Beto O’Rourke? More like Bae-to O’Rourke, with how enamored people are with him across the country.
Recently, I committed to this whole “living in Texas” thing and with that I’ve been acquainting myself with one Beto O’Rourke from El Paso, Texas. People seem to like this man a little bit, many folks have signs for him in their yards and on their cars. This indicates to me (along with a conversation with Kelby Wingert) that this Beto guy is kind of a big deal. In challenging incumbent Ted Cruz, Beto O’Rourke hopes to win the senator race in a state where a democrat has not held that in the time I’ve been alive (a quarter century).
Let me start with the deception of seeing ‘Beto for Senate’ signs all over as I drove through the state. Part of me was glad a person of color was running for Senate in Texas, a state full of people of color not represented by people of color. Being the granola ignorant Coloradan that I am, I did not think to pay attention to Texas politics until I found myself relocated. Beto isn’t quite what I was expecting, considering the people I know from El Paso with stereotypical Latinx names are brownish. Learning more about Beto not only educated me on what he stands for but also made me reexamine some of the biases I may carry in regards to my perceptions of what’s in a name (a discussion for a later time). Folks, Beto O’Rourke is white, so those who subscribe the “white liberalism” track of thought, fear not he’s almost one of you. For those who are white supremacists, one, thanks for reading content written by brown people and two, Beto is almost one of you also. He’s basically a pleaser for all people, as if the governing system of our country were made to non-partisan…but I’m off track about my main point of Beto being white and it throwing me off.
As stated previously, Beto O’Rourke is a democrat. To the conservatives ready to write him off for being liberal, take a step back and look at what he promotes. He’s pretty big advocate for veterans, especially addressing mental health concerns. Also, for you super big Trump supporters, Beto also thinks term limits are important which is impressive for anyone in the government (fun fact, Trump’s platform he ran on included imposing term limits). In his campaigning, Beto seems to be pretty open to speaking with people from different political party affiliations, it’s almost as if he can approach the topic of politics like an adult? And to top if off, he’s not taking campaign donations from big businesses. From what I remember about Trump’s presidential campaign, many big supporters liked that Trump also did not take contributions from big businesses.
In his campaign strategy, Beto connects with people in rural communities all over Texas that get overlooked by folks in major cities in Texas. Being from El Paso, Beto comes from a place of understanding when politicians like Ted Cruz don’t even both campaigning there because they see the opportunity in cities like Dallas, Houston, and Austin (also, most people think El Paso sucks). That understanding probably is a driving force in his success with connecting to people of all political party affiliations all over Texas outside of the bigger cities. From towns in the northeastern part of Texas to border towns to cities, Beto rolls in and tries to connect with the people. I find that admirable, while understanding there is strategy behind it. As a woman and person of color, I don’t feel like he’s necessarily pandering (see Hillary Clinton for the 2016 election when she pandered to Black communities). Beto seems genuine in his outreach because it’s towards all people in Texas.
Currently, Beto seems to hold his own against Ted in the race to senator, though Ted is currently leading. If everyone in Texas voted (no tampering occurred), Beto could win. What a historic moment for Texas should he get it, and not just because of his political party affiliation. Someone from a place like El Paso serving as a senator who earned that spot through grassroots campaigning surely would make some national headlines. Also, the partying in Texas would reach a level worthy of Texas (bring on the Lone Star and tacos).
Speaking of elections! Don’t forget to vote this November, it’s your right so exercise it. You have a voice in who gets to make decisions that impact your community, so use it. Educate yourself about who is running for local office and then vote (also tell your friends to vote) for the person you think will best advocate for the interests of your community.