Why you should care
Because if Texas turns blue in November, you may have Beto to thank for laying the groundwork.
It was “impossible for me to conclude anything other than the president broke the laws of this country,” says former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who believes Donald Trump should be prosecuted once he leaves office. “He, like any other American, should have to pay the consequences for his actions. And I hope that that happens following his administration,” the 47-year-old Democrat says.
O’Rourke’s pointed statement came during an interview on The Carlos Watson Show, in which the former Texas congressman spoke with OZY’s co-founder and CEO about everything from his breakthrough moment while defending former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick to the possibility of Texas voting blue in November. And while O’Rourke warns about establishing a dangerous model — “I don’t think, as a matter of precedent, we should seek to prosecute our political enemies” — he nonetheless says that information from the Trump impeachment proceedings and the Senate Intelligence Committee’s review of the 2016 election provided ample evidence for prosecution.
“Part of the genius of America … is the rule of law. And the idea that no one is above the law, and certainly no one is below the law,” O’Rourke tells Watson. “If you’ve broken the law, there has to be a consequence.”
[Texas] is for Democrats to lose right now, including Joe Biden.
His willingness to speak bluntly is part of what drove O’Rourke in both his Senate campaign and his presidential bid last year — earnestness that came from his wife, Amy, who early on pushed him to eschew traditional political norms. “Her advice was you’ve got nothing to lose, and so run that way. No pollsters, no consultants, no focus group test of the message, no talking points; just the most raw, honest way to campaign,” O’Rourke says.
That advice was crucial in 2018, when, while running for the Senate, he was asked about Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem. O’Rourke remembers driving away from that town hall and seeing his campaign staff “kind of looking at me like I fucked up” by taking on the controversial question, he says. “There was that struggle throughout the campaign, people who had my best interest at heart who wanted me to play it a little bit safer on everything, and then you’ve got me … following the advice of my wife.”
In that case, the risk paid off after a video of his answer went viral, leading scores of new donors and supporters to his campaign that won more votes than any Democratic campaign in Texas history and fell just a few percentage points short of upsetting Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. The momentum from that run is a major reason why O’Rourke believes Democrats can flip Texas this year. “Given the trends that preexisted this cycle, and then given the historical mismanagement of the crises that we face, this is for Democrats to lose right now, including Joe Biden,” O’Rourke says of the traditionally red state.
“If we win Texas, the result will be seismic,” O’Rourke adds, “and even if Donald Trump doesn’t accept the results, the rest of the country will be forced to.”