Tag Archives: Beto O’Rourke

Donald vs. Beto: battle of crowd size?

Donald Trump will stage a rally soon in El Paso to talk about his desire to build The Wall along our southern border.

Beto O’Rourke, who might challenge Trump in 2020, is going to stage a counter rally to say that his hometown is safer than Trump is saying it is.

So, how might we compare these two events?

Trump likes to boast about the size of his crowds. If he pulls more listeners than O’Rourke, you can bet the farm he’ll highlight that aspect of his rally. If O’Rourke’s crowd is larger, well, POTUS will keep quiet about it.

Consider this factoid, which might not matter at all: Trump’s 2016 percentage of the presidential vote in El Paso County totaled 26 percent. Beto did a whole lot better than that in his 2018 campaign effort against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

Who’ll be left to, um, legislate?

One of the negative points that former Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke sought to make against Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018 was that Cruz spent too much time running for president and too little time casting votes on behalf of Texans.

Interesting point, yes? Sure it is!

But . . . get a load of this: Five current U.S. senators and one U.S. House member already are running for president of the United States in 2020. A sixth Democratic senator is getting ready to announce her presidential candidacy.

Does the criticism that O’Rourke leveled against Cruz carry any weight when it is thrown at the growing herd of Democrats getting ready to run against Donald Trump over the next year?

And get this, there might be even more members of Congress jumping into this mob. The Senate comprises 47 Democrats. I count at least nine, maybe 10 of them either already running or preparing to run for president. Think of it: 20 to 25 percent of the Senate Democratic caucus could be running for the party’s presidential nomination. Wow!

Hey, members of Congress have every right to seek higher office. I don’t begrudge them for seeking the chance to do better than the incumbent. In this instance, as it pertains to the current incumbent president, that isn’t much of a stretch.

Still, it does open each of them up to the same criticism that Beto tossed at Ted Cruz in 2018.

Just sayin’, man.

Beto vs. Cornyn in 2020?

Beto O’Rourke reportedly is pondering whether to run for president of the United States in 2020. He told Oprah Winfrey he will decide by the end of March if he’s in the White House hunt. I believe the former Democratic congressman from West Texas has gotten stars in his eyes.

I would vote for him if lightning were to strike and he would face Donald Trump in the general election. However, he is not my first choice to become the Democratic Party’s nominee for president.

I’ve got that off my chest.

James Henson, director of the Texas Public Policy Project at the University of Texas-Austin, thinks O’Rourke’s best option is to challenge Sen. John Cornyn next year. Henson believes O’Rourke — who came within a chip shot of beating Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018 — could defeat Cornyn.

Beto’s bubble isn’t about to burst. His candidacy against Cruz energized a heretofore moribund Texas Democratic Party as he campaigned in all 245 Texas counties. The GOP-heavy state hasn’t elected a Democrat statewide for more than two decades.

Is it time for a viable Democrat to crash through that wall in 2020? Perhaps. James Henson believes Beto is better suited to run against Cornyn than to take on a gigantic Democratic Party presidential primary field.

Henson wrote an essay for the Washington Post right after the 2018 election. You can see it here.

Whatever the young man from El Paso decides is in his future, it is becoming obvious that he intends to remain in pubic life. He wants to be elected to some sort of public office. I am not yet convinced he is ready to become president of the United States, although given a choice between Beto and The Donald in 2020, I wouldn’t flinch before casting my vote for the Texas Democrat.

However, I am thinking along the lines that James Henson has put forth: Beto O’Rourke stands a better chance of winning if he decides to take on Sen. John Cornyn.

Beto is about to run for POTUS?

I have to agree with Oprah Winfrey, who told Beto O’Rourke that he seems like a 2020 presidential candidate.

Winfrey interviewed O’Rourke as part of a series of discussions on her OWN Network. O’Rourke, the former West Texas congressman, told Winfrey he will decide by March whether to run for president next year.

Family is the major consideration for O’Rourke, a husband and father of three young children.

OK, let me stipulate once again: I don’t believe O’Rourke is ready to become commander in chief, the head of state and leader of the world’s most indispensable nation. Yes, he captured Democrats’ fancy with his near-win in the race for the U.S. Senate from Texas. I wanted him to defeat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 midterm election. He came within a couple of percentage points of doing so, which in GOP-heavy Texas is a big . . . deal.

Oprah weighs in on Beto

Winfrey is correct to assume O’Rourke will run. Why? Well, he wouldn’t be sitting for interviews such as the one he did with Oprah if he intended to stay on the sidelines. So, it looks for all the world as if the young former congressman from El Paso is going all-in for president in 2020.

Do not misunderstand me here. If by some astonishing set of circumstances that O’Rourke can parlay the excitement he generated in Texas into a national following and actually get nominated for president, then he has my support.

That’s especially true if the GOP nominee is Donald John Trump, who I believe with very fiber of my being should not have been elected president in the first place. He is unfit for the office at any level I can imagine.

Beto O’Rourke, although he is green and untested on the national stage, would be my strong preference.

First, though, he has to make that decision. I believe Beto has made it already.

