Disclaimer: Yaseen Al-Sheikh, while identifying as an independent politically, is a volunteer for the Beto O’Rourke campaign for U.S Senate in Texas. The following article is an opinion piece and reflects his opinions and his alone.
If you had asked me back in March or April of 2017 if I thought a Democrat from El Paso would be a serious contender for a U.S Senate seat in Texas, I would have likely laughed in your face. Granted though, the same could have been said for then-candidate Donald J. Trump when he announced his bid for the Presidency in June of 2015. His victory on November 8th, 2016 proved to me, and the country, that almost anything can happen in our political system.
With that in mind, the Lone Star Democrat, who represents the 16th congressional district, has run a renegade and unorthodox campaign against Senator Cruz. While it is true that he hasn’t hired experienced advisers, O’Rourke has stayed within the 10-point margin that few Democrats have seen in Texas.
All traditional logic would dictate that a candidate who advocates gun-control and impeachment would be dead at launch in the ruby red state, but Congressman O’Rourke has not tried to shy away from these difficult questions, in fact, he embraces them. Despite Texas’ vehement disapproval of kneeling for the pledge of allegiance, O’Rourke publicly calls it an expression of American free speech.
All of this causes the average voter to ask: why Beto O’Rourke? Why a Texas Democrat over Senator Cruz?
The answer, to me, and to many, is simple: Beto O’Rourke cares about compromise and rejects the politics of despair in favor of embracing the politics of hope and unity. This isn’t just a statement pulled out of thin air, Senator Cruz has a record of not engaging in bipartisanship.
Rather than decrying his opponent as an ultra-conservative, he focuses on the substance of the issues, such as healthcare, immigration, and bipartisanship. This is a sentiment shared not just by many Texas voters, but also journalists who typically lean Republican. The Star-Telegram agrees, The Dallas Morning News agrees, and the Houston Chronicle agrees.
What do all three Texas newspapers have in common? They all endorsed Senator Cruz in his race back in 2012.
We all have, at the very least, felt sorrow over the past week with the news of a series of bombings against Democratic leaders, and the hate-fueled massacre of Jewish Americans in Pittsburgh. This is a time in America in which we need more bipartisanship and positive rhetoric, and when it comes down to it, Senator Cruz does not meet that standard.
For those reasons, Beto O’Rourke is the candidate to vote for in the 2018 Texas Senate race.
For information on how to and where to vote on November 6th, go to https://www.vote.org/