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Beto and Julian rally against voter suppression

Good to see after a couple of brutal weeks.

Beto O’Rourke

Democrats Beto O’Rourke and Julián Castro joined forces at the Texas Capitol on Saturday to rally against election reform bills that they called blatant attempts to suppress voters in Black and Hispanic communities.

As statewide elections near, Castro said Republicans in the Texas Legislature are responding with numerous bills aimed at suppressing minority voters.

“We are here today to say ‘No, we will not stand for that,’” the former San Antonio mayor told hundreds of activists who gathered on the south steps of the Capitol less than 24 hours after the Texas House approved an election reform that Democrats have vocally opposed.

O’Rourke, the former El Paso Congressman who is weighing a potential run for governor, said Republicans are focusing on restricting voting when there are much bigger issues facing the state.

“These jokers can’t even keep the lights on, or the heat on, or the water running when the temperature drops in Texas, now they want to take over our elections,” O’Rourke said in reference to the deadly February storms that left millions without electricity.

First of all, that’s a good line. Could use a little tightening up, but it can be applied to a lot of things as we go forward. Maybe if we all make a commitment to starting sentences with “They couldn’t keep the heat/lights on, but they still [did whatever]”, we might get some rhetorical advantage. You have to start somewhere.

Second, I note that the article that is linked to in that penultimate paragraph is one of the stories that ran where the initial headlines were that Beto was not going to run for Governor. Usually since then, the accepted journalistic usage has been something like “has not announced any plans”, or some other variation that suggests Beto is just living his life. This formulation is different, and it leans more in the direction that Beto is actively thinking about maybe running for Governor. Is that based on anything – background chatter, idle speculation from other pundits/reporters, the need for Something To Happen – or is it just a random variation that means nothing? I have no idea. It was just a think I noticed, and it made me raise my eyebrows a bit.

For what it’s worth, and I realize this may become a Freezing Cold Take down the line, I’m inclined to think Beto will in fact run for Governor. I think the fact that he has been extremely tight-lipped about it to this point is a strategic choice meant to keep the focus on what the Legislature has been doing on them and on the Republican leadership. In a world where he was already an announced, or even seriously rumored candidate, he’d be a foil for Abbott and the rest to play off of. Is this a sure thing? No, it’s second-rate tea leaf reading by someone who can easily shrug his shoulders if this turns out to be incorrect. Does this mean Julian Castro is a no go for Governor? No, it just means that I think the (subtle and possibly ephemeral) signs point more towards Beto. They’re not both running for Governor, I’m confident of that. I’ve been Team Julian all along, and if it turns out that he’s taking the plunge this time while Beto warms up for a Ted Cruz rematch (or open seat) in 2024, I’ll happily admit my error.

That’s what I think. Any wagers you place based on this are entirely your responsibility.

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4 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    The ‘can’t keep the lights on’ jab is both warranted, and one I’d use, too. As to Beto running for governor…..if he does, he can’t win, at least not in Texas. He already had his Howard Dean moment, and screaming that he’s gonna take Texans’ guns? Yeah. That’s not going to go well, and you can be sure that at least the Republican nominee (assuming Abbott is primaried) will point that out just as often as Beto points out the Coldpocalypse power failure. Both are valid critiques.

    Castro’s weakness will be from his time as HUD director. We see Biden is going to go for it, to ensure that public housing be built all over the country in formerly nice safe areas. Castro promoted that last go-round, and those coveted suburban white women that hated the boorish loudmouth Trump? They’re not going to like having public housing placed in their neighborhoods, where their own kids play. NIMBY is a real thing, and Castro rightfully will get hung with promoting that. The R challenger won’t let that be forgotten, either.

    I’m hoping the Dian Street, or whatever it’s called, public housing, gets finished before the next election, so the folks in the Heights can get some real world experience with how public housing in their neighborhood actually goes. I’d just move everyone from Cuny Homes directly into the Heights, so they can get the full flavor of diversity, equity, and inclusion, but that’s just me.

  2. Manny says:

    Bill, you predicted that the orange Buffoon would still be president. Do you believe in tooth fairies, Santa Claus, and the Big Lie of the stolen election?

    Of course, you believe in the Big Lie!

  3. policywonqueria says:

    ARE YOU ANTI-MASSACRE ?

    It’s not that Beto’s position isn’t reasonable, the problem is much rather that the reasonable doesn’t necessarily count when it comes to electoral contests.

    There is no doubt that his moderate stance would be distorted to make him look like he is going to take *your* gun away, and that notion won’t help with the electoral prospects in Texas on a statewide level.

    Unfortunately, Beto already used the 2nd person singular in his widely reported “take away” statement instead of out-grouping the gun nuts prone to commit massacres, and denouncing them in the third person.

    The firearms issue will put Beto on the defensive, and that’s a bad starting point.

    BETO, THE STRAIGHT-SHOOTER. WHERE IS HIS LICENSE ?

    Should he decide to run for governor, he needs to signal toughness. If he is up against Abbott, he already has the inherent advantage of being young, dynamic, and not in a wheelchair. Build on that. Flaunt your masculinity!

    Perhaps he could open-carry some hand guns or rifles of his own, or blow up a personal concealed or open-carry license as a backdrop at campaign events. Or have a heavily armed whistle-stop detail with him at all times.

    Alternatively, he could come around and position himself as being pro-gun and pro-gun-safety without props — ie, flip-flop “after considerable reflection” — and drop the rhetoric about tighter controls. — While all the same still coming out as being strongly *anti-massacre*. Who could take issue with that?

    Marginal policy changes, such as enhanced background checks, wouldn’t be overly successful in preventing future shootings anyhow, and are for legislatures to enact. So, if the political will can be mustered for such reforms, the proper venue for action would be elsewhere. Not the governor’s race.

    At the minimum, Beto could shoot some campaign commercials with shootout, or at least bulls-eye, themes. Promoting himself as right on target against mass murderers!

    AMMO FLOW-CONTROL IN LIEU OF “TAKING GUNS AWAY”

    In Texas, there are just too many high-power weapons already out there, and those who have them don’t want to part with them. If Beto wants to go the route of more restrictive regulations nevertheless, he might consider focusing on tighter control of ammo, rather than guns themselves.

    Once the ammo is spent (hopefully at a shooting range), it has to be replaced to maintain killing capacity. Guns themselves, by contrast, are good for decades, if not centuries. Regulating/restricting ammo sale/distribution more strictly going forward wouldn’t require taking anything from anybody. Existing stock in private hands would be grandfathered, and would diminish over time.

    The ammo supply chain would seem to make for a more suitable throttle point than schemes to reduce the number of guns in private hands. An example of the latter would be a buy-back program as implemented in Australia, which could have some beneficial effect on the homicide rate, but would probably be a non-starter in Texas, culturally and politically speaking.

    For more on Australia’s approach, see Library of Congress report at https://www.loc.gov/law/help/firearms-control/australia.php (Firearms-Control Legislation and Policy: Australia)

  4. […] have discussed the Beto situation. This is the first I’ve heard from someone connected with Julian Castro on the topic in […]