Has Beto waited too long?

Beto O’Rourke’s legion of followers might be witnessing a total eclipse of a political star.

The one-time West Texas congressman who came tantalizingly close to defeating Ted Cruz in the race for the U.S. Senate is now watching on the sidelines as three former congressional colleagues scarf up all the headlines while running for president.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker have become the flavors of the moment. As Politico reports, those on the sidelines are waiting for one or more of them to mess up. Beto might be one of them waiting with bated breath.

I am not yet convinced that Beto O’Rourke is presidential material. He’s a young man. He waged an unconventional, no-consultant, no-polling campaign for the U.S. Senate seat in Texas. He damn near won against a Republican incumbent!

He has nowhere to go but . . . down? Not really.

However, politics is often like baseball, meaning that “timing is everything.” Given the pace of politics in this Internet/social media/ digital age it appears possible that Beto O’Rourke’s window might be closing. He’s not alone, of course. A crowd of other Democrats are being caught flat-footed by the excitement generated already as the 2020 campaign starts to ignite.

Kamala Harris’s announcement was a spectacular event. Elizabeth Warren is seeking to shed the baggage she piled on herself with that DNA test to prove her native American heritage. Cory Booker is seen by some as “too establishment” to suit the base of the Democratic Party.

Does that make Sen. Harris the early frontrunner? Oh, it’s possible, I suppose.

As for Beto O’Rourke, I am thinking he’d better decide quickly whether he’s in . . . or out.

Hey, there’s always 2024!

Beto on Texas vote turnout: It’s a conspiracy?

Readers of this blog know that I admire Beto O’Rourke, the former West Texas congressman who nearly got elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018.

However, I believe the young man is mistaken when he offers this reason — as published in this Twitter message — for the historically low voter turnout in Texas. He blames it on some sort of conspiracy by “those in power.”

Hmm. Here’s my take on it.

I believe Texans at times suffer from a case of “voter fatigue.” It’s also a bit of a cultural phenomenon that afflicts suppressed voter turnout here. The lowest percentage of turnouts occur in states that formerly comprised the Old Confederacy. Does that mean we care less about the health of our form of government that citizens who live in high-turnout states such as Wisconsin, Oregon and Washington? No, it doesn’t mean that all.

Texas’ Constitution establishes a lot of electoral offices. We vote for our entire slate of statewide constitutional offices every four years; those elections occur during those “midterm” years. We vote for municipal and school district offices every odd-numbered year. If we live in a community college district, we get to vote on boards of regents, too!

O’Rourke blames this lack of turnout on the ability of “those in power” to suppress voter participation. I believe that is an overly cynical view.

I remain a voting traditionalist. I prefer to vote on Election Day when I’ll be at home. I am no fan of vote by mail, which some states require; it’s been said that the high turnout in Oregon and Washington is a direct result of those states’ mail-voting provisions.

I would like to see Election Day turned into a national holiday. I would like to see state, local and federal governments conduct intensive public-service campaigns to encourage voter turnout.

As a voting junkie, I enjoy the prospect of standing in line at my polling place and waiting my turn to exercise my constitutional right of citizenship.

I just cannot buy into Beto’s belief that the lack of turnout in Texas is the result of some dark conspiracy.

What now? Well, Beto might run for president in 2020. Maybe he can channel the enthusiasm he generated in his near-miss loss for the U.S. Senate in Texas into a national wave. That would dispel any conspiratorial notion, correct?

Beto gives us a bit too close of a look

Really, Beto O’Rourke? Do we really need to see an extreme closeup of your dental hygienist cleaning your teeth?

The former El Paso, Texas, congressman and failed U.S. Senate candidate thought it would be worthwhile to talk to his hygienist about living on the U.S.-Mexico border. So he engaged her — while she’s scrubbing his pearly whites!

C’mon, Beto!

You can see the picture here.

The Democrat is pondering whether to run for president in 2020. Many pundits believe he’s going to do it, that he’s going to parlay the rock-star status he acquired while losing the U.S. Senate race in Texas narrowly to Republican incumbent Ted Cruz.

Videos of his young children and his wife are fine. I get that. It’s standard political “photo op” stuff.

However, I find it a bit off-putting that Beto O’Rourke would post an Instagram picture of his teeth-cleaning. Hey, talk to the hygienist. Get her views on living in El Paso. Talk to her, grownup to grownup.

No need to show us this dental procedure. We know how it goes.

Pretty weird, Beto.

Why, indeed, is she ‘the thing’?

I have to agree with lame-duck Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, who wonders about the meteoric rise to super-political stardom of a young member of Congress — who hasn’t even taken office yet!

The object of McCaskill’s curiosity is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year-old self-described socialist from New York. McCaskill told CNN, “I’m a little confused why she’s the thing.” Ocasio-Cortez took umbrage at being called “the thing.” Well, she ought to settle down and get ready to take on some major challenges while representing the 14th Congressional District of New York.

McCaskill also referred to Ocasio-Cortez as some sort of “shiny object.” And yes . . . the rookie congresswoman took offense at that, too.

