As America heads into the midterm elections just 36 days from now, there is no race tighter than that between Texas Senator Ted Cruz, the prude, pained Tea Party politician who rode into office tsking and clucking about family values, and his skateboarding, air-drumming, Medicare For All-supporting challenger Beto O’Rourke.
It is a true microcosm of the so-called culture wars: Cruz, the (extremely) vocal evangelical Christian who occasionally accidentally clicks “like” on porn videos on the internet and is perpetually outraged at the horrors of “what’s become of America,” versus O’Rourke — a man whose mainstream views put him far more in line with the millennial crowd than the boomers who first elected Cruz to office in the election of 2012.
Both men, owing largely to a campaign that has allowed each of them to showcase just exactly who they are on a much bigger stage than simply the election they’re embroiled in would normally permit, are considered exemplary potential candidates for much higher office. Cruz, of course, has run before, and got perhaps closer to supplanting Donald Trump in the 2016 Republican primary than any other candidate.
Beto, however, has been only a US Representative from El Paso, elected the same year as Cruz. And despite the fact that many would consider O’Rourke’s intimate knowledge of both the lyrics to Baba O’Reilly and of the arrangement of Keith Moon’s drum kit to be qualities they never knew they needed in a President, Beto insists that he has no plans to make a run at the White House in 2020.
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We here at Political Tribune can’t help but agree that two terms in the US House don’t necessarily prepare anyone for the Oval Office, although it could be argued that the presidency has been forever changed in terms of what’s necessary to do the job. Beto is resolute. Asked by reporters at Tribune Fest, a gathering put on by the Texas Tribune, the Senate hopeful told them:
I will commit to serving every single day of my full six-year term for the people of Texas.”
That is definitely a fair thing to ask. Voters want a Senator — a politician who takes the concerns of their own state to DC, for consideration in the upper chamber of Congress, who is committed to serving their state. For example, I personally am from Washington state; I would love to see either of my two Senators run for higher office — they’re both smart, accomplished women who have done a fantastic job getting work done during their time in the Senate thus far. But I would far rather raise money for their successor in another Senate race to make sure Washington’s concerns are still looked after than donate to a war chest that will only end up being lugged across the country to the other Washington.
Ted, however, doesn’t seem to care much about what his voters want, and maybe that’s why despite being in traditionally “red” Texas, he’s in a statistical dead heat with his liberal challenger.
When the Tribune asked Senator Cruz the same question — “Can you commit to serving out your term?” — Cruz wasn’t ready to commit to literally anything, even an answer:
You know, as we stand here today, the Texas Board of Education is getting ready to vote on a proposal, a recommendation they received, to delete the word ‘heroic’ from the description of the defenders of the Alamo … We should be standing up for who we are as Texans and Americans.”
That’s not an answer. In fact, that’s kind of a non-answer. The kind you give when you want to keep your options open.
Featured image via screen capture