressive bastions such as Travis, Dallas and Bexar counties as well as conservative strongholds in the Panhandle, the Permian Basin and Deep East Texas.

O’Rourke finished Election Night 2018 less than 3 percent short of victory. In Texas, that constituted some sort of “moral victory” for Democrats who have lusted for a statewide election victory for more than two decades.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be as O’Rourke sought his party’s presidential nomination.

There might be another elected office in O’Rourke’s future. Just not this next year.

Nice try, Beto. Many of us still want to see you stay in the game, even if you’re no longer a candidate for public office.

Rep. Cain: You’re the reason for stricter laws

Where I come from, when someone threatens another person by saying they have a deadly weapon ready for them, the person to whom he or she is speaking can take that as a direct threat to their health and safety.

So, on Thursday night when former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke said “hell yes, we’re going to take away your AR-15, ” he received a Twitter-borne threat from Texas state Rep. Briscoe Cain, who said “My AR is ready for you, Robert Francis.”

Is that a direct threat to the Democratic presidential candidate from a Republican Texas state lawmaker? Yep. I believe it is.

Is that also a clear demonstration of what O’Rourke is trying to say about enacting stricter gun laws to keep these kinds of weapons out of the hands of crazy people? Yes, sir! I believe that’s the case as well.

I am not going to say that state Rep. Cain is “crazy.” I am saying that he needs to be very careful about the threats he levels against a candidate for the presidency.

The FBI takes quite a dim view of people popping off carelessly while threatening physical harm to individuals running for public office.

Beto feels the heat from those who want him to drop out

Beto O’Rourke is getting a lot of unsolicited advice these days.

Such as what came from the Houston Chronicle over the weekend. The Chronicle, which endorsed his candidacy for the U.S. Senate over Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, has urged O’Rourke to drop out of the Democratic race for president and to run for the Senate seat now occupied by GOP incumbent John Cornyn.

Read the editorial here.

O’Rourke is polling in the single digits. He was thought to be a strong favorite in Texas among the still-large field of Democratic primary candidates for POTUS; he isn’t polling all that strongly in his home state.

So, should O’Rourke bail on the race for the White House? I’ll offer this view.

He lost by a thin margin against Cruz in 2018, filling Texas Democrats’ hearts with hope that the state might actually elect a Democrat to statewide office for the first time in more than two decades. Cruz has parlayed his near-miss into a presidential campaign that started with a lot of buzz, but which has floundered.

Does he shuck that bid and take on Cornyn? Well, he would need some assurance that he could actually win the Senate seat Cornyn has occupied since 2003.

Were the former El Paso congressman lose a second consecutive U.S. Senate race, I believe that might doom any statewide office aspirations that O’Rourke might harbor.

Two straight losses would be tough to overcome.

I have no advice to give the young man. He’s getting a lot of it from people who are more in the know than little ol’ me. I am just concerned that the magic that Beto found in his first run for the U.S. Senate might be a bit more elusive to find were he to make another run for another Senate seat.

Good luck, Beto. Do what you think is best.

Should the POTUS visit El Paso?

Donald J. Trump is set to fly to El Paso, Texas, later this week in the wake of the massacre of 22 victims at the Wal-Mart shopping center.

The alleged shooter reportedly hates Mexican immigrants. He was prodded to act reportedly by rhetoric uttered by — that’s right — the very same Donald J. Trump.

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke said today that the president should stay away. So has O’Rourke’s successor in the U.S. House district he represented for six years in Washington, Veronica Escobar, another Democrat. They both say the president isn’t welcome in their city.

“He’s helped to create what we saw in El Paso on Saturday,” O’Rourke told the El Paso Times. “He’s helped to produce the suffering that we are experiencing right now. This community needs to heal.”

Oh, boy. I happen to believe the president should go to El Paso; he also plans to visit Dayton, Ohio, which erupted in gun violence hours after El Paso suffered its grievous wounds. And, yes, he faces the prospect of getting an unfriendly welcome from angry El Paso residents.

Donald Trump is facing the most serious quandary perhaps of his presidency. What in the world does he say when he visits with victims? Is he capable of holding himself accountable for the actions of a lunatic who drove 660-plus miles from the Metroplex to inflict such damage?

If lightning strikes and hell freezes over, perhaps there’s a chance he’ll do what he needs to do, which is take responsibility for fueling the anger that erupted at the Wal-Mart in El Paso.

I am not going to bet the farm on it.

Another mass murder in a city that never expected it

I am running out of ways to express my heartbreak over news of mass shootings, mass death, mass insanity.

El Paso, Texas, is the latest community to join the growing list of places identified as a place where madness erupted.

