Will he beat Ted Cruz? – Rock that rolls

When Beto O'Rourke was a little boy he wanted to be a Beatle when he grew up. He is not a musician. It's not a rocker. But very specific: a member of the biggest, favorite rock band of all time. He told me that in May 2017, about a month and a half after starting the Senate campaign, I reminded her a few weeks ago in Austin, with 55,000 people saying his name.

On the outskirts of Auditorium Shores Park, where Willie Nelson was head of a free concert to promote O'Rourke's attempt to abolish Senator Ted Cruz, vendors were selling the "Beto For Texas" tools along with the trucker hats " It 's Mueller Time. A few hours earlier, the fans had packed the 2,400-seat concert hall across the street to listen to O'Rourke to look in detail in detail on Medicaid's expansion and immigration policy. (A bus for the event, mostly filled with older white women, crashed when a passenger saw O'Rourke in a nearby car and did not leave until the driver dashed to be able to ask for autographs.),

I could say that much has changed in the year and a half that O'Rourke has gone through the path, but that would not be entirely true. Since the beginning of the campaign, it has inspired this kind of reaction to people who have met along the road – there are many more of them now. I have to say: everything has been designed. Oour Rourke's strategy, which he described 17 months ago, led us to the first of two campaign stops – one at the door of a supporter, the other in the church, and in both cities with local maps, which usually neglected by politicians who fought at Statewide in Texas – to spend the best part of the next two years, placing his face in front of as many voters as possible in the cities he could travel in each of the 254 provinces of the state .

Beto For the Texas campaign infrastructure at that time – almost a whole year before Cruz officially declared his re-election bid – it was composed of O'Rourke and two assistants, both old friends from El Paso, to one rented sedan. It was clear even then that something special happened: not just dozens, sometimes hundreds of people who were seeing him in the deep red corners of the state more than a year before the election, appeared with marks and buttons and T-shirts with black and white black and white campaign logo and the campaign did not have any merchandise yet. Everything was homemade.

Since then, O'Rourke has evaporated a fundraising record, crossing the state several times, and – that day in Austin – has made the biggest political rally ever since Barack Obama ran for president. (At an event earlier this day, O'Rourke asked how much money he thought the campaign had raised in the third quarter, he just smiled "It will be a lot," he said, the campaign will announce a few days later that it had gathered 38 million dollars – a US Senate race record The total campaign traffic is currently worth $ 69 million and counts).

It would not be too much to say that this fight has turned O'Rourke into the political equivalent of the Beatles. And even if this was his dream as a child, he quits a little in analogy. "They do not come to see me," Oour Rourke says in the background in Austin, just minutes before coming to the crowd and presenting Willie Nelson. "They go out to see Willie to see Leon Bridges." They go out to see Carrie [Rodriguez] – some of these other great artists. And they come out because they know there will be other great people around them. I think that is what it is: It's just that energy and enthusiasm People right now."

For recording, this is not what it is. And if you want proof, I'll show you the fact that dozens of people start running away from the venue when Nelson hits the first songs of his first song shortly after O'Rourke finishes his remarks.

There is not much mystery about why people in Texas are showing up on such events or they were emitting millions of dollars in the Beto O'Rourke campaign. That's him. He has captured the imagination of the Democrats throughout the state and across the country, convinced them that he really has a shot to push the seat of Texas – and perhaps the entire Senate with him. The entire nation is being hit by BetoMania. Everything seems to be in his favor. Now it's just a matter of whether he can not do it.

In the days leading up to the 2016 elections, many polls showed Hillary Clinton with a shot at capturing the 38 Lone Star state ballots. At the end of October, Trump had only a three-point edge in a survey, two to another. Statistically, as analyst Nate Silver wrote at that time, Clinton was more likely to win Texas than Tramp did to win all the elections. (The Silver model this year puts O'Rourke's chances of being the best of these developments – between 16 and 20% depending on the factors you are weighing.)

Clinton's hopes were linked to the idea that the Spanish-speaking voters (almost 40% of the state's population, from 2014) would be galvanized by the rhetoric of the Trump campaign that they would rise and come to the polls in unprecedented numbers, the strain- of Trump's xenophobia had become the focus of his election campaign. That did not happen. Spanish turnout rose only 2% in 2016 compared to 2012 – from 17 percent to 19. In the end, Trump easily sent Clinton to Texas, earning almost 10 points.

