Beto O’Rourke shows that the Democrats may lose the battle, but they’re starting to win the war

The US midterm election campaigns are in full swing, and the race that is possibly getting the most attention in the American media is the Senate race for Texas where, surprisingly for a Republican, the incumbent Ted Cruz is not having it all his way.

Ted Cruz is not exactly a swashbuckling politician

Cruz is not exactly a swashbuckling politician, with one die-hard Trump supporter’s admission to the Washington Post that she likes him “just fine” showing how little he arouses political enthusiasm. He’s not even that popular with Donald Trump, who famously nicknamed him ‘Lyin’ Ted’ when facing him in the Republican primaries for the 2016 US Presidential nomination. Oh, and there was the time that Trump accused Cruz’s father of being involved in the JFK assassination. Of course he did – it’s Trump after all.

American politics’ forgetfulness seems to be getting worse and worse, with Cruz swallowing what pride he does have to become a fully-fledged Trump supporter in the almost two years since the businessman-cum-reality star entered the White House. Long gone are the days of Cruz calling Trump a “pathological liar”, a “narcissist” and “amoral”.

Instead, the Trump machine is actually helping Cruz to try and win a second term in the upper house of the US legislature. Donald Trump Jr. has appeared alongside the candidate at rallies across the state, such seemed to be the worry that Cruz would not be able to enthuse his Republican base enough.

In complete contrast to the Republican candidate is the Democrat, aiming to be the first member of his party to represent Texas in the Senate since 1992.

O’Rourke has enthused progressives in the US like no one has since Barack Obama

Beto O’Rourke is a three-term member of the House of Representatives who seems to be your run-of-the-mill politician at first glance. In reality, he is anything but.

The El Paso native has enthused progressives in the US like no one has since Barack Obama. Like the former President, he is a young, highly intelligent, highly charismatic and hard-working politician running on a campaign of hope. Not quite ‘Yes we can’, but near enough.

He achieved national fame with a thoughtful and nuanced response to a voter question on protests against police brutality, and has become a celebrity figure for the so-called ‘liberal elites’.

For a man who ‘talks the talk’ so well, he also ‘walks the walk’. In an effort to try and win voters round ahead of the election on 6th November, he has visited all of the 254 counties in the state of Texas.

The capability to reach and then inspire potential voters on the campaign trail has meant that he has raised a record amount of campaign funds, some $61 million, without the corporate donations that most American political runs rely on.

With contrasting stories like this, you’d be forgiven for thinking that O’Rourke was about to coast to victory.

However, for all the polls that have been published since the race began he has not been ahead in a single one. Cruz averages around 7 percentage points higher according to and 5% from FiveThirtyEight, a seemingly insurmountable lead with less than three weeks until Texans head to the polls.

As Ted Cruz has recently pointed out, Texas is by nature an ideologically conservative state and that is clear for all to see. As a result, it is more than likely that the money and time spent on this race by O’Rourke and his campaign will not achieve its aim.

At the beginning of this race, a single digit gap in the polls between the two candidates would have been unheard of

But that does not in any way mean that it will have been in vain, at least not in a national context.

At the beginning of this race, a single digit gap in the polls between the two candidates would have been unheard of, Trumpist Republicans seemed to be dominating the political narrative and it looked like Democrats were floundering as the 2020 Presidential campaign comes in to view.

While it seems as though O’Rourke will not actually win his race, he has done something invaluable for anti-Trump Americans by the way his campaign has been run, and how he personally has carried himself.

He’s shown that optimism and integrity are still things the American electorate care about; or at least enough of them to have a chance of winning back the White House in two years’ time.

Featured Image by Inter-American Dialogue via Flickr

1st Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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