The 2020 Presidential Race: The Buzz Around Beto

On March 13, I found myself yelling out of pure joy (in public, might I add) after my mom sent me an article declaring that Beto would officially be running for president. His official announcement came the following day, and his campaign has taken off since then. I live in Texas, so I followed Beto’s Senate campaign leading up to the November 2018 elections. Although he lost to Senator Ted Cruz, Beto changed hearts and minds all over Texas and nearly turned the state blue for the first time since 1994. After that election, it’s apparent that Texas may be becoming a swing state, and as a Texan, this is both exciting and surreal.

So, who is Beto anyway? Why is everyone talking about him? What makes him so special? I’m here to answer all of these questions (and more).

Beto O’Rourke

Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, which is located near the Mexican border, Beto O’Rourke comes from a family with a military and political background. He and his wife, Amy, have been married since 2005 and have three children, Ulysses, Molly and Henry.

Beto holds a bachelor's degree in literature from Columbia University, and was a summer congressional intern when he was in high school. Like many, he was unsure of what he wanted to pursue when he was younger, and therefore explored many different potential paths and careers.

Beto has been in rock bands, including one called Foss while he was studying at Columbia. Beto and his bandmates put out two records and traveled to different parts of the country to play at a variety of gigs and shows. In a way, his music career prepared him for traveling across the country as a presidential candidate.

Before entering politics at the local level in El Paso, O’Rourke also co-founded a company called Stanton Street Technology Group, which has since been taken over by his wife, Amy. He got his start in politics by serving on El Paso’s City Council from 2005 to 2011. He then went on to run for Congress and became the representative for Texas’ 16th congressional district, which covers El Paso, Horizon City and Fort Bliss – a U.S. Army base. He served as a member of Congress from 2012 to 2018, and decided to run against Senator Ted Cruz for a Texas Senate instead of re-election into the House of Representatives.

Political Views

Like with any election, it’s important to know what each candidate stands for rather than just buying into whatever hype may be surrounding him or her. Here are a few of Beto’s political views on important topics affecting our country at the very moment:

  • Southern Border Wall: As someone who grew up near the Mexican border, Beto knows the situation at the border wall more personally than most politicians. He claims that the border wall has “never been safer” and has always opposed President Trump’s claim that there is a crisis at the border. There is already a fence at the Texas-Mexico border, but President Trump has been teasing a wall being built at the border to fix an immigration “crisis”. In reality, the crisis is that immigration policies in the United States provide many barriers that can lead the process of immigration taking upward of 10 years.
  • Climate Change: In agreement that this is a pressing issue that must be addressed as soon as possible, Beto has stated that he supports Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed Green New Deal. Beto, along with many other presidential candidates, is trying to help people understand that climate change is an issue that will affect all of us, no matter our political views. It should be treated as a non-partisan issue instead of a bi-partisan issue, in order for serious consideration and action to be taken.  
  • Abortion/Women’s Reproductive Rights: Defunding Planned Parenthood has been a widely debated topic in politics, but Beto is a firm supporter of PP and abortion rights. As someone who believes in universal health care, it’s no surprise that he supports abortion rights, after all, abortion is health care. Beto was one of many members of Congress who backed an opposition to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides many health services, such as breast cancer screenings, to women from different financial backgrounds.
  • Gun Laws: In 2016, O’Rourke was one of few members of Congress to participate in a 24-hour protest following the shooting that took place in Orlando, FL in an attempt to encourage GOP members to vote on gun laws. He is in favor of universal background checks and heavy restrictions, if not a ban, on the sale of war-weapons such as AR-15s that have no place in the hands of citizens.  

The Senate race

During his grassroots campaign against Senator Ted Cruz, Beto O’Rourke traveled to every county in Texas. While most candidates tend to stick to the most populated places in their state, Beto wanted to meet people from across the state in order to reach as many people as possible. One of his strongest skills is creating a connection with his audience, and this is achieved by actions such as traveling across Texas beginning in March 2017 leading up to the November 2018 elections.

Although he did not unseat Cruz, it was a close race, with Beto only 2.6 points behind. In deep-red Texas, this is quite a feat. Something else that sets Beto apart from others is that his campaign is completely funded by people, not PACs. It’s truly a campaign by the people and for the people, and that shows in Beto’s campaign strategies and personality. 

The 2020 Presidential campaign

Beto’s announcement was made a few weeks ago, but it seems as though his strategy will mimic that of his Senate race. So far, he has visited multiple states including Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. I have no doubt that he will be visiting as many counties in each state as possible before the primaries next year.

On the first official day of his campaign, history was made when over $6.1 million was raised toward his campaign in the first 24 hours. Not only did Beto raise more money than all of his opponents in the first day alone, but he set the record for the highest amount of money raised in the first day of any presidential campaign.

Although he’s been traveling around the country and hosting Town Halls since his announcement, his campaign officially kicked-off on March 30 as he traveled to three different cities in Texas: El Paso, Houston and Austin. Watch parties were held across the country, and people rallied together in support for Beto and all that he stands for.

So far, Beto’s numbers in polls have not been as high as anticipated, but there is still time before the Primaries. With a crowded Democratic field, there are many candidates to research and follow along with before casting your vote. Although it may seem far away, it’s important to learn about the candidates as early as possible in order to make the most informed decision come election time. As we all know, elections can have even the most unexpected of outcomes, so don’t lose hope in your favorite candidates this early on in the election cycle. All of our votes matter, but only if we cast them, so now is the time to start learning about who’s running and showing up to support them in any way you can.