Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz are finally set to debate Friday night in Dallas. In the critical midterm, the race appears to be one of the closer ones. Though Texas is heavily Republican, O’Rouke is nonetheless gaining steam. As a result, Democrats are investing a lot of time and energy trying to flip Texas blue. However, this appears to be a near impossibility.
Admittedly, O’Rourke is fairly moderate, compared with other Democrats. But in the state of Texas, he still leans too far to the American left to gain enough acceptance. A Texas Tribune poll stated that immigration and border security are the most important issues to Texas voters. As a majority are also Republicans, they generally are strict on both matters. O’Rourke simply does not have the policy record to satisfy these voters.
O’Rourke vs. Cruz on the Issues
Cruz has expressed a firm stance on the border. But on the other hand, O’Rourke has voiced a desire to provide healthcare and lawyers for illegal immigrants. The statement, in an interview with Tucker Carlson, is available here. O’Rourke has also voted against body armor for border patrol officers, arguing that the border has “never been safer”. He even has discussed abolishing ICE, an unpopular idea among Republicans. Thus, O’Rourke will be at odds with the desires of the many conservative Texans who favor increased border security.
O’Rourke also does not have a very strong record protecting gun rights. The National Rifle Association recently gave O’Rourke an F rating on the issue. He then tweeted about the ranking, remarking he has never taken a dollar from them. Cruz was able to retweet him, saying in an interview, “How many times do you get to retweet your opponent?” The incumbent received an A+ from the NRA.
Texas comes in at #18 in the states with the most registered guns per capita, weighing in at 588,969. However, recent data suggests there are more guns than people in the United States. So, the figure in Texas is probably a very strong underestimate. The fact, then, that O’Rourke favors fun control will likely scare some Texans into voting for Cruz.
One of the biggest issues with O’Rourke’s campaign is his desire to “eventually achieve universal healthcare.” Cruz, on the contrary, has repeatedly made his stance clear, saying that healthcare isn’t a right, and is best left up to the private sector. Texas has some of the lowest taxes in the country, and O’Rourke has implied his opposition to raising federal income taxes. But in order for universal healthcare to exist, it is very likely that other senators would propose tax hikes. As a result, O’Rourke may be forced to choose between these two beliefs. In either situation, he would not become a popular figure for a large portion of his fanbase.
While O’Rourke seems to be gaining momentum, he has yet to win a single poll against Cruz. And a few years ago, Wendy Davis showed some of these same numbers and momentum against Governor Abbott, whom she lost to in a landslide. So, it appears that Beto O’Rourke does not have much of a path to victory, and Texas will remain under Republican senatorial control.
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