The Endorsement Of Beto O’Rourke

The Senate races garnering the most attention (including mine) going into Election Day are the closely contested ones. The Democrats have to net two in order to take back the chamber which considering the numbers and states will be difficult. An upset win would go a long way to help the cause; and one in Texas would be particularly sweet.

If Robert “Beto” O’Rourke could knock off Republican incumbent Senator Rafael “Ted” Cruz it would vanquish one of the most dangerous and hatred (by both political parties) members of the Senate transforming Cruz from a legitimate presidential contender to the new Rick Santorum who will run every cycle with no chance of winning as long as he can sucker somebody into bankrolling his candidacy.

According to the most recent credible polling I have seen Cruz’s lead is just north of the margin of error. The demographic are such that I feel Texas will turn blue in the not too distant future but I don’t think 2018 is the year. Remember I also felt pretty certain that Hillary Clinton would beat Donald Trump in 2016. While an O’Rourke victory would be a legitimate upset; it is within the realm of possibility. Why do you think the Republicans, very much including in Texas, have worked so hard on voter suppression? There is also some evidence of Russian interference in Texas in 2016. Why would 2018 be different? A huge Democratic turnout coupled with a depressed Republican turnout could be the difference. One of the many things progressives find attractive about O’Rourke is that he loves retail campaigning. A Democratic pickup in Texas is somewhat of a longshot, but not a pipe dream.

O’Rourke graduated from Columbia and has been in the House since 2013. He is a centrist with a lot of liberal stances. It’s Texas; Bernie Sanders isn’t going to be able to win there.

O’Rourke has a pro-choice voting record that has won him 100 ratings from both Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

As part of his general philosophy of equality for all humans he has a great record on LGBT issues.

Beto (a nickname he has had since early childhood – it is a common Spanish nickname for Robert) favors the legalization of cannabis since he feels the war on drugs has been a total failure and is unwinnable. While I personally do not use the product and in fact hate the smell of it, I agree with O’Rourke on policy and for largely the same reasons. Legalize it, control it much like beverage alcohol and tax it. It becomes an income source instead of a societal cost.

Coming from a border state O’Rourke has a more accurate understanding of immigration than most Americans. He is in favor of comprehensive immigration reform that protects the Dreamers, wants to modernize our visa system to match the needs of business and a fair path to citizenship.

America has a gun culture and few states better illustrate that than Texas. Still Beto advocates for common sense regulations including, universal background checks and a ban on automatic weapons. He took part in the House sit-in for gun legislation and when the Republicans cut off the C-SPAN cameras he showed the world what was happening via social media.

On the all-important topic of health care O’Rourke is a practical progressive’s dream. He has been a consistent defender of Obamacare. He has a Sanders’ philosophy that health care is a human right, not a privilege. His goal is universal health care and is willing to entertain various proposals on how to get there.

It is impossible to link him to Nancy Pelosi in what appears to be the 2018 GOP strategy of desperation. Albeit a meaningless vote, he voted for Tim Ryan not Pelosi for Speaker in 2017.

A true steward of the environment Beto supports the funding and independence from politics of the EPA and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

He believes in the value and equality of all humans. He detests and fights racism, bigotry, xenophobia and homophobia.

O’Rourke has taken on the biggest problem in contemporary American politics: the influence of money. He has refused to take any PAC donations. He also introduced the No PAC Act (H.R. 1743).

His post-secondary education policy is great and addresses problems few candidates are willing to. He supports not only 4 year degree programs but the role community colleges and trade schools can play. He advocates programs where young graduates could exchange service in hard to recruit to areas for student debt relief. He is one of the few candidates willing to recognize the problem the high cost of post-secondary education is.

Having recently lived in a rural county (and still caring about it) I especially relished Beto’s stance on expanding broadband access to the vastly underserviced rural areas. Imagine the good a modern day version of the Rural Electrification Project could do for rural areas without broadband access and the economy both short and long run.

In another social move with a positive economic impact O’Rourke wants to eliminate private prisons. He also advocates improved mental health availability in our prisons. He advocates bail reform so that we don’t have a backlog of people in jail awaiting trial. Couple this with the decriminalization of some drugs and you will have fewer people in jail (who don’t belong there in the first place) out in society earning a wage, helping support their families and paying taxes. More money going in the “kitty” and less coming out; sounds like a winner to me.

It almost need not be said, but Beto is a defender of Social Security and Medicare and pledges to remain so.

His approach to war, the warrior and the veteran is constitutional and refreshing. Beto believes Congress must stop ceding war making authority to the Executive Branch. Senators and Representatives were elected to make tough calls and taking military action is one of the toughest. He believes that if you send troops into war you have a responsibility to fund, equip and support them. When the warrior returns home as veterans we have a responsibility to help them transition into civilian life. His basic principle is that no vet should go homeless. Even from someone like me who has never worn the uniform I certainly don’t think that is too much to ask.

While an O’Rourke win may be somewhat of a longshot it is certainly a pleasant thought! That is why today endorses Beto O’Rourke for the United States Senate from the state of Texas.

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