Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) is the Democratic frontrunner to take on “Lying” Ted Cruz (TP-Texas) in 2018. The Texas Observer has an long article on O’Rourke unorthodox campaign and background. O’Rourke stands in stark contrast to the narcissistic, unlikeable and prickly Cruz who seems afraid to be in Texas right now as he has refused to hold a town hall meeting anywhere in the state for months. O’Rourke on the other hand is rolling through Texas shaking hands and making friends. Beto is still unlikely to unseat “Lying Ted”, but he just might make the smug and self-righteous Cruz sweat. That would be worth the price of admission.
If you’re a Democrat and you find yourself running for statewide office in Texas, somewhere along the way you’ve made a wrong decision. A campaign is a two-year hell, and you have a very low chance of winning. If you lose badly, like Wendy Davis, your political life is probably over. Stay on the sidelines, like the Castro brothers, and your time may never come. Either way, you and your party lose. To run, and to commit to it seriously, requires either a sort of blindness to reality or a willingness to sacrifice for the greater good.O’Rourke has a bit of both. On the one hand, he has very little experience with state politics, having skipped from a seat on the El Paso City Council to Congress. He’s unfamiliar with the bitterness and cynicism that pervades party politics in the rest of the state.
But he also feels a certain urgency. Many people believe the whole system of American politics is breaking down, he says. “I know so many people who voted for Trump, and I say, ‘How could you do that? You live in El Paso. You don’t want a wall.’ They’re like, ‘No, I could give a shit about the wall. I just want somebody to blow that place up. That place is so fucked up and corrupted, and it is a swamp, and that’s the first guy who I know could care less about the system.’” In his own way, O’Rourke is trying to blow up the system, too. When he describes his reasons for doing so, it becomes clear that the campaign is a sort of personal crusade.
“I think that your successor 500 years from now is going to be writing about us the way that we write about the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages,” he tells me. “It’s just so corrupt, in the same way that they were selling bishoprics and indulgences to shorten your time in purgatory. We’re selling votes. We’re selling amendments. We’re selling democracy, and it’s absolutely disgusting. But what makes it even more fucked up is that everybody knows that it’s happening, but it’s just what has always happened for so long now that it’s all-encompassing in the system. No one seems really willing to do anything that will compromise their ability to be successful in that system by stepping out of it.”
As readers know, Red has tried to guess the bottom for Trump on a national scale. Red has figured that 29% approval is about as low as Trump can hit because there are at least that many dead-enders who will convince themselves they are satisfied with this Reality TV Show Joke of a Presidency no matter what happens. What Red never figured on happening was attempting to guess how low Trump would go in Dark Red Texas. But even DRT is souring on the bombastic and ill-prepared Trump as leader of the land. Turns out that Texans may not be quite as willing to follow Trump to the bottom as previously suspected. Red doubts this will have any impact on state-wide elections in 2018 with the possible exception of Sen. Ted Cruz (TP-Texas) whose presidential campaign and subsequent toadying towards Trump (who directly defamed his wife and father) and current refusal to meet with constituents have revealed Ted as a craven coward interested in nothing but the greater glorification of all things Ted Cruz. The remainder of Texas Repubs are waiting around for a Democrat to show up and get pummeled.
Texas Monthly reports that Trump is now under water in the last bastion.
According to a new Gallup poll measuring the average job approval rating over his first six months in office, only 42 percent of Texans approve of his performance. Texas is among 31 states across the country where the majority of poll respondents disapprove of the job Trump has done since the election, according to CNN. And the Lone Star State is one of ten other states where Trump’s approval rating has flipped after voting for him in November, joined by Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and North Carolina. The only states with a larger net loss than Texas are Michigan and North Carolina, and Texas is tied with Indiana for the biggest gap between Trump’s margin of victory in November and his net job approval—a difference of eighteen points.
From the Annals of Democracy – In 1919, the Texas Senate ratified the 19th Amendment which granted women the right to vote. The amendment had been sent to the states for ratification earlier in June. On June 23, the Texas House had ratified the amendment on June 23. Texas women had already achieved the right to vote in primaries in 1918 which was tantamount to voting in the general election in most parts of the state. Texas was the first Southern state to ratify the amendment and the ninth overall. Woman suffrage had been considered in Texas as early as the Constitutional Convention of 1868. After years of near dormancy, the Texas Equal Suffrage Association, a state chapter of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, led the fight for suffrage beginning in 1913.
Amazingly, Red knows several Neanderthals who still think women shouldn’t be voting. You can probably guess who they voted for in 2016.
