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Morning Briefing: On the Whole, Texas Ain't Right in the Head

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | October 11, 2018 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | October 11, 2018 |


Besides my current hometown of Portland (Maine), Austin, Texas may be my favorite city in the world, and if I were the wealthy type with no kids, I’d totally live in Austin during the winter months (I cannot do Texas heat anymore). It’s an amazing, progressive city, and there are a lot of progressives in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, El Paso, etc. But that is a big-ass state, and while it might be trending purple, it’s probably got another decade or more before it gets there.

That said, the top of my list of wishes for 2018 is for Beto O’Rourke to defeat Ted Cruz and take his Senate seat. No single thing in 2018 would make me happier, and I hope it happens. The fundamentals certainly benefit O’Rourke. Cruz is a lousy candidate, and the climate favors Democrats. I saw in the NYTimes yesterday that there is even a quiet pocket of evangelical women who prefer O’Rourke to Cruz, although their husbands don’t allow them to speak about it, which kind of tells you all you need to know about the uphill climb for O’Rourke in a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat in a statewide election since the ’90s.

I hope like hell that the Democrats can ramp up their turn-out machine and that the vast swaths of Texas who haven’t voted in past elections turn out this year. However, I saw a Q Poll today that illustrated the real problem for Beto O’Rourke: Ted Cruz has 52 favorability rating compared to O’Rourke’s 45 percent favorability rating.

That, folks, is not an O’Rourke problem. That’s a Texas problem. Anyone who genuinely likes Ted Cruz more than Beto O’Rourke is just fundamentally not right in the head, and there is nothing that can be done about that. You can certainly hope that more people who like O’Rourke show up to the polls, but there is nothing you can do to convert a Cruz supporter into an O’Rourke supporter. Some people just prefer Brussels sprouts to pizza, and apparently, in Texas, there are a lot of those people, and there’s not a goddamn thing that can be done about it. You can show them the best pizza in the world, and they’re still gonna say, “Naw. I’ll take these wrinkly, dried up Brussels sprouts instead.”

This is the fundamental problem with the Senate, too. There are more Democrats in America, but they’re concentrated in the cities, and frankly, there are just more Red States than Blue States, and the more polarized we become, the more entrenched in their colors those states get. Democrats are probably not going to be able to take back the Senate until the demographics shift more in places like Texas or Georgia (which is rapidly shifting). Virginia used to be a moderately red state and now it’s a dark purple state, but that’s because the demographics of that state shifted. Now that has to continue happening in places like Texas and Georgia, which is exactly what Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions are trying to prevent through their crackdowns on immigration, voter suppression, and the prison system.

Point being: I want O’Rourke to win more than anything, but if he does not, that is not his fault. It’s not his campaign’s fault. It’s not the fault of thousands of his amazing supporters. It’s the fault of a state that looks at Ted Cruz and thinks, “Yeah, that’s a good guy.”

— Meanwhile, those of you in states with big midterm elections probably find yourselves incapable of escaping election ads. I watched Good Morning America this morning for about 20 minutes, and it was about 70 percent election ads, and the Democrats are really hammering Republicans on health care. Specifically, they’re going after Republicans over pre-existing conditions. That’s a winning fight, and something we should all be promoting more. Republicans are suddenly like, “Oh shit! This is a problem!” And now they’re introducing bills trying to protect pre-existing conditions, or talking about friends or family members who suffer from pre-existing conditions.

Don’t buy it.

Trump and the Republicans tried to remove Obamacare. Trump and the GOP are the ones who have gutted Obamacare. Trump and the Republicans are the ones who have just allowed these crappy health insurance plans to come out, many of which don’t cover pre-existing conditions, and which are designed to entice many off of their normal healthcare plans with cheaper premiums, which is great … until they get sick. Or get a preexisting condition, in which case they are f**ked.

More than Mueller, more than Kavanaugh, this needs to be the primary talking point between now and November. The GOP spent six years passing laws to overturn Obamacare. If not for McCain, they would’ve been successful. And they would have used that money to fund bigger tax cuts for the wealthy — hell, they did pass those tax cuts. They just put them on the credit card, instead. But eventually, cuts to Medicare and Medicaid will have to be made to pay for those tax cuts. Democrats are the only ones who can stop it.

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