Let’s Talk About Beto

Recently the media has been slamming democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke, but voters still believe he is the best candidate to beat Trump in the 2020 Presidential Election. 

Who is he?

When you google “who is Beto?” you might look through Wikipedia and discover that he served in the House of Representatives from 2013 to 2016, representing Texas in the 16th congressional district. This district is made up of El Paso (a town that sits on the Texas Mexico border) and the surrounding area. Naturally, Beto has strong opinions regarding Trump’s endless talk about “the wall” and other immigration issues, but we will get into that later.

If you read a bit more, you would probably learn that Beto was in a punk rock band in high school, a fact that the press loved to discuss during his race for Senate in 2018, against incumbent Ted Cruz. Cruz won the race by 214,921 votes, 50.9 to 48.3 percent — the closet U.S. Senate race in Texas since 1978.

For those who are not native Texans… you should know that this margin of victory is insane. In Texas, no liberal candidate for Senate has achieved Beto’s level of popularity and voter turnout in the last 30 years. However, Beto did not become a liberal sensation in Texas overnight. He visited all 254 counties in the state while on the Senate campaign trail, and he intends to put in the same amount of work while campaigning for the 2020 Presidential election.

So, who is Beto? He could be your next President, along with over 20 other Democratic candidates, and Trump.

Campaign Fundraising

The amount of money a candidate raises in the first 24 hours of their campaign is often a decent predictor of said candidate’s future success. Beto raised $6.1 million in the first 24 hours of his bid, more than any other Democratic presidential candidate. Bernie Sanders, the previous frontrunner in terms of donations, raised $5.9 million in the first 24 hours.

Furthermore, in the first 18 days of Beto’s official Presidential campaign, he raised 9.4 million dollars. Because Beto announced his candidacy later than other frontrunners, this makes up his donations for the first quarter.

During his Senate campaign, Beto raised roughly $80 million for his race against Senator Ted Cruz, a stunning total that generated a lot of media attention. Based on this impressive grassroots fundraising history, we can expect that Beto will continue rival his opponents in the second quarter.

Hot Policy Issues — Where Does Beto Stand?

Immigration

During Beto’s campaign kickoff, he said the following: “If we truly believe that we are a country of immigrants and asylum seekers and refugees, and they are the very premise of our strength, of our success, and yes, our security, then let us free every single Dreamer from any fear of deportation. Let’s bring millions more out of the shadows and onto a path to contribute to their maximum potential to the success of this country. Let’s not only follow this country’s asylum laws, but let’s make sure that we never take another child from another mother at their most desperate and vulnerable moment. Let us, let us reunite every single one of those families that are still separated today.”

In summary, Beto supports the Dream Act and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, the closing of private immigrant detention centers, and denounces the militarization of the border and “the wall” in general. At a rally in February, Beto said, “we are not safe because of walls but in spite of walls.”

Gun Control

During the 2018 Texas Senate race, Ted Cruz constantly said his opponent was determined to take people’s guns. In reality, Beto is not anti-gun, but he supports universal background checks, magazine size limits, restrictions on some semiautomatic weapons, and he opposes concealed carry.

The NRA gave Beto a horrible rating, and he’s proud.

The Justice System

When Beto was asked about his thoughts regarding criminal justice reform during his 2018 race, he frequently discussed his own criminal record. Beto argued that the charges against him were dismissed due to his race and economic status, so these inequalities became the focus of his criminal justice stance.  

Specifically, in 2018 Beto championed rehabilitation and voting rights once prisoners were released from prison. In addition, “he called for closing private and for-profit prisons, decriminalizing marijuana and expunging the records of people previously convicted of possessing it, eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent crimes, and reforming the bail system so people charged with misdemeanors would not be incarcerated because of their inability to pay.”

In order to understand where Beto stands on an array of specific issues, I looked at the following sources:

The chart below breaks my findings down and compares Beto’s stance on each issue to popular opinion.

Issue

Beto

Popular Opinion

Stricter Gun Laws

Yes

66% of Americans support

Banning ALL Guns

No

10% of Americans support

Banning Military Grade Weapons

Yes

62% of Americans support

Background Checks for Gun Purchases

Yes

87% of Americans support

Magazine Size Limits

Yes

67% of Americans support

It Should be Easier to Immigrate to the U.S.

Yes

49% of Americans support

Abolish ICE

No. Abolishing ICE will not stop problems; instead we should abolish harmful practices (family separation, ect.)

25% of Americans support

43% of Democrats support

79% of Democrats support

End Policy of Separating Families at the Border

Yes

66% of voters support

The most important consideration when sentencing someone for a nonviolent crime is rehabilitation or treatment

Yes

60% of Americans support

Legalizing Marijuana

Yes

62% of Americans support

Eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent crimes

Yes

An Overwhelming Amount of Voters Support; around 75% of Americans

Disapprove of Trump’s Decision to Leave the Paris Climate Accords

Yes, Beto would rejoin

59% of Americans disapprove of the decision

NFL Players Kneeling During the National Anthem

(different than the right to protest in general)

Yes

47% of American voters approve and 47% disapprove

77% of Black voters approve

79% of Democrats approve

89% of Republicans disapprove

Increase of Minimum Wage to $15/hour

Yes

55% of Voters support

Uphold Roe v. Wade

Yes

70% of Americans support

Climate Change is real

Yes

70% of Americans agree


Should Trump be Worried?

In early May a CNN conducted a study, where they asked voters: “If (NAME) were the Democratic Party’s candidate and Donald Trump were the Republican Party’s candidate, for whom would you be more likely to vote?” The results suggest that Beto O’Rourke would beat President Trump in the 2020 election by a staggering 10 points. Voters also preferred Harris, Sanders, and Biden to Trump, but Beto’s lead was unmatched.

Beto said, “a new poll has us beating Trump by 10 points…It’s only possible because you’ve helped us run a grassroots campaign that stays on the road everyday to go everywhere and listen to everyone — not writing anyone off or taking anyone for granted. Proud of what we’re doing together.” Beto is correct. One of the reasons he almost won in 2018 was because he took the time to visit each of the 254 counties in Texas in order to meet voters and explain his policy beliefs. It is possible that if he does the same (and then some) in Iowa and New Hampshire, Beto could win those voters over as well. 

According to the Texas Politics Project, 40% of Texans strongly disapprove and 36% of strongly approve of President Trump. If the general election came down to Trump and Beto, Texas would be in play. The 2018 Senate race showed America that Texas is now a mixed state. So yes, I think Trump should keep an eye out for Beto O’Rourke. 

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