Politico reports that Texas Republican Congressman Mike McCaul (more or less of Austin – although with his heavily gerrymandered district it’s hard to pinpoint an epicenter) has reported approximately 7,300 stock transactions in an array of industries over a two-year period. McCaul is reportedly the first or second wealthiest member of Congress with an estimated net worth of almost $300,000,000. Yet, that aint enough apparently. McCaul and his family are voracious stock traders bent on acquiring even more money and creating a potential ethical quagmire as McCaul surely must be voting on matters that affect his personal wealth. Red foolishly thinks that a Congressman should actually pay attention to the business of the nation more than his own pocketbook.
Now don’t get Red wrong here. Red admires McCaul as someone who got rich the old-fashioned way. He married well. Most of McCaul’s wealth is held by his wife, Linda McCaul, the daughter of Clear Channel Communications CEO and founder Lowry Mays. His skyrocketing overall net worth appears to be the product of generational wealth transfer. If only Red had been so smart he too could have been busy carrying water for his corporate masters in D.C. in his spare time after he finished his day-trading.
It’s actually less than Red might have guessed. Apparently, only about 25-30% of the French (right at 35% of the 75% or so who voted) were actually willing to vote to return to the good old days of racist xenophobia, closing of borders, insularity and withdrawal from the larger economic world. Well, that’s France’s loss. But could it turn into a gain for Texas?
Red estimates that in Texas, Marine Le Pen would have gotten well over 50% of the vote based on her platform designed to appeal to the far right. A weenified and elitist proto-liberal banker and economic policy wonk who is married to a much older woman would have a tough time cracking 35% in deep Red Texas. She would have stomped Macron in Texas. He wouldn’t know what hit him – only that it hurt.
So MLP, here’s the deal. You want to actually get elected to something? Red has it all worked out for you. As Red sees it, yYou’re still relatively young and pretty good-looking and have a view that the majority of Texans just might take a cotton to (you would need to learn what that means – but Red is ready to help you). Give up on France, move to Fort Worth, work on your drawl, get some blue jeans and cowboy boots, get naturalized and in 5 years run for Governor on a secure the borders (by that Red means those with New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana) and secessionist platform. You might just pull it off. Red guaran-damn-ties you that you will pull in more than 35%.
YES! la Texas
Red really enjoyed the Town Hall meeting hosted by Sen. Ted Cruz (TP-Texas) the other day. He especially liked the part where the Junior senator – that our President formerly referred to as “Lying” Ted – never showed up. That’s because everyone wins when Ted doesn’t post. Cruz gets to avoid angry constituents who have come to realize that Ted is all about the greater glorification of all things Ted Cruz and that he really couldn’t give a crap about the state he supposedly represents. For Cruz, being a senator is not about doing your job, it’s all about have a platform for his overweening ambition. The constituents themselves are winners too, because they get to avoid actually having to be in the presence of the odious Cruz – who just might be the most obnoxious human being Red has ever met. So it’s really a win-win situation when Ted fails to interact with the good folks he is supposed to represent.
Meanwhile, Cruz has had plenty of time this month to visit the Peterbilt factory in Denton and the Daikin plant in Waller where he gets to bloviate before a captive audience that is unlikely to pose any challenge. So Cruz is capable of getting out and meeting people in Texas – he just wants to be able to control the narrative and not have to face people who might challenge him. This brilliant guy who was able to take on the toughest questions from some of the brightest legal minds on the Supreme Court and other Courts of Appeals is somehow incapable of dealing with us average folks who just might not agree with his Tea Party nonsense. Trump was wrong – he’s not “Lying” Ted he is “Chicken” Ted.
From the Annals of the Halls of Congress – In 1913, Sam Rayburn of Windom took the oath of office as a member of the United States House of Representatives. Mr. Sam, as he was known, was to serve in Congress from the presidency of Woodrow Wilson until that of John F. Kennedy. Rayburn rose to majority leader in 1937 and was elected Speaker of the House in 1940. He remained Speaker until his death in 1961. Rayburn was a master politician who helped negotiate the Roosevelt-Garner ticket in 1932 backing his friend John Nance Garner for Vice-President. He worked tirelessly to pass New Deal legislation and as chairman of the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee in the 1930s he oversaw legislation that established the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. He worked closely with Senate majority leader Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1950s and Texas benefitted greatly from have the two pillars of power working in D.C. Rayburn was married only briefly and said that his greatest regret was not have a tow-haired son to take fishing. The Sam Rayburn Reservoir and several schools in East Texas are name after Mr. Sam. He was the longest serving Speaker in U.S. history.