North Texas Daily

Texas is not ready for Beto O’Rourke’s leadership

Texas is not ready for Beto O’Rourke’s leadership

Texas is not ready for Beto O’Rourke’s leadership
June 25
15:00 2021

Beto O’Rourke first rose to popularity when running for U.S. Senator against incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. Using his ability to draw large crowds and use social media platforms to his advantage, O’Rouke garnered the support of millions of Texans. Running as a Democrat with a grassroots campaign that pledged not to accept PAC funds as a sign that he would work for no one but his future constituents, made him a very popular candidate — not only in Texas but all over the United States.

Losing to Cruz by 214,921 votes, it became one of the closest races for the Texas Senate in decades, leaving his supporters asking what was next. In short, he unsuccessfully ran for president. It was a short-lived campaign, but it showcased his beliefs and the kind he would implement in a role of leadership.

Today we can find O’Rourke on a completely different mission in Texas. His goal? Getting people registered to vote and saving democracy.

Stopping in Denton on June 7 at North Lakes Park, he rallied a crowd of over 200 supporters and some opposition. There he met with people from all over Denton County including university students. While speaking on his plans to get voters registered and educated, Trump supporters rallied around the park honking their horns and screaming at the crowd.

Staying calm and collected, O’Rourke served as a reminder for everyone there are going to be a lot of people trying to intimidate and suppress the vote in Texas.

“If that guy is though, we’ve got to be tougher,” O’Rourke said. “Every time the Trump train honks its horn, a voter gets registered in Denton County, right? That’s the way to do it.”

He currently isn’t running for any political office, but he hasn’t ruled out running for governor in 2022. Texas Democrats are hoping he considers it.

“I told him that I thought that we needed a strong candidate for governor and he certainly fits that mold.” Texas Democratic Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said. “And that, in my opinion, if anybody could beat Abbott, he could beat him.”

While O’Rourke has a relatively scandal-free track record and has maintained the same position on several key issues such as criminal justice reform and gun control for years, running for governor should be the last thing on his mind. Running after losing both his senate and presidential (which was a long shot) bids would be ill-timed.

He can draw in crowds and he has risen to popularity in Texas, as evidenced by the nearly 5 million votes he garnered against Cruz in 2018, but it is going to be a while before many Texans vote for a man who said he would take their AR-15s or AK-47s.

If he ran for governor this upcoming election, he could tarnish his chances of doing so in the future, when Texas is ready for change. As more people migrate to Texas from all over the United States from states such as California and New York, there could be a drastic change in the population’s general political ideologies.

O’Rourke is what a politician should be. You can hardly argue with that when he is traveling all over Texas in the sticky summer heat for no other reason than to register voters and call for unity. But that’s where Texas needs him the most right now. Based on his many rallies around the state, he strongly believes in the power voters have and that it is important now more than ever that we bridge the divide felt nationwide.

Take Stacey Abrams for example. She didn’t win her own campaign for governor of Georgia, but she was the leading force that turned her notoriously red state blue in 2020. She organized with other elected officials and activists all over Georgia to get people registered to vote. Most of them were “disengaged voters of color.” Thanks to this effort in the state of Georgia, President Joe Biden won by less than 1%. In addition, Georgia elected both Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock to the U.S. Senate. This alone could really bring in the change that the state of Georgia needs for its constituents.

It is not glamorous work. It does not come with a fancy title, but if anyone can do this for the state of Texas, it is Beto O’Rourke.

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

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Tania Amador

Tania Amador

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