Beto O’Rourke is different than most politicians in Washington DC. It may sound mean, but most of the elected people walking the halls of the U.S. Capitol look as though they fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down — with very few exceptions. O’Rourke, a 45-year-old representative from El Paso Texas, has boyish good looks that seem out of place in Washington. He’s the kind of politician who would look comfortable on the cover of Time as well as Vanity Fair.
Those looks and his charm have people opening their checkbooks. O’Rourke announced he raised $6.7 million in the last cycle which is very impressive especially when factoring in that it does not include PAC money that he’s sworn off. O’Rourke draws large crowds everywhere he goes, whether it’s close to his hometown of El Paso or in the suburbs of Tarrant County where conservatism runs deep. Naturally, due to that success, O’Rourke attracts a national following that has him making appearances on Bill Maher and getting write-ups in The New York Times as well as glowing reviews from other writers as well. Unfortunately, too many of them are wish-casting. They want to believe O’Rourke can beat Ted Cruz, the Republican incumbent.
It’s not going to happen.
Frank Bruni has a new piece where he writes the following:
Cruz is a rare and precious gift. He’s so loathed that any passable Democrat with a picayune chance of toppling him was bound to draw more attention and inspire more hope than the political dynamics warranted. While President Trump’s unpopularity endangers his party’s incumbents far and wide and Texas may indeed be getting bluer, the state has been very red for very long. The last time a Democrat won statewide office was 24 years ago.
But Beto is more than passable. Many of his campaign events are mobbed. People line up for selfies and then insist on hugs.
Borne out of ignorance, Bruni’s assessment of Cruz assumes everybody outside the beltway and New York City thinks as he does. Yes, Cruz certainly doesn’t have a sizable fan base in Washington and the press enjoys any opportunity to express their disdain for the man.
But that’s not Texas, and in the Lone Star state, Ted Cruz has more fans aka voters, than O’Rourke. In the March primary, Cruz, running pretty much unopposed, had more votes than O’Rourke and the two other Democratic candidates, combined.
There are swathes of blue voting enclaves in the big city areas of San Antonio, Austin, Houston, and Dallas. That’s the margins. Around the rest of the state, it’s deep red, and that’s where O’Rourke will find he’s not welcome no matter how charming he is, once people learn that he:
- An extremist on abortion. He opposes the 20-week abortion ban
- An extremist on gun control. He recently said the government should ban all semi-automatic weapons that include most firearms sold today
- Supports raising taxes (he voted against the recent tax bill)
- Opposes any border enforcement.
O’Rourke’s policy positions would get him elected in the northeast or California, but for Texas, O’Rourke’s views, not Ted Cruz’s are out of the mainstream. That’s what people like Frank Bruni cannot understand. It is the reason why people were shocked when Texas Governor Greg Abbott easily beat Wendy Davis despite the national attention she drew for her ridiculous filibuster in favor of abortion.
Ted Cruz will likely beat O’Rourke by 8-10 points in the November race. And when it happens, Frank Bruni and the rest of the Acela Corridor press corps will react with shock that Cruz won so handily.
Texans, however, won’t be surprised one bit.