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Beto O'Rourke; the Lone Star Democrat Who Just Might Unseat Ted Cruz

This once looked like a safe seat for Republicans, but Democrat Beto O'Rourke is making his Texas Senate race with Ted Cruz competitive. Two recent polls show that he is within single digits of Cruz, and the latest poll from Texas Lyceum has him within the margin of error. Still, a Democrat has not been elected to the Senate from Texas in 20 years, so an O'Rourke victory would be momentous. But, if there really is a "Blue Wave" in November, it's now quite conceivable that he could unseat Cruz.

O'Rourke started the race as a little-known Congressman from El Paso, but he has been a passionate and tireless campaigner, visiting all 254 counties of Texas, often taking time to walk the streets and campaign door to door. And he is challenging Texans to reexamine their views on many controversial issues:

Town and Country: "He’s also testing whether the gun control debate can resonate in one of the most heavily armed states in the country. And whether the opposition’s build-the-wall mantra might backfire in the state with the longest border with Mexico. He’s preaching climate change legislation in a state where the economy is dominated by oil and energy companies."

His message has resonated with Texans across the state; last quarter he collected about 10 million dollars, twice what Cruz brought in, and without accepting PAC contributions. But it's not just his message; its his optimism and the positive way he connects with voters. He is the antithesis of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump and many in Texas compare him to Jack and Bobby Kennedy.

Town and Country: "Like that of the Kennedys, O’Rourke’s oratory is often focused on appealing to the hopefulness of the electorate. His brand is not a polarizing one, it’s one of toothy grins, self-deprecating jokes, and uplifting rhetoric. It’s a message that can seem out of place in the current era. He almost never mentions Donald Trump (though he has said Trump is not fit to serve) or even Cruz"....

..."O’Rourke is rarely downbeat, but on this night he was particularly upbeat. His arm motions are often aggressive—he jabs with his fingers, waving his hands like a conductor—to punctuate his staccato speaking cadence. On this night he was even more frenetic than usual."

"He went through the things he loves about his hometown: the multicultural flavor of the city; that El Paso shares so much with Ciudad Juárez, the Mexican city across the border; the way the Rio Grande, in his view, links the two cities rather than separating them. “We are the Ellis Island for much of the Americas—or maybe, better put, Ellis Island is the El Segundo, the El Paso, for the rest of the world.”

Town and Country has a wonderful profile of O'Rourke here.


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