Rourke has talked about the trail of the campaign about the silent horror with which his wife, Amy, watched the returns in the election night. "You know how we felt because you felt the same way," he said. "The immigrants were punished and underestimated, the lies were bold and open and without shame, the promise of banning Muslims and refugees and asylum seekers from our country. trying to make people shame on who they are, whether or not they fit in with their country, all of this came to the head as the results came in. "

Supporters await US Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke in a Texas Rally tour with Willie Nelson's country music legend in Austin, Texas on September 29, 2018. Beto O & 39; Rouke runs against Senator Ted Cruz for the Senate. Texas Rally with Willie Nelson, Austin, USA - September 29, 2018

The supporters await O'Rourke in a tour of the Texas Rally with the country music legend Willie Nelson in Austin. Photographic credit: Larry W. Smith / EPA-EFE / REX Shutterstock

Oour Rourke's offer for a Senate, for all purposes and purposes, began that night. His first unofficial "Meet and Greet" in McAllen, Texas, came in February, followed by the official launch campaign in March 2017. From the beginning, O'Rourke relied on his candidacy for the idea that Texas it is neither "the red or the blue state, it is a state without a right to vote". The last part is true: Only half of the eligible state voters vote in 2016, putting Texas next to the last in the national poll. To win O'Rourke, he has to lock down the democratic forts in the big cities of Texas and along the border, squeeze a healthy slice of convinced Republicans and pull out too many new voters and non-voters in the polls.

With all the enthusiasm revolving around his candidacy, all the money coming in, all the new voters recorded, with the deep links of O'Rourke to the border area of ​​Texas, where a large proportion of the Spanish population lives and the president doubles his 2016 book, floating ideas for ending the nationality of the championship and refusing asylum to refugees, sending thousands of troops to the border, instigating fearing a migrant caravan still hundreds of miles away from the US at the southernmost tip of Mexico – with all that, ensuring that Democrats appear for O'Rourke should not be the tricky part.

It was a warning sign when, in September, the Democrats lost their legislature to one of the deepest blue pockets of the state, not far from the congressional district represented by O'Rourke from 2013. A month and a half before Austin, Republican Pitt Flores defeated Democratic Pete Gallego with six points in a special election to represent the Senate 19 government area, a wide range of southwestern Texas that included more than 400 miles from the US- Mexico. The region, which is two-thirds of the Spaniards, is represented by a Democrat for more than 139 years and in 2016 went to Hillary Clinton with 12 points.

With the loss, the Democratic representation in the Texas Senate fell to its lowest level. Also, all Republicans guaranteed would retain the two-thirds majority – many votes to bring law without reason without the approval of the Democrats – to the new legislative session. "All this talk about a" blue wave "? Well, the tide is out," Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick chuckled at the Flores election party.

In the background in Austin, when I ask O'Rourke for the fight, a serious glance flickers on his face. "It surprised me," he says. "I really waited [Gallego] to win. I know Pete. I love Pete. He is beloved in this area. It represents part of it for decades – in the state, and for a while in Congress. "

But it quickly rumbles the possible consequences away. "We have a good service because we do not try to read the tea sheets or listen to the polls or to trace the trends and analyze the numbers We tried to do that and we did that, people, and I will continue to do that. disappointed that I saw Pete Gallego not pull it, but I do not know he's betting anything bigger. "It's growing, somewhat unconsciously.

Then O'Rourke tells me to look out into the sea of ​​55,000 people at Auditorium Shores. The crowd is full of large, shiny balloons. Under each one, O'Rourke tells me, he is a deputy voter registrar, about 250 of them, who has the right to enroll voters in any of the 25 regions. "I do not know what they did not do," the Democrat says in Senate 19. "But I can tell you what we're doing is the bar-no more subscription to bases, communication, conversation, and participation you've seen in the state of Texas. This is something we do right. "

US Senator Beto O'Rourke (L) speaks to fans on a rally inside Knox Hall at the Hall of Fame and Texas Ranger Museum in Waco, Texas, USA, on October 31, 2018. Beto Rouke runs against Senator Ted Cruz for the Senate. US Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke talks with supporters on a Rally, Waco, USA - October 31, 2018

Rourke speaks with fans on a rally at Knox Hall at the Hall of Fame and the Texas Texas Museum in Waco. Photographic credit: Larry W. Smith / EPA-EFE / REX Shutterstock

More than 1.6 million voters have been added to the Texas electoral lists since the last interim elections in 2014. The struggle will depend on whether or not it can convince new voters and registered non-voters to reach the polls in a state which the Republicans systematically direct their Democratic rivals one million votes.

By the end of the early vote last week, according to the campaign, her volunteers had hit nearly 2 million doors in Texas and paid more than 8.5 million phone calls to voters – figures that Democratic strategists who did not work with O & Rourke calculated the largest business for a state campaign, never.

The size and scope of O'Rourke's campaign has burdened Ted Cruz's efforts for the Senate, which reportedly commissioned his own involvement in the group working for the re-election of the Democratic Governing Council Greg Abbott. This was new to Dave Carney, the political advisor coordinating Abbott's turnout. "Yes, I heard this – last week," Karni is spoiled when Rock that rolls they asked him about the report. The joke is that Abbott actually has a field function, and Cruz … does not. "We have 120 field employees, like, five," says Carney, still laughing. "On a weekend, we talk with 35,000 people and talk to 400."

