With the midterm elections coming up, voters everywhere are looking to rebuke of the current political leadership at the ballot box. In Texas, that’s led to a surprisingly close senate between entrenched incumbent Republican Ted Cruz and upstart Democratic US Representative Beto O’Rourke. The latter is building a strong base amongst young voters, thanks in no small part to his views on cannabis legalization, immigration reform, and single-payer healthcare.
The candidates have been back and forth recently over holding debates, with Cruz challenging O’Rourke to five. The first was meant to be held this Friday, but O’Rourke has said he won’t be attending as they try to renegotiate some of Cruz’s stipulations (including, apparently, controlling the time, location, topics, and moderators). The Texas GOP has seized on O’Rourke’s refusal to debate as an opportunity to make him look foolish. In typical GOP fashion, the move has backfired epically, making Cruz out to be a crusty old white guy and O’Rourke appear as a relatable modernist.
In a series of tweeted images, the TX GOP suggested O’Rourke may be bailing on the debate because he’s doing things like being in a band or riding a skateboard. Seeming their tactic is to paint O’Rourke as being too cool to debate, which, ya know, should really help fracture his base. Why a candidate being in a punk band 20 years ago is relevant to any election is beyond me, but we have a feeling pointing it out will sway more punks to vote for him than fuddy-duddies to not.
Of course, the one reasonable shot the GOP took at O’Rourke — bringing up his handful of old arrests — was negated by their own pettiness. “There’s always the chance that Robert ‘Beto’ O’Rourke won’t debate Senator Cruz because he got into a hazy situation…,” read the tweet. However, none of the arrests ever led to charges, and O’Rourke has never shied away from admitting he made mistakes in his youth. Harping on past faults that a person openly owns up to while simultaneously poking fun at him for having fairly typical, outgoing interests? Sounds like someone’s fishing for insults.
The Texas GOP has already been called out for its questionable strategy, but as the Party of Trump has learned from the POTUS, if someone calls BS, just dig in deeper:
For the curious, here’s O’Rourke’s punk band, Foss, from back in the day: