Beto Your Bottom Dollar

Beto Your Bottom Dollar

Texas. Known throughout time for country music, barbeque, big hats, and, beyond all else, tons and tons of Republicans. The absolute mammoth of a political state has doled electoral votes and senatorial victories to Republicans throughout time, but last year, it seemed like it all could have changed. Beto O’Rourke, known for his progressive vision, massive rallies, skateboard tricks, and, beyond all else, when he almost flipped the party stance of Texas as a democratic senatorial candidate. After a southwest road trip, Beto has emerged from his funk, and with a Trump counter-rally on February 11th in El Paso, has announced that he was simply born to run for president.

O’Rourke announced his run for president on Thursday, March 14, by posting a three-minute video on Twitter. The post states, “I am running to serve you as the next president. The challenges we face are the greatest in living memory. No one person can meet them on their own. Only this country can do that, and only if we build a movement that includes all of us.”

In the video, O’Rourke touched upon issues such as climate change, Affordable Health Care, gun control, and the legalization of marijuana.

“We can unleash the ingenuity and creativity of millions of Americans who want to ensure that we squarely confront the challenge of climate change before it’s too late,” O’Rourke stated in the video.

Beto stands as a promising, invigorated figure in politics, leaning to an Obama-like middle on policies while his fellow candidates veer extreme left. Beto’s narrow loss 2018 race against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, has been championed as a victory for Democrats. The fact he had conceded the race by a mere 2.6 percentage points in the deep red Texas not only displays his ability to motivate voters in the face of a massive, historically red state, but the loss clears his schedule to run in the 2020 election, giving progressives looking for an Obama successor a beam of hope. Beto too is relatable, charismatic, and lively enough to motivate grassroots activists and younger voters. O’Rourke’s policy positions have been noticed to bear strong resemblance to those of Obama’s, pushing him to the right of big portions of a Democratic primary electorate. For example, O’Rourke’s comprehensive energy reform and renewable incentives has no defined roadmap to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, like that in the Green New Deal proposed. Another contrast from his fellow candidates, although he aims to offer all Americans universal health coverage, but, he isn’t dead-set on the single-payer, “Medicare-for-all” system most of his fellow Democrats endorse.

His promise as a motivating, promising, less extreme democrat has been received enthusiastically by voters and, of course, donors. O’Rourke raised approximately 6.1 million dollars on his first campaign, approximately 24 hours after his announcement to run for president,  exceeding the funding of other Democratic rivals. Despite this, Bernie Sanders still raised the most money from his donors. There were approximately 128,000 individuals donors for O’Rourke, estimating around 47 dollars per person. Despite some of the negative connotations surrounding O’Rourke, he has demonstrated his strong ability to raise money for his campaign.

Kathryn Zheng (‘20) is on O’Rourke’s campaign and is working on the social media side of the campaign. She helps manage the Twitter account @NJforBeto and also plans on helping with data entry and making calls to voters in the future. Additionally, she signed up to translate texts from English to Spanish. When asked what she thinks what the campaign needs to accomplish in order to advance past preliminaries she said, “He needs to formulate better policy stances. He should clear up his positions on Medicare and universal healthcare in general, combating climate change, and poverty.” Zheng hopes O’Rourke can maintain his momentum by continuing to connect with voters, expanding his media presence, and present himself as a candidate who appeals not only to moderates but also potentially to elements of the further left, which currently hold the greatest distaste for him.