As I write this brief blog post, all the nation seems to know with any certainty is that there are “multiple fatalities” at a Wal-Mart shopping complex in the West Texas city.

I understand three individuals have been taken into custody. El Paso police are being tight-lipped about the circumstances.

The mayor said the massacre caught everyone by surprise, that no one expected such an event to occur in El Paso. Oh … my. If only such reactions weren’t so predictable.

I suppose one of the questions to be answered soon will be the place of residence of the individuals in police custody. Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman from El Paso and a candidate for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, has declared El Paso — which borders Mexico — to be one of the nation’s “safest cities.” He makes the case in rebuttal to contentions from others who express fear of criminals migrating into this country from points south.

That debate will commence.

In the meantime, I am going to grieve along with the rest of the country over the senseless, moronic loss of life.

I also plan to find a way to mend my broken heart.

U.S. Senate race suddenly becomes quite the attraction

Well now. A serious legislative big hitter has just entered the contest for U.S. Senate. He hails from just down the road from my wife and me in Dallas.

Royce West, who’s served in the Texas Senate since 1993, wants to challenge U.S. Sen. John Cornyn. So he’s in.

Suddenly this contest has become a top-tier event, in my view.

West is one of the state’s leading legislative Democrats. He brings serious gravitas to the debate that will unfold over time.

Sure, first things first. West has to win the party’s nomination next spring. Democrats already have a crowded field in that primary. West’s entry only clutters it up, except that West has considerable standing among his legislative colleagues — on both sides of the aisle — not to mention a reputation as a serious and thoughtful individual.

West is a lawyer. No surprise there. As one of his legislative colleagues noted, he brings “a big voice and a big presence” to the contest. Big presence, indeed, given that West is, shall we say, an imposing physical specimen. He also brings considerable knowledge of the state.

Let me stipulate that I’ve known John Cornyn for a long time. He and I have a strictly professional relationship. I have considered it to be a good one at that. I got to know when he ran for Texas attorney general prior to his moving to the Senate. I like him personally, but am baffled — along with many other Americans — by his silence concerning Donald Trump’s behavior and the potential revelations concerning impeachable offenses.

How might this Senate race get even crazier? Consider this: Beto O’Rourke, who lost by just a little bit to Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, is flailing in his effort to run for president; he might decide to bail on the White House bid and make another run at the Senate seat occupied by John Cornyn.

Stay tuned, folks.

Don’t count Beto out just yet

I guess the preliminary verdict is in regarding the first of two Democratic Party presidential primary debates. Texan Beto O’Rourke might have suffered the most serious wounds from the encounter.

I agree that O’Rourke, the former congressman from El Paso, didn’t sound sharp. He got caught flat-footed when former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro went after him over immigration reform; then we had that strange Spanish riff that seemed a bit gimmicky to many listeners’ ears.

However, I am not going to sound the death knell over O’Rourke’s candidacy. That might come, just not quite yet.

O’Rourke appears to be learning how to campaign nationally as he goes along. He ran for the U.S. Senate in Texas without employing any pollsters, or much of a professional campaign staff — and he still came within a whisker of knocking Ted Cruz out of office in 2018.

That first debate did produce some highlights for several candidates: Castro, Hawaii U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New York Mayor Bill DiBlasio, New Jersey U.S. Sen. Cory Booker all scored well.

Beto? He took some body punches. Some of his wounds were self-inflicted.

Remember this: The campaign is just getting started. The candidates have a long way to go. It’s no time for Beto to bail.

Beto breaks the ice … but why?

Beto O’Rourke managed to stand out from the crowd of 10 Democrats running for president of the United States.

The former congressman from El Paso, though, did so in one of the stranger manners I’ve seen.

O’Rourke took part in that NBC/MSNBC debate with half of a large slate of Democrats running for president. He took a question about whether he would support taxing rich Americans as much as 70 percent. He started to provide an answer in English — and then spoke Spanish for several moments.

I sat there in front of my TV here in Princeton, Texas, wondering: What in the world did he just say? 

To this very moment I don’t know whether O’Rourke favors increasing the tax rate or whether he opposes it. His answer in Spanish, I am going to presume, was meant to endear him to the Latino population throughout the nation that likely will play an important role in nominating the next Democratic candidate for president and then deciding on whether than nominee deserves to be elected in November 2020 to the presidency.

But what about the rest of us, Beto? What did you say?

As some commentators have noted already, Beto’s Spanish-language riff seemed a bit contrived and a tad too gimmicky.

I am inclined to give the young man another chance. It wasn’t a deal breaker for me. I just want to be kept in the loop on the messages that our presidential candidates are trying to deliver.

Beto had me … and then he lost me.