Battleground Texas: Could a Democrat really beat Ted Cruz? | Dispatch


On a rainy afternoon in Fort Worth, Texas There’s no denying Old West tradition lives on in this state Just as there’s no denying the long standing enthusiasm here for Republican politicians Chief among them right now Ted Cruz Campaigning hard for re-election to the US Senate With a mix of cowboy hats and those red ball caps in every crowd The last time he ran Cruz walloped his Democratic opponent “God bless, Texas!” He’s one of the highest profile politicians in America And promotes all things Texas like few others This contest should be a breeze but Cruz underlines even in Texas his opponents are rising. “On election day we’re gonna see record shattering Democratic turnout. Now here’s the good news… This is Texas. And in Texas, there are a whole lot more
conservatives than there are liberals.” Still, Cruz urged his backers to step up their game Why? Beto. Beto O’Rourke The upstart Democratic congressman from El Paso who’s aiming at the unthinkable Unseating Ted Cruz “I’m confident that when we see each other not as Democrats or Republicans…” O’Rourke’s ads target Texans who want change “Alright, everybody share this. Beto O’Rourke is on a skateboard.” Famously once videoed of all things
skateboarding outside a burger joint He’s the darling of countless in the
American media “I wanted to meet you right away so thank you for being here.” “Thanks for having me on.” O’Rourke has become a contender. “Thank you and God bless you!” Cruz is ahead in the polls but only just Even if he downplays the narrow gap “Why do you think the race is so close this late in the game?” “Well, you know I’m not sure it is that close. You know, we’ve seen a lot of
momentum coming our way And I think what what has changed — So six months ago there was wall-to-wall
coverage in the press that was just one puff piece after another about Congressman O’Rourke And it was all ‘rainbows and puppies and
Kennedy-esque’ was their favorite adjective And it didn’t discuss any
substance.” “He’s dishonest. That’s why the President called him ‘Blind Ted’ And it’s why the nickname stuck.” The campaign has lately taken a harder edge as the race
tightened Battling over illegal immigration, human rights, health care all of it “If he wants to insult me and call me a liar that’s fine.” But in an increasingly diverse Texas O’Rourke’s views have energized Democrats And not just in urban centers Here, deep in the Republican countryside where in 2016, four of every five voters
cast ballots for Donald Trump Say these women now: “Your vote is your power. Be heard. Vote.” The Trump Presidency must be curtailed For the first time in their lives they’ve turned political Here, finishing off a
mail out to prospective voters “When I put my 4×6 sign up one of my neighbors came
up and he said what are those? And I said, well what do you think? And he said, well are those
Republicans or Democrats? I said David, what do you think?” Inspired by O’Rourke, angry at Trump. They’re urging fellow Texans to reject Ted Cruz Because in turn that weakens the President “We have to do something to stop Donald Trump.” It’s time, says Dana Rushing, for Texans to turn away from the party of Cruz and Trump “I have to because again, my grandchildren are gonna— History is not going to be kind to Donald Trump And when they get older they’re gonna say, well how did you let this happen? How could this happen? And they’re gonna know their grandmother
said it cannot happen I’m gonna do everything I can
to make sure it doesn’t happen anymore.” “Can I count on you to go early? Meanwhile, outside a coffee shop in Dallas Another signal change is afoot Young people, likewise, getting political “Are there any issues preventing you from voting? You press on voting issues.” Raphael Zamora is among those
who signed on with a group called jolt Supporting voters in
Hispanic neighborhoods “Ben Walker?” “Yeah, Democrat.” “Okay.” [Speaking Spanish] Aimed at reversing the typically
low turnout rate for Hispanics on election days “I just came to drop off this
flyer for the November 6th election. These are the representatives that Jolt supports.” For Raphael, a U.S.-born son of Mexican
immigrants, the midterms will be the first time he’s ever voted His message to others like him: A key constituency for O’Rourke “If you’re a young Latino, get out
and vote because your vote really counts.” It’s a view driven by distaste for Donald Trump “What do you think of Trump?” “I think he’s racist and biased towards types of people, types of ethnicity’s He is our president so
I do respect that, I do respect him But I do not agree with his political
views or his moral values And yes, he’s voting for Beto It’s been that kind of year for Texas Democrats “Good morning.” “Good morning!” “Good to see everybody.” Indeed it was nine months ago that CBC News first
caught up with Beto O’Rourke At this low-key breakfast fundraiser in suburban Dallas Who knew “So there is hope that we can do something…” One of the organizers
back then was Chanda Parbhoo These days, Chanda helps out at
events significantly larger such as this one in the Dallas parking lot last weekend “Get people to sign in when they come…” Amid what some call ‘Beto-mania’ “We’re bursting at the
