Texas in 2020?
Moving toward the democratic primaries, two young members of the party from Texas are campaigning for president. Although Texas has traditionally fallen as guaranteed win for the republicans, more and more democrats from Texas are emerging into the national media spotlight. This began in 2018 with Beto O’Rourke challenging the incumbent Ted Cruz for a seat in the Senate. From this, some are starting to see Texas, the former Republican stronghold, move more in the direction of a swing state in coming elections. Mirroring this, two candidates from Texas, Julián Castro and Beto O’Rourke, are running for the democratic nomination. If either were to win it would make them the third president from Texas. However, both candidates differ greatly from the two Texans who have occupied the office they are campaigning for previously. Neither embody the progressive attitudes of LBJ and the Great Society or the modern conservatism of George H. W. Bush.
These two candidates walk a fine line between the mainstream interests of the Democratic Party, the traditional values of Texas, and the emerging Latino voice in the State of Texas. At this early stage in the election cycle it appears that Julián Castro and Beto O’Rourke are focused more on fundraising. This creates an early competition within the Democratic field, both candidates wanting to be the voice of the party in their home state of Texas. Castro presents on his website that his campaign has already locked in the support of Texas democrats. In this article on his website he boasts the support of thirty three elected democrats within the State of Texas. This shows a very party centric attitude in which the support he is claiming is not from the voters but instead form the party elites. This differs from Beto where he is trying to make his campaign appear as if it was very much supported by the people, labeling his campaign a “grassroots movement”. He shows this more explicitly with his slogan “We Are All In This Together”. However Castro has also moved to improve his image amongst voters by pledging to visit all 50 states in his campaign. With his family’s immigrant backstory and his latino identity Democrats are also beginning to see Castro as a more unifying candidate in the 2020 presidential ticket (Mercia CNN). This point is emphasized with his slogan “For the Future” stressing the importance of unity amongst all Americans.
On the issues, Castro has listed more of his views on his website. He shows his opposition for the President’s policy on immigration and the wall. He has also taken a clear stance on the justice system as well as police brutality. Beto is yet to list any specific issues on his website however he has covered these topics previously in his 2018 Senate campaign. In 2018 Beto addressed these issues, however, he took a more moderate stance likely to be able to appeal to swing voters in a Texas general election. On his website Castro lists his experience in the executive branch serving as President Obama’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Currently it seems as if Beto is carrying his name recognition from his failed 2018 Senate election. This experience has provided significant media attention compared to Castro. However, Beto has also had to contend with his initial claims from 2018 where he said that he currently had no other job ambitions outside of the Senate(CBS).
Despite their differences both candidates are going heavily for a person to person relationship with their constituents. These two young candidates have strived to conduct their campaign in a very personal manner of reaching out to voters. Alongside other candidates they have attempted to distance themselves from PACS instead opting to show the image of a grassroots campaign. This tactic is due in part to the success and acclaim of Bernie Sanders with young Democrats in the 2016 election. Both Castro and Beto have a long election cycle ahead of them with a Democratic field that only seems to grow bigger. There is much more campaigning to be done and the fight for campaign funding is only just the beginning. In order for either to become a strong national contender in the 2020 election, one must first win the support of their fellow Texans.
“Beto O’Rourke Isn’t Running for Senate, Says He’s ‘Made a Decision’ about Future.” CBS
News, CBS Interactive,
Merica, Dan. “Iowa Democrats Have Struggled to Organize Latinos. Julián Castro Is Trying to
Change That.” CNN, Cable News Network, 3 Mar. 2019,
Ramsey, Ross. “Analysis: A Potential Texas Shootout inside the 2020 Presidential Race.” The
Texas Tribune, Texas Tribune, 14 Dec. 2018,
For this writing assignment I decided to compare and contrast the online websites of candidates for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president John Delany and Beto O’Rourke. John Delaney was born in Wood-ridge NewJersey, to a blue collared union family. Delany explains how he understands the American dream because he has lived it by being able to work his way through college and how the community help in with his law school payments. He has seen Bruce Springsteen over 30 times. Delaney’s campaign slogan is Focus on the Future. If elected Delaney’s future would present major reform in environmental, education, immigration policy. Delaney plans to implement a carbon tax that will “Reduce carbon admissions by 90% by 2050”. Delaney believes all students should be entitled to a k-14(community college or technical degree) education. Regarding immigration Delaney believes that a comprehensive reform on this issue should include a clear path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and DREAMers, and an increased refugee cap for resettlement in the US. Delaney appears to take a person to person approach, he provides a lot of background info about him and his family, Delaney also makes it very easy for supporters to get involved or contribute through his engaging site. When looking at news articles that discuss John Delany it appears as though he may be a long shot for receiving the Democratic nomination for President. John Delaney doesn’t provide groundbreaking ideas or policies (such as the green new deal & medicare for all) to bring about the political change, rather Delaney focuses on finding ways to break through the partisan stalemate in Congress.
