Some say that there are two definite ways to lose an election in Texas: campaign for abortion or campaign against guns. The Democrats in Texas accomplished the first way to lose in 2014 when Wendy Davis lost the governor’s race to Greg Abbott by 20 points. And now they are postured to lose by the second way, campaigning against guns.
Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic congressman from El Paso, is trying to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in November. He said at an SXSW event on Monday that “There’s no reason an AR-15 should be sold to a civilian.” O’Rourke, who’s not shy about using foul language while campaigning, added: “I have no idea how that polls and I should give a sh*t what the NRA thinks about it.”
Texas is the state where firearm purchases increased by 137 percent between 2000 and 2016. It’s where people are passionate about the AR-15s. Declaring your support of banning the sale of AR-15s might get you raucous applause in a CNN town hall, but it doesn’t play well in Texas.
At SXSW, Beto O’Rourke says there’s no reason an AR-15 should be sold to civilians. “I have no idea how that polls and I should give a shit what the NRA thinks about it.
— Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone) March 10, 2018
There has not been a Democratic winner in a statewide election in 24 years in the Lone Star state. Statewide polls found that many more Texans oppose an assault weapons ban than favor it, including an overwhelming majority (78 percent) of Republicans. And nearly one in four Texans admits that they or a member of their family is a member of the NRA.
O’Rourke isn’t even doing that well within his own party. In last week’s primary elections, he underperformed and only scored 61 percent against two unknown opponents. He had spent $4.2 million on the primary. His opponents Edward Kimbrough spent just $785 and Sema Hernandez spent nothing, and they took 103 of Texas’ 254 counties.
So O’Rourke’s chances against Cruz look slim to none.
A close observer of Texas politics noted that O’Rourke’s unimpressive showing has more to do with Texas Democrats than the candidate himself. In fact, he has become somewhat of a media darling nationally.
Rolling Stone ran a profile with the headline: Beto O’Rourke: Ted Cruz’s Punk-Rock Problem. And Vanity Fair wrote: “Meet the Kennedyesque Democrat Trying to Beat Ted Cruz.”
One writer said that O’Rourke is largely a projection of what national Democrats wish were true.
John Daniel Davidson wrote: “They wish that banning semi-automatic rifles had widespread support in Texas. They wish that voters were credulous enough to blame gun violence on the NRA. They wish that their agenda of maximum identity politics and massive government intervention were broadly popular with the American electorate. That is, they wish much that isn’t so. As they say in Texas, if you’re riding ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there.”
Credit: The Federalist