Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Beto O'Rourke Spent The Independence Day Weekend In Beet Red Lubbock


Lubbock, Texas is the 11th biggest city in Texas, with a population of about a quarter million-- and over 325,000 in the metro area, one of the world's biggest cotton-growing areas. The mayor, Dan Pope, a Democrat, won his seat last year when far right Republican Glen Robertson retired. That part of Texas, though, is very red, very, very red. Lubbock is the biggest city in the 19th congressional district, one of Texas' most heavily Republican. The PVI is R+26 and it gave Obama just 25% of it's vote against Romney. Last year Trump beat Hillary there 72.5% to 23.5%. And in Lubbock County alone, Trump beat Hillary 65,566 (66.9%) to 27,956 (28.5%). Hillary did incredibly well in parts of Texas-- particularly in well-off, well-educated suburbs around Houston, Dallas. Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio that Republicans have taken for granted. But not in TX-19 or Lubbock.

The freshman congressman, Jodey Arrington, is a right-wing crackpot who was reelected in the open seat-- right-wing crackpot Randy Neugebauer having retired-- without Democratic opposition. A Green and a Libertarian ran against him and Arrington took 86.7%. Normally Democrats didn't challenge Neugebauer either, though when Democrat Neal Marchbanks ran against him in 2014, the score was Neugebauer 77.1%, Marchbanks 18.4%.

That all said, Beto made Lubbock ground zero for for his folksy grassroots Senate campaign for the seat Ted Cruz is trying to hold onto. On Monday, Beto hosted a 7 pm barbecue dinner and meet-and-greet at the J&M BBQ Restaurant on 34th Street, a follow-up to his April rally in Lubbock. And then yesterday he and his family marched in Lubbock's 4th of July parade, a long Lubbock tradition (which Cruz skipped). So why Lubbock?

We reached Beto after yesterday's parade and asked him just that. The answer he gave is part of why he's becoming so popular in parts of Texas that never see Democrats any more. Many people wish outfits like the DCCC would pay attention to what Beto is doing. "Democrats haven't been campaigning in places like Lubbock," he told us, "so it's no wonder that we haven't been winning. I'm showing up and listening to the people I want to represent. I often learn something new or understand an issue better by seeing it from a different perspective. Campaigning in Lubbock or Canyon or Plainview and then being in Houston or Austin or Dallas are not mutually exclusive and all are important to winning and then excelling in service once in the Senate."

In 2012 Cruz eviscerated Democrat Paul Sadler in places like Lubbock. Lubbock County went massivey for Cruz, 62,313 (69.7%) to 24,139 (27.0%). Beto doesn't have to win Lubbock to displace Cruz-- and no one thinks Cruz is going to run up a 70% share of the vote next year, not against Beto. The progressive pro-family platform Beto lays out for people isn't what they hear on Hate Talk Radio but it still makes sense. "We need a single-payer healthcare system for all Americans," he tells his supporters. "It's the only way to ensure that everyone who needs to see a doctor is able to see a doctor-- preventatively, consistently and with real continuity of care. If we wait until someone is in crisis or shows up at the Emergency Room to take care of them, it's going to be worse for them and more expensive for the taxpayer." He explains why has hasn't signed on as a co-sponsor to John Conyers' Medicare-For-All legislation.
How do we ensure that everyone in this country can see a medical provider when they need to and at the same time drive down total medical spending? How do you ensure that doctors, nurses, psychiatrists and psychologists are focused on their patients and not spending their time working for the insurance companies? How do we free up the economic and creative potential that could be unleashed if healthcare were not a function of wealth, employment or luck?

The only way I can figure out how to get all of that done is to have one system that covers every American and works with every hospital, clinic, and doctor's practice-- private, public or non-profit-- in the country.

I like Medicare. It's not perfect, but the satisfaction rates are high, the administrative costs are low, and it may be the single most successful healthcare program in our country.

There's a bill called "Medicare for All" (HR 676) that has gained a lot of support for these very reasons. Like the woman who spoke with me in Austin this weekend, many of you have written to me to ask why I have not signed on.

The way it's written, HR 676 would only provide Medicare reimbursements to non-profit providers. In other words, unlike Medicare-- which reimburses care at both for-profit and not-for-profit providers-- HR 676 would fundamentally change Medicare, limiting the pool of potential providers, and therefore the choice available to Americans when seeking healthcare. I've asked the author of HR 676 to change the bill and have it do exactly what Medicare does: reimburse medical providers, regardless of whether they work at a not-for-profit or for-profit institution. If Medicare works for current beneficiaries, why would we change it when we open it up to all Americans?

I am exploring an alternative to the Medicare for All bill that would allow Medicare to work for everybody the way it does right now for Americans ages 65 and over. I'm hopeful that this will provide a path for members of Congress who want to make sure that we do the right thing in a way that has the best chance for success and the greatest level of support across the political spectrum.

What we invest in our nation's healthcare system, we're going to get back many times over in the productivity of the American citizen, in the health of our communities and the success we see in our families. Those are our values -- and those values transcend party lines. Those values are family values. Those values are Texas values. And that's what we must continue to fight for.
Goal Thermometer His message is starting to resonate. It's extremely different from Cruz's harsh austerity agenda. But Texans in parts of the state that the Democratic Party wrote off years ago are getting to an alternative now. If you'd like to help Beto keep getting that alternative out to folks in places like Lubbock, as well as Plano, Laredo, Amarillo, McKinney, Mesquite, Killeen, Midland, Waco, Abilene, Odessa, Round Rock, Wichita Falls and San Angelo, please consider contributing to Beto's campaign by taping on the ActBlue Senate 2018 thermometer on the right. Democrats aren't going to start winning back the country again until they resume laying out a clear alternative to right-wing politicians like Ted Cruz in places like Laredo that have long been written off by the party. It's worth the investment even if it doesn't pay off in one or even two cycles. This year two Democrats are already competing for the Democratic nomination to run for Congress in TX-19, Berniecrat Dan Epstein and El Paso-born Miguel Levario. And having Democrats getting out the vote in the sprawling 19th district is only going to help Beto in his race against Cruz. The DCCC may follow in years to come, but the only way to start winning in places like Lubbock is to show up and be part of the conversation.

In fact, both Epstein and Levario marched alongside O'Rourke in the parade. "We’ve been busy trying to be active, and more importantly trying to inform people that the Democratic Party does exist here in Lubbock," Levario said. "Not only that, it’s an organized party and very much engaged. Ever since the election we’ve seen far more people than ever before at our events. Every time Beto comes into town the crowds get