There are some constants in life that people just expect to happen, like Meryl Streep being nominated for an Academy Award every year or LeBron James playing in the NBA Championship. For the past quarter century, a Republican senator winning a reelection cycle in Texas has been one of those things.
After dominating every single Senate election since Texas’ first back in 1857, the Democrats have had a consistent losing streak in the Lone Star state ever since both parties’ dramatic shifts in the ‘90s. Since then, there have been a slew of Republican governors, senators and representatives emerging from Texas, including former President George W. Bush. The notoriously red state has largely rejected liberal ideals in the 21st century and ends up being a lock for the Republican party nearly every year.
In fact, Texas Democrats have lost or have not competed in 123 consecutive statewide races since 1996, which is the longest losing streak of any state party in the country.
If there is anything the past two years have taught America, it is that precedent means nothing. If Republicans are not careful, the Democratic party’s next upset might be in Texas.
Sen. Ted Cruz has represented his state since 2013. Any opponent he might face from the Democratic party should be an easy victory for the nationally known conservative. Still, Rep. Beto O’Rourke decided to give it a shot and challenge the incumbent in the midterms this November. The race is sure to be an uphill battle for O’Rourke considering he is running as a Democrat.
O’Rourke has already raised a whopping $1.5 million more than Cruz. He has traveled to 223 of Texas’ 254 counties. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, he benefits from his state’s low approval rating of President Donald Trump, whom Cruz has hypocritically chosen to closely align himself with.
The president is apparently well aware of this, as he is scheduled to headline a fundraiser for Senate Republicans in Texas next month, which may ultimately end up doing more harm than good.
While Cruz has wrapped his arms around the man who has insulted his wife and maligned his father, O’Rourke has taken the opposite stance. He has vowed that if elected, he would vote to impeach Trump. This is not a good look for the Republican who has a reputation for not listening to his constituents after Election Day.
The impressive display of Democratic turnout in the primaries should be enough to worry Republicans. He and the GOP are well aware that if Democrats can win in Alabama and deep in the heart of Trump country, they can win anywhere. While Cruz still may feel he has a significant advantage over his opponent due to sharp partisanship, there are enough reasons for him to worry.
A Republican fate is now starting to look like less and less like a sure thing as the race progresses. But with strong Democratic victories all over the country, even winning Texas might not be enough to save both Congress and the president. A strong showing in Texas and even a potential upset is monumental to the country’s hard shift to the left. All eyes will be on this Senate race in November to see if there truly are “Beto” days ahead.
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