Texas, we could have had Beto O’Rourke as U.S. Senator. Instead, a slight majority voted to keep Ted Cruz in office in 2018. I emphasize “slight majority” because – unlike his 2012 victory over Paul Sadler – Cruz didn’t well…cruise to a reelection win.
In the summer of 2018, O’Rourke, then a U.S. House Representative, shocked the Texas Republican Party and political observers alike when he raised several million dollars in a very short time. It was no minor feat; accomplished by literally cold-calling people and pounding the pavement all over the state, gathering small amount donations from average citizens. O’Rourke also did something no other Texas candidate for the U.S. Senate had done: he visited every single county in the state. Some residents were stunned upon his arrival, as their county had no record of such a candidate stopping by. Again, this was no minor task. Texas boasts 267 counties in roughly 268,597 square miles (695,663 sq. km). It’s half the size of Alaska and as big as some of Europe’s largest countries, such as Spain and France. So, O’Rourke disturbed the evangelical conservative force that’s dominated Texas politics for generations; first as Democrats and now as Republicans.
For many Texas Hispanics – especially someone like me whose ancestry in this state goes back before there was a United States – Cruz’s win in 2012 was a distinct insult. Cruz, a Canadian-born Cuban-Italian, was lauded as the state’s first Hispanic senator. Cruz is to Hispanics what I am to Nigerians.
More significantly, though, Cruz is known for his antagonistic approach to political navigations once he got to Washington, as well as his failed 2016 presidential bid. He and Donald Trump ended up battling for the final nomination. In what I considered a case of choosing the lesser of two evils, Cruz would have been that lesser one. But, I’ve only voted Republican once in my life and have let myself live to regret it; thus I don’t know what shenanigans rumbled through the brains of Trump acolytes. The animosity between Cruz and Trump became even more palpable during the 2016 Republican National Convention, when the Texan gave his speech and did everything he could NOT to say the name Donald Trump, as the crowd booed and jeered. The tension was so high that Secret Service agents removed Cruz’s wife, Heidi, from the convention floor.
By 2018, though, Cruz had done little to advance a pro-citizen agenda. In all fairness, O’Rourke had no significant legislative achievements during his tenure either. I guess I was mistaken in believing we elect people to such prestigious positions to actually…you know, do something. I must be a damn fool! But that year I eagerly jumped on the O’Rourke train, donating money and proudly voting for him.
Alas, it was for naught. Cruz squeezed into another term, sweating and hyperventilating all the way. It was enough to upset that right-wing force in Texas politics, but Cruz made it back to Washington anyway.
Then came the ice. Like a herd of Central American immigrants carrying loads of bananas stuffed with cocaine (a conservative’s second worst nightmare after queer marriage), Winter Storm Uri ambushed Texas. Meteorologists had warned state and energy industry officials about its strength. When most Texans think of hurricanes, they conjure images of Katrina and Harvey, not a snow-laden monstrosity from the Pacific or (hah-ha) Canada.
As millions of Texans found themselves without power – and, in some cases, water – state leaders began blaming liberals and their green energy ideas for the catastrophe. And Ted Cruz left his comfortable Houston abode to jet to Cancun because his 2 daughters wanted to go. He was there for all of one day before the angry heat from his constituents melted his margarita and his resolve and he scurried back to Houston; hoping no one would notice.
We noticed. We also noticed that at least 80 Texans died last week directly as a result of the ice storm.
Cruz hopscotched across the stage of excuses to explain his sudden departure and miraculous return. Meanwhile, Beto O’Rourke began raising money for Texans stranded in their darkened homes and even made calls to some of them. He got help from one of the most demonized figures among conservatives in American politics: New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Now, as Texas state leaders continue blaming everyone else for the catastrophe, Ted Cruz left Texas again and headed for Orlando, Florida to attend the annual conference of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC). In summation it’s a yearly festival where right-wingers trash anyone even slightly to the left of their narrow-minded ideology. At this year’s escapade, a gold-colored figure of Trump has taken center stage.
And so has Cruz. Making light of his Cancun trip, he quipped: “I’ve got to say, Orlando is awesome. It’s not as nice as Cancun, but it’s nice.”
Oh, ha-ha! HURK!
Fuck you, Cruz. Fuck you and your conservative philosophies. Fuck you and the Texas Republican “leaders” who can’t admit their pro-business, anti-regulation antics over the past decades put us into this quagmire. People suffered and people died during this mess! One of the wealthiest states in the richest nation on Earth in the third decade of the 21st century should not have experienced such a calamity!
But I’m just venting. Texas, we could’ve had Beto.
Image: Mike Luckovich