seams like, there is a fever that I can’t…” Chanda can hardly describe it Huge crowds not just at the rallies but throngs waiting for even a glimpse of O’Rourke afterward “And then we were trying
to find a way for him to leave the venue and they were like a hundred people in the parking lot It was like paparazzi just waiting
for him with their cameras I just started crying because I was like, ‘oh my god, we’ve just burst into another universe.'” And when O’Rourke takes the stage in
that parking lot there’s no doubt these Texas Democrats, long-dormant in this
state all want to believe This is their chance. He’s their guy. “I know we’re up to this challenge. I know we are a match for this moment
because I feel it from you tonight. I felt it every single day on the trail.” He’s pro-choice, anti-border wall, wants
tougher gun laws and universal health care “The choice before us right now
could not be more clear.” All that said, he may not win But don’t tell that to anyone here They can almost taste it. “This is definitely a state that’s Republican historically. But after seeing someone
who’s running the way that he is I feel that I can vote for someone who can
change the tide of this of this state “I think we’re ready, we’re ready for that
change. We want that change and I think we’re all ready for it.” As for O’Rourke, indeed in it to win He told us just before running on stage he welcomes the craziness. “The insanity of all of this?” “Yeah, it doesn’t seem insane to me. It’s just as powerful and as
beautiful and as amazing as it gets in the face of some real challenges and
some real disappointment and darkness for some to respond to that with this which is not anger, not despair
but a commitment and a resolve to come through for this country. And so it was a middle that this week
that Ted Cruz came to Houston As a guest star in a mega rally, staged by Cruz’s
not so secret weapon God bless President Donald Trump! Indeed, the crowd cheered Cruz but they’re here for Trump So when he stepped out the
adulation it seemed was as big as Texas The key moment for Cruz who was allowed for just a
moment into Trump’s powerful spotlight This one Approval in front of
thousands and what’s more… “Ted’s opponent in this race is a
stone-cold phony…” Some good old trash talk
aimed straight at O’Rourke “And he pretends to be a moderate But he’s actually a radical open borders left winger That’s what he is.” Trump knows his word here is gold And so while he talked of tax cuts, illegal immigrants, America First and fake news He also urged Texans to vote for Ted
Cruz and I’ll tell you what Nobody has helped me more with your tax cuts, with your regulation, with all of the things that we’re doing…” And you bet on this night they heard him loud and clear “Electrified!” “What’s that?” “Electrified! He knows how to move an audience.” “He was great! I mean that is the thing that we needed to get us all pumped up. I mean, and just really ready for this election.” “I’m a first-time voter. Trump asked me to come to vote, so I just registered. I’m 53-years-old and it will be
my first-time ever voting in my life.” “And how are you going to vote?” “Trump, Cruz, Republican of course!” Will it be enough? Will it keep Democrats at bay yet again in this state? And will it underline for the world that Trump remains a force in this country? Say Democrats to all of it now emboldened and unafraid: We’ll see And Paul hunter joins us from Houston
now Paul that race in Texas has Democrats you know clearly daring to
hope for success in the midterms but how much is the division you saw in that
state a microcosm of the mood across the United States generally well that’s the
big question you know and it’s a particularly important one today with
these pipe bombs being mailed to politicians you know it’s not just a
divide here it’s a chasm right I mean you it’s complicated having a
conversation with a stranger there’s a dance that goes on right need to kind of
suss out what the politics of the person is because the conversation could turn
ugly fast unless you know unless you’re careful minutes like that with the two
sides with the Republicans and the Democrats you know I mean at that Trump
rally that we went to for example it’s interesting I had a lot of great
conversations beforehand it was it was a great vibe it was warm and people were
engaged with us and and then Trump walked out right and then the fake news
and the crowd the tone changed right the booing they lock her up all this kind of
stuff because they really believe that stuff when riled up for it but it’s just
under the surface and it’s like that everywhere you know growing up in Canada
Adrienne I don’t know about you but I always thought of America as being
America first in the sense that everybody feels American kind of
together you know I mean now it’s America first which we hear a lot from
Trump obviously it’s America first my way or America first my way there’s no
middle ground and it’s it’s ugly and the midterms it’s not going to end that
complicated time down here

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