However, Carney confirmed that the Cruz For Senate used the same tools and datasets that Abbott's team put into all the Democratic campaigns in Texas. "We provide them free of charge for our applications and free access to our data," says Carney.

For what he deserves, Karnie is not worried about the O'Rourke campaign's claim that he has hit nearly 2 million doors. "Do you know what we're saying in Texas? We call it a good start," says Carney (who is based in New Hampshire for the record). "We had 2.7 million voter talks. We do not count doors because this is really just a part of literature, and if you want to do that the postal service is much better, more efficient, cheaper."

Carney admits that while voter turnout has reached record highs, he does not, according to his calculations, favor each side. A week out of the election, the Carney model, which gives every voter a score that guesses how likely it is to vote for each party, estimates that the Republican ticket had a 10 point lead over the Democratic one.

Carney downplayed the impact of the record number of voters added to the rolls since the last midterm elections. "Even the new voters from the Bee-to or whatever his name took all this momentum and all these new voters since last week, only 48,700 [of them] had voted, and we certainly had our own, "he says. If O'Rourke can not get at least three-quarters of the Spanish vote, according to Carney," It's a toast. "

Ambar Calvillo-Rivera, vice president of campaigns for the non-prolonged voter registration group Voto Latino, says he feels excited about the level of excitement he sees in Texas, where the organization held one of the biggest recording albums earlier this year. Speaking less than a week before the election, Calvillo-Rivera scored large numbers of early voters in areas like Harris County and Fort Bend. From El Paso, he says, "In previous years, he had unfortunate participation rates. But just in the early days of early voting, they have exceeded the total number of votes in 2014 and 2012 – and this is for mid-term elections."

According to Texas Foreign Secretary, 123,588 voted in O'Hare's home country of El Paso, which is heading to the last day of the early vote, almost those voted in 2016, but still account for 27% of all registered voters . O'Rourke will have to overcome much what he wants to win and he has to overcome the margins in all the major cities of Texas, where 75% of the state's population currently lives.

The Republicans are still certain, but Carney says carefully. "There is nothing we can assume. We do not sleep well, we do not freeze the champagne," he says. "Until the polls are closed in El Paso at 8am Central Time, we will not get the foot out of the pedal."

None of the campaigns are and their participation is on both sides. In the entire state, the share of registered voters was shown in polls: 32.3 percent in Harris County, Houston, double the 15.5 percent voted in early 2014, 35.1 percent in Dallas County, from 15 , 2 per cent in the last mid-term elections. In the Travis area of ​​Austin, 42 percent voted early, surpassing the number he voted in early 2014 and 2012, approaching the 2016 levels. And in Tarrant County – Fort Worth's home and the most conservative of major urban areas του Τέξας – σχεδόν το 37% είχε ήδη ψηφίσει, διπλασιάζοντας τον αριθμό που ψήφισε στο τελευταίο μέσον. Σύμφωνα με έναν αναλυτή, το ποσοστό των νέων – ηλικίας 18 έως 30 ετών – ήταν πάνω από 500 τοις εκατό σε σύγκριση με τις τελευταίες ενδιάμεσες εκλογές.

Αυτοί είναι ενθαρρυντικοί αριθμοί για τον O'Rourke. θα μπορούσαν να δείχνουν τη νίκη, και όχι μόνο γι 'αυτόν – γιατί αν ρωτήσετε τον O'Rourke, η Betomania δεν ήταν πάντα γι' αυτόν.

«Φέρνω με μένα ό, τι μου είπε ο καθένας για το τι βασίζονται», μου λέει στο παρασκήνιο στο Ώστιν. "Γιατί οι εκλογές αυτές είναι σημαντικές, γιατί πρέπει να το κάνουμε αυτό. Αλλά επίσης μεταφέρω από όλους όσους έχω γνωρίσει, που αισθάνεται εξίσου επείγουσα όπως και εγώ, για να διασφαλίσω ότι θα παραδώσουμε αυτή τη χώρα τώρα. Κάθε στιγμή που είμαι ποτέ, μπορώ να το κάνω; Είμαι αρκετά ισχυρός; Έχω το αέριο; Θα το κάνω; Αν πάρω μια αναπνοή και κάνω ένα βήμα πίσω και βλέπω όλους τους ανθρώπους που είναι μαζί μου ότι το κάνω, τότε αισθάνομαι καλά. Αισθάνομαι βέβαιη. Αισθάνομαι ισχυρή. Νιώθω ενθαρρυνμένος. Νιώθω τόσο αισιόδοξος όσο ήμουν ποτέ.

"Νομίζω ότι αυτό είναι το κλειδί: Δεν μπορείτε να το βάλετε σε ένα άτομο, γιατί κανείς δεν μπορεί να το κάνει αυτό. Πρέπει να είναι σε όλους μας. Και αν μπορώ να το θυμηθώ αυτό, θα είμαστε καλά. "