McCaskill, who lost her bid for re-election this past month, was speaking metaphorically. The Missouri lawmaker has been known for having a bit of a tart tongue during her years in the Senate. I am quite sure she didn’t intend to denigrate Ocasio-Cortez when describing her.

As for her “confusion” over the representative-elect’s rapid rise, I have to say I harbor some inherent suspicion of politicians who have this way of hogging the spotlight. They become media favorites — and then feed off of that favoritism for the sake of grabbing headlines and elevating their profiles. I can think of several such pols: Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas comes to mind; the guy who almost beat him this year, Democrat Beto O’Rourke does, too.

I fear that Rep.-elect Ocasio-Cortez is going to assume a dubious distinction as she takes her seat a few days from now among the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. She will become the punch line in a gag that talks about the “most dangerous place in Washington is the space between a TV camera and . . . ”

Well, you get the idea.

I hope Ocasio-Cortez  does a good job representing her constituents. I only would caution the young woman to think of them first as she learns to navigate her way around Capitol Hill.

Democratic excitement causes flashbacks

I must be hallucinating, or having some sort of flashback . . . which I assure you isn’t drug-induced.

Texas Democrats, not Republicans, are all agog over the looming struggle for attention between two rising stars. One of them came so very close to being elected to the U.S. Senate; the other is a former big-city mayor and a former housing secretary for the most recent Democratic president.

Stand tall, Beto O’Rourke and Julian Castro.

O’Rourke almost defeated Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in the midterm election; he might run for president of the United States in 2020. Castro was mayor of San Antonio, the state’s second-largest city and served in the Cabinet of Barack H. Obama; he, too, might run for POTUS.

Of the two of them, Castro seems the surer bet to toss his Stetson into the ring, although O’Rourke keeps tantalizing many around the country with messages that suggest that he, too, is likely to join the Democratic free-for-all.

Texas once was a Democratic bastion, where only Democrats were seen and heard. Then it morphed into a Republican stronghold and the GOP snatched all the headlines, the air time and people’s political attention.

It’s now becoming more of an inter-party competition, instead of an intra-party donnybrook. I like the idea of the two parties fighting hard for the hearts and minds of Texans and other Americans.

As for O’Rourke and Castro, I am beginning to sense a rivalry in the making.

Politico reports that a Texas political strategist, Colin Strother, sees the two men’s disparate upbringing well could produce a unique situation in Texas. They won’t be fighting for the same constituency, Strother guesses. “I see them as two completely different types of candidates,” he said.

Castro sees himself as the underdog, given O’Rourke’s meteoric rise while losing his race to Cruz. He has a twin brother, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, who’s been helping him raise money to try to bring down the O’Rourke colossus.

O’Rourke, you might recall, campaigned against Cruz without the help of high-powered, top-dollar political consultants and/or pollsters. He just visited every one of Texas’s 254 counties, talked to voters wherever he found them. What astounded me was the amount of time O’Rourke spent in GOP-stronghold counties in rural West Texas, from the Panhandle to the Permian Basin. Didn’t anyone tell him the Panhandle is where the John Birch Society used to give “mainstream politicians” fits?

I don’t know whether both — or either — of these young men are going to vie for the Big Prize in 2020. I’m just delighted to see the excitement they both are generating in a state that has grown quite unaccustomed to hearing noise from Democrats’ side of the fence.

Beto v. Bernie: Let the battle begin

A fascinating struggle is emerging within the Democratic Party between an old warhorse and a rising young political stallion.

It’s the Beto-Bernie brouhaha. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont — who’s actually an independent who caucuses with Senate Democrats — is trying to fend off the surge of support being shown for Beto O’Rourke, the West Texas congressman who came within a whisker of knocking off Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 midterm election.

Let me be candid: I am not feeling the “Bern.” Sen. Sanders fought hard for the 2016 Democratic nomination, but fell short. He preached a one-page sermon: too few people have too much wealth and he wants to take some of that wealth away from the rich folks; he calls it “income inequality.”

O’Rourke’s message is good bit more comprehensive. He speaks to an array of progressive issues: immigration reform, education reform, environmental protection, and yes, income inequality.

I’m not convinced either man should run for president in 2020, but if given a choice, I’m going to roll with Beto.

Sanders is trying to undercut Beto’s surge.

As NBC News reports: The main line of attack against O’Rourke is that he isn’t progressive enough — that he’s been too close to Republicans in Congress, too close to corporate donors and not willing enough to use his star power to help fellow Democrats — and it is being pushed almost exclusively by Sanders supporters online and in print.

That is precisely another point that frustrates me about Sanders. He is unwilling to reach across the aisle. O’Rourke, who has served three terms in the House from El Paso, has shown an occasional willingness to work with Republicans rather than fight them every step of the way. We need more, not less, of that kind of governance in Washington.

Nevertheless, the intraparty struggle is likely to be just one of many to occur among Democrats as they struggle for position to battle the Republican Party’s nominee in 2020.

I was going to assert that Donald Trump would be that person. However, given all that has happened in the past two weeks or so . . . I am not quite as certain that the president be the one to take the GOP fight forward.