El Paso’s O’Rourke Enters the Race for the Presidency

The Story:

On Thursday, March 14, former Congressman Robert Francis (“Beto”) O’Rourke made it official — the former Congressman for the 16th district in Texas — the border district that includes the City of El Paso — is a candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President.

Background:

O’Rourke attracted a good deal of attention last year, during his campaign for a US Senate seat against Republican incumbent Rafael Edward (“Ted”) Cruz. Texas is a very Republican state, and incumbents are at an advantage in nearly every Senatorial race, yet O’Rourke managed to keep that one very competitive. Though Cruz won, it was with only 50.1% of the vote.

O’Rourke’s admirers point to his youth compared to much of the rest of the field. They see his campaign as representing a generational shift within the Democratic Party. He was born in 1972. This itself creates a marked contrast with Joseph Biden (born in 1942), Elizabeth Warren (1949), or Bernie Sanders (1941).

The Thing to Know:

O’Rourke’s new campaign already has a signature issue. It is precisely the opposite of President Trump’s signature issue. O’Rourke is the one candidate most associated with anti-Wall sentiment. Not only does he oppose any further construction of border barriers, he has said that he would take down those barriers that have been constructed in recent years, which in his view have done nothing to improve security in the region.

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