Mick Mulvaney, budget director for the Donald Trump administration, has sounded a serious alarm bell.
He has told Republican faithful that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas could lose his attempt at being re-elected. He said Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke poses a serious threat to the Cruz Missile (my description, not his … obviously).
How does one take this? Is it an attempt to gin up support among Republicans who until now had been sitting on their hands? Or is it a legitimate concern from a key Trump aide who think one of the GOP’s once-safest seats might be in serious jeopardy?
I cannot assess the motive behind Mulvaney’s assessment.
I’m not close to any political movements these days. I rely on what I see and hear in the media, or what I see on the street as I make my way through life.
I keep hearing about O’Rourke’s astonishing welcome in the Texas Panhandle, where I used to live. I hear about all the O’Rourke lawn signs showing up in tony old-money neighborhoods — such the Wolflin neighborhood in Amarillo — where residents have traditionally voted Republican.
Here, in Collin County, I’m not yet seeing evidence of this O’Rourke phenomenon. I drive through neighborhoods and I see a smattering of O’Rourke lawn signs, but nothing like the volume I hear about cropping up in Amarillo. I will add, though, that Cruz signs are quite rare, so perhaps there’s some anecdotal evidence of an O’Rourke “surge” in the final two months of the Senate campaign.
Yes, I have seen the polls. The race appears to be a dead heat. There remain, though, a large body of undecided voters, or at least those voters who aren’t yet ready to tell pollsters how they intend to vote. They remain the big prize awaiting to be lured either by Cruz or O’Rourke political machines.
Back in Washington, the budget director says Cruz could lose this contest.
I hope he’s right.