According to Beto O’Rourke, if he wins the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, he’ll be able to take his home state of Texas in the general election. O’Rourke, the former congressman of El Paso, has stated that he would “absolutely” show support for his campaign staff if they chose to unionize. He said that he would also consider getting rid of the Electoral College, lowering the federal voting age to 16, increasing the number of Supreme Court justices as well as getting rid of the filibuster in the Senate.
While he was speaking to reporters after his first event in New Hampshire, the presidential candidate said: “Yes I think we can win Texas. I think we’ve proven we know how to campaign. We’ve been to each one of those 254 counties. We’ve listened to the stories our fellow Texans have told us. We’ve incorporated it in the way in which we campaign.”
During his run for U.S. Senate last year, O’Rourke was able to raise $80 million in contributions, which allowed him to nearly beat Sen. Ted Cruz in the midterm elections. His campaign brought him a massive fan-base, as well as, a bid for the White House. It would be a huge move for Democrats to win Texas and its 38 electoral votes. Jimmy Carter was the last Democrat to take the state in the 1976 presidential election. Republican President Donald Trump won the state in 2016, but by a smaller margin than the GOP nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.
It took O’Rourke eight-and-a-half hours to drive to New Hampshire, the state where the first presidential primary will be held, in his Dodge Caravan from State College, PA. He spoke to and answered questions from hundreds of people. This was his first stop in a 48-hour stint in which he will be visiting all 10 counties in New Hampshire. When O’Rourke was asked about lowering the voting age to 16, he said: “I’m open to the idea of a younger voting age. … There’s some merit to it.” He also stated that he would “seriously consider” getting rid of the Senate’s filibuster, which is an extremely old tactic for blocking a bill from being voted on, as well as the Electoral College and increasing the number of justices in the Supreme Court. “We have to look at some of these institutional reforms, whether it’s the Supreme Court, the Electoral College, the filibuster in the Senate. We’ve got to get democracy and our institutions working again,” he said.
Getting rid of the Electoral College, which is also supported by some of O’Rourke’s rivals, isn’t a popular idea in New Hampshire. O’Rourke arrived in Vermont one day after Bernie Sanders, who became the first presidential candidate to unionize their staff. When O’Rourke was asked by Fox News if he would do the same thing, he said: “Absolutely. If those who work on this campaign and who comprise what I hope will be the largest grassroots effort this nation has ever seen, want to unionize, I support that all the way.”
While he was participating in a question-and-answer session, O’Rourke was questioned about accepting large amounts of contributions from pro-Israeli lobbyists during his Senate campaign in 2018. “If you’re asking if the contributions I accept connect to the policies I support, the answer is no,” he responded. Once again, O’Rourke called for a “two-state solution” between Israel and the Palestinians in order to achieve peace. “I believe in peace and dignity and full human rights for the Palestinian people and the Israeli people. The only way to achieve that … is a two-state solution,” he said. O’Rourke took aim at Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. “Right now we don’t have the best negotiating partners on either side. We have a prime minister in Israel who has openly sided with racists,” he said. “On the Palestinian side, we have an ineffectual leader. Mahmoud Abbas has not been very effective in bringing his side to the table.”
O’Rourke was also questioned about his commitment to reducing the number of fossil fuels that are consumed in the United States. “I support the Green New Deal. Yes, I understand that as close to 2030 as we possibly can, we have to have this economy and this country fully transitioned off a reliance on fossil fuels,” he said. He also added: “I also drove here in a Dodge Caravan that burns gasoline. … We also have to acknowledge that we’re still using these fossil fuels right now, so there’s got to be a responsible transition.”
The Republican National Committee had a few things to say about O’Rourke.”By embracing the Green New Deal, calling for an end to the Electoral College and supporting late-term abortions, Beto O’Rourke is on a collision course with everyday Americans who will reject his extremist views that offer no substance or solution,” the RNC’s Mandi Merritt said.
Last Thursday, when O’Rourke declared that he was running for president, he gained lots of attention from the media and the public during a three-day trip through Iowa, which is the state that will vote first in the presidential caucus. Just one day before he showed up in New Hampshire, O’Rourke made the announcement that he brought in $6.1 million during the first 24-hours after his announcement, which is more than any other candidate. While he was talking with Fox News, O’Rourke explained that he would release the update campaign figures on Wednesday morning.
A resident of Fitzwilliam, N.H. named Carol Beckwith told Fox News that “Beto-mania” is “coming our way. We haven’t had much exposure to it really, compared to other people,” she said, as she pointed out that she’s unsure of who she’ll be voting for. “I want the best person for the job,” she said. Unlike Beckwith, Russ Provost of Richmond, N.H. doesn’t need any more time to think about who he’ll be voting for because he’s already donated to O’Rourke’s campaign. “I watched him on TV a number of times,” said Provost. “I liked his style. I want someone young. I want someone under 60 to take over the reins of this country. I don’t want older people running it anymore. If he could take Texas and just win the same states Hillary won, he wins.”