According to the latest statewide poll (by Emerson polling), Texas Senator Ted Cruz leads the unheralded Democratic Representative from El Paso, Beto O’Rourke, by just one percent. In the fight for control of Congress in the 2018 midterm elections, the thought of Texas going Democrat seemed impossible just months ago. Can it really happen? Can a liberal Democrat – whose positions on border control, illegal immigration, tax cuts, national defense, abortion, and energy are more in line with Massachusetts than Texas – actually win the Lone Star State? The short answer is yes. He can. But will he?
First, let’s consider the three things O’Rourke has going for him . . .
1. Ted Cruz is not seen as particularly likable.
2. Beto O’Rourke is charismatic and likable.
3. No one knows where O’Rourke stands on the issues. (And that is by design.)
What should matter to voters is where the two candidates actually stand on the issues. If voters take an honest look at the issues, Cruz will be fine. Consider a few examples of O’Rourke’s far-left positions.
O’Rourke is pro-abortion. He said in a February, 2015 interview that he favors legal abortions without exception.
2. Voter ID
The Representative opposes voter ID. He said in a speech in June, 2014 that making voters prove they are actual citizens suppresses the vote (though he favors ID for access to airline flights).
3. Statehood for the District of Columbia
In January of 2015, O’Rourke said he favors statehood for the most liberal district in America. Of course, the political ramification is that this would guarantee two more Democratic U.S. senators.
4. Gun control
O’Rourke has voted in line with Nancy Pelosi. Enough said.
5. Tax cuts
O’Rourke opposed the Trump tax cuts that have stimulated the economy and put thousands of dollars back into the pockets of average Americans.
Mr. O’Rourke supports Obamacare in its entirety.
7. Homeland security
The young Congressman opposes the border wall and supports a reduction in spending for the national defense, according to his own statements of October, 2013.
O’Rourke supports the DREAM Act and opposes expulsion of illegals according to his campaign of November, 2012.
Rep. O’Rourke supports the Bernie Sanders plan of raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. This would, of course, lead to massive layoffs, as has occurred everywhere this has been tried. (Ask Seattle how it’s working up there!)
On each of these nine issues, Sen. Cruz is in line with the majority of Texas voters. But the Democratic base is fired up. So what will happen? The national Republican Party will start to spend heavily in Texas. They will do all they can to put the focus on O’Rourke’s out-of-touch policies. Meanwhile, O’Rourke will make Cruz the focus. He will portray himself as the real Texan. He will run on charisma, not issues.
So who will win? My guess is that policy will trump personality. And that’s good news for Ted Cruz. So the final tally?
Ted Cruz – 51%
Beto O’Rourke – 47%
Minor candidates – 2%