Beto O’Rourke began his grassroots campaign in his home town of El Paso, Texas. His website did not have a whole lot of information on it and it felt kind of Boring compared to John Delaney’s. Beto’s really emphasizes wanting to bridge the divide between Americans and provide access to universal health care. Beto also expresses the importance of economic reform that would make the economy work for everyone. Beto’s campaign slogan is “A vision for America.” Despite his website being kind of bland, Beto also makes it easy for people to get involved and support his campaign via his website. When looking at the media coverage of Beto O’Rourke many of the articles I found criticized him, calling him a Fauxbama or a accusing him of pretending to be a Kennedy. These articles worked to show how candidates such as Beto are taking a page out of former successful democrats’ books. Beto allegedly adopts and utilizes similar posture and speaking techniques that worked well for Kennedy, by doing this these articles claim that Beto is trying to channel this charisma and charm that helped Kennedy into office. The Fauxbama critique also comes from people saying that Beto is essentially a copycat by using many mannerism and techniques that Obama utilized during his campaign. By closely following the script of Obama and Kennedy, Beto might just fake it till he makes it.
Senator Kamala Harris’ presentation of self on her website is mostly a person-to-person approach. The first thing shown on Kamala Harris’ website is a YouTube video which seems to be intended for the viewer to get to know her on a more personal level. For example, the video begins by her talking about how she was born in Oakland, CA and that her parents met in college and were active in the civil rights movement. She goes on to say that her mother, who was a scientist and activist, was one of her greatest inspirations in life. She then says, “I was taught that I had a responsibility to be a part of the fight for justice. And that’s what I’ve done my whole life” Through explaining her upbringing, and how her values were formed as a result, Kamala is presenting herself on a personal level. Kamala sets herself apart from other candidates by providing information on the “meet Kamala” section about legislation she introduced or co-sponsored and cases she worked as an Attorney General in California. The opening statement on this section is “Throughout her career, Kamala has been a fearless advocate for the voiceless and vulnerable and a vocal and determined fighter on behalf of all people.” This notion of Kamala’s interests being “for the people” is reinforced by her campaign slogan, which is “Kamala Harris For the People.” This slogan reflects her personal characteristic of wanting to help people from all aspects of life. Kamala Harris’ website is visually appealing. The red, white, and blue color scheme is easy to look at, and represents America. However, there is very few pictures on the website other than of Kamala standing at a podium smiling.
Similar to Kamala Harris, Senator Cory Booker’s presentation of self on his website is mostly a person-to-person approach. He too talks about his upbringing in order to connect with his audience in a more personalized manner. In the YouTube video on his website, the first line is “In America we have a common pain, but what we are lacking is a sense of common purpose” then cuts to him walking in the streets of the city he lives in wearing informal clothes (hooded sweatshirt). We then hear his person-to-person approach when a stranger (presumably) yells out “Cory!” then he responds, “What’s up!” The stranger the says “2020” to which Cory responds “Amen!” This brief and informal exchange highlights his homestyle/person-to-person approach of walking the streets of the city he lives and casually interacting with the people there within it. He goes on to discuss how, as a child, his parents tried to move him into a neighborhood with good public schools but were discriminated against because of the color of their skin. Through bringing up this discrimination Cory faced early on, he is setting the stage to speak about how he moved to the inner city of Newark and spent his career “to fight slumlords and help families stay in their homes.” He then says he still lives there and is “the only senator to go home to a low-income, inner-city community, the first community that took a chance on me.” Through this homestyle language, Cory is presenting himself as someone who continues to fight for his marginalized community instead of abandoning it. Similar to Kamala’s website, Cory presents information about his background and family, which allows for the audience to get to know him on a more personalized level. Additionally, both candidates have the option to view the website in Spanish, which highlights their ideals of working for immigrant communities.
Some media, such as theroot.com present Kamala as someone who had been “aggressively pursuing criminals in every sector except for police and prosecutorial misconduct.” The article explains that she had even fought against forcing cops to wear bodycams across the state of California. Additionally, this media outlet claims that “as a prosecutor, Harris refused to hand over the names of officers involved in police misconduct.” These notions are contrary to Kamala Harris’ presentation of self on her website as being someone seeking justice for the people. The media attention around Cory Booker, however, reinforces notions represented on his website of his homestyle approach. On thedailybeast.com is an article about 9 times he’s “saved the day.” The article includes stories about how he rescued an elderly lady from a burning building, personally shoveled snow from people’s driveway, and even saved a dog from freezing to death. These personalized actions by Cory Booker show his strong commitment to his community.
This Voices site will display written work for PSCI 110: Introduction to U.S. National Politics. The purpose of this platform is to give you the chance to share ideas with your peers and create a vibrant intellectual community for the class. Most of the writing assignments will ask you to engage with a topic related to government and politics in the hopes that this information will encourage you to participate with the political system as an active citizen.