Beto Faces An Uphill Battle In Texas

Beto Faces An Uphill Battle In Texas

Texas Governor’s Race: Can the former congressman from El Paso beat Governor Greg Abbott in 2022?

tippinsights Editorial Board

"Read my lips: no new taxes!" roared George Bush 41 at the Republican National Convention in 1988. But, as President two years later, Bush agreed to increase existing taxes in the largest tax increase in American history. Even a 91% popularity rating after winning the first Gulf war wasn't enough to reelect him. Bush soundly lost to Bill Clinton in 1992, 168-370 in the electoral college.

On Monday, another Texan, Beto O'Rourke, who, like Bush, served in the House of Representatives, announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination to unseat the Republican Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott. While Bush's words were far more emphatic, O'Rourke's pledge to a Politico reporter may come back to haunt him.

Two weeks before O'Rourke dropped out of the 2020 Democratic nomination for President, he confidently said "No" to David Siders of Politico when asked if any other political office - such as Texas governor - might appeal to him. "I can't tell you all the reasons why. I just can't even imagine."

Texas Democrats are so hungry to dethrone Abbott that they will likely excuse O'Rourke's flip-flop. In O'Rourke's first statewide campaign against Republican Senator Ted Cruz in 2018, the Democrats finally found a star. Young, dynamic, and often clad in jeans, O'Rourke was a crowd puller at stump speeches. He never forgot to remind his audience that he drove to all 254 Texas counties. That was, by itself, an impressive record given Texas's size. Fifteen of the smallest states can fit into Texas with room to spare.

Democrats are now betting that changing demographics will help O'Rourke's stars. In Frisco, a vibrant, growing suburban area in North Texas, the population of this once-sleepy white-majority community has grown by over 70% in the last decade. The growth mix is crucial to O'Rourke's hopes. The Census Bureau says that nearly 44% of Frisco's population is minority. Asian Americans, in particular, supported him in droves, displeased with Sen. Cruz's conservative record. O'Rourke still lost by three percentage points.

Had O'Rourke gone from that race to now, he may have had a better shot. But O'Rourke entered the 2020 Democratic Presidential contest in March 2019, a year before Covid hit, with much fanfare. He raised a record $6 million in contributions on the day of his announcement, mostly from out-of-state loyalists who had bankrolled him in the senate election.

A lot has changed since then. O'Rourke was a poor 2020 performer and was one of 18 candidates, along with VP Kamala Harris, who suspended his campaign before the first primary vote in Iowa. After the El Paso shootings, his "Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15!" response on Sept. 12, 2019, was a debate gaffe akin to Terry McAuliffe's "I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach" line.

O'Rourke's gun buyback mantra may have earned him accolades with the media elite, but a majority of Texans love their guns. With Governor Abbott signing the permitless carry law, Texans can now carry handguns without licenses or training. The race could well be decided on gun control alone.

Texans are also tired of illegal border crossings. O'Rourke's position on immigration was relatively moderate, but the Democratic party, pressed by progressives, has pushed the issue way leftward.

If O'Rourke embraces his party's position, he will likely lose the Hispanic vote, which is increasingly moving towards the GOP in elections straddling the border. In 2020, Laredo and McAllen increased former President Trump's victory margin by an astounding 23% over 2016. Trump carried Texas by six percentage points in 2020, where he is still popular.

If O'Rourke moves right on immigration, he will get crushed by fellow Democrats. Just ask Julián Castro.

Biden is deeply unpopular in the Lone Star State, Kamala Harris, even more so. No Democrat has won statewide office in Texas since 1990.

O'Rourke faces an uphill battle. An exciting contest is ahead.


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TIPP Takes

Biden Tells Xi That U.S. Remains Committed To 'One China' Policy

Chinese president rebuts American leader's comments on human rights.

U.S. President Joe Biden told Chinese President Xi Jinping that America remains committed to the "one China" policy. Washington recognizes and has formal ties with Beijing rather than Taipei.

Biden also warned that "United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."

But Xi reiterated Beijing's line that it is prepared to take Taiwan by force.

"We are patient and willing to do our utmost to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification with the utmost sincerity," Xi said, according to state media. The Chinese president warned that if "Taiwan independence" forces provoke the issue or even cross the red line, the mainland will have to take decisive measures.

President Biden also raised concerns about China's practices in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong and human rights more broadly.  He discussed the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific and reiterated how freedom of navigation and safe overflight was important to the region's prosperity.

Xi also hit back at Biden's comments on Beijing's human rights record.

And rather than politicizing COVID-19, Xi said both countries should instead set up a cooperative mechanism to tackle global public health and infectious diseases, referring to suggestions by some in the U.S. that the virus was man-made.

Biden said the two nations must establish "common sense guardrails" and recognize where interests overlap, particularly as they relate to climate change.

In an apparent attempt to bridge the gap between the nations, Biden wore a red tie -- the color of China's flag -- Xi sported a blue tie -- the color of the president's Democratic Party.

Last week's surprise announcement at COP26 that the U.S. and China would cooperate on limiting emissions, followed by the announcement of the Biden-Xi summit, gave a shot of hope to many that a detente of sorts could be on the horizon.


Iran Says IAEA Director To Visit Soon

Iran has presented its case ahead of the nuclear talks.

Director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Mariano Grossi
Director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Mariano Grossi

Two weeks before the world powers and Iran are set to resume the nuclear talks, the United Nations nuclear watchdog will visit Iran "soon," said Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

An article in the administration-run Iran Newspaper presented Iran's positions ahead of the talks designed to get the United States back into the deal it exited in 2018.

The article presented five points ahead of the talks. The first point was that the talks would not be about Iran's missiles, regional policies, or nuclear plans. Rather, it will be about getting back into the JCPOA and nothing more.

The second point is that the United States will have to pay for damages for leaving the JCPOA. The third point is that the United States must remove all sanctions under the Obama and Trump eras. The fourth point is that the removal of sanctions must be verifiable. The fifth point is that the United States must agree to never leave the JCPOA again.


U.S. Slams' Dangerous And Irresponsible' Russian Anti-Satellite Missile Test For Threatening Astronauts Onboard International Space Station

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price described the test as "destructive" at a briefing.

Crew on the International Space Station sheltered in their spacecraft as they passed through the missile's debris cloud. (Supplied: NASA)
Crew on the International Space Station sheltered in their spacecraft as they passed through the missile's debris cloud. (Supplied: NASA)

Anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon tests are rare but have been criticized because of the risk they create for crews in low-Earth orbit.

NASA said U.S. astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer had to take shelter in their docked capsules as the space station passed through the debris field.

James Dickinson, the general in charge of U.S. Space Command, accused Russia of continuing to "weaponize" space.

ASATs are high-tech space weapons possessed by a few nations — only the U.S., Russia, China, and India have demonstrated the ability to shoot down their satellites. India was the last to carry out such a test in 2019, creating hundreds of pieces of "space junk" in a test strongly criticized by other powers, including the U.S.


E.U. Agrees On New Framework For Belarus Sanctions

The European Union's foreign ministers have amended the bloc's sanctions regime to slap new measures against Belarus amid a standoff over migration.

Belarusian Border

The move means that airlines and travel agents are allegedly involved in the standoff at the Belarusian borders with E.U. member states Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania.

E.U. headquarters said the bloc "will now be able to target individuals and entities organizing or contributing to activities by the Lukashenko regime that facilitate the illegal crossing of the E.U.'s external borders." Those affected by the sanctions will be named in the coming days.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc's sanctions would include measures against airlines. "Coming days will be decisive," she told a conference in Munich.

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