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Beto’s endorsement of Biden disappointment to progressives


Tweet shared with permission by Matt Hurt, Nederland junior
Tweet shared with permission by Matt Hurt, Nederland junior

In 2018, Beto O’Rourke entered the Texas Democratic spotlight when he ran against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz for U.S. Senate. O’Rourke, of El Paso, traveled to every county in Texas during his campaign, and won over Democrats and progressives with his talk of gun control, and by skateboarding in a Whataburger parking lot.

O’Rourke was a young, handsome and passionate candidate who was saying brave things to a Texas audience, like recalling some types of guns from current owners. Surprisingly, Texans loved it — he raised more than $80 million for that campaign, more than any U.S. Senate candidate has raised before.

Cruz ultimately won the Senate race, but by a small, competitive margin. Texas Democrats pointed to O’Rourke as a sign the state could flip purple or blue in the 2020 Presidential election. He was a symbol that change was coming to conservative Texas.

The congressman announced his 2020 Presidential campaign in March of 2019, only to drop out eight months later.

March 2, the day before Super Tuesday when Texans would be voting in the primaries for the Democratic candidate, O’Rourke announced his support for former Vice President Joe Biden in Dallas.

O’Rourke supporting Biden feels like a betrayal to a young progressive like myself. I viewed O’Rourke as a lighthouse of progressive ideas in Texas, but he chose to endorse a centrist career politician whose policies are neither innovative nor inspiring.

In Dallas, O’Rourke spoke about the fact that Texas is last in number of people with health insurance, but Biden’s plans for insuring more Americans is to build on Obamacare and provide more affordable health insurance and lower health care costs.

There’s no plan to abolish privatized health insurance, undoubtedly the reason why America has some of the most expensive healthcare costs in the world. If the Affordable Care Act was sufficient to cover American’s needs, people would be using it, but the truth is, healthcare costs in this country are still too damn high.

Biden’s saving grace is that he was President Obama’s vice president, but that’s not enough for me. While I’m grateful the Obama administration introduced the idea of socialized health insurance and obtained marriage equality, I want more change.

I want Democratic politicians to  stop trying to be centrists — it is obviously not working for us. Republicans say exactly their agenda and fight for it, while Democrats cater to the lowest common denominator and focus on building their political careers instead of fighting for our alleged ideals. I say “alleged” because the lack of party support for progressive candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders is a slap in the face for people all over the country that will literally die without adequate healthcare this year.   

I demand a total system overhaul to provide health care, protect the environment and use our country’s obscene wealth to benefit all instead of the one-percent.

O’Rourke is not the bastion of liberal change I expected him to be. Perhaps I projected my hopes for my state onto someone who isn’t capable of carrying the torch. My disappointment is not solitary, many of my peers feel similarly betrayed and disappointed.

Nevertheless, we progressives persist.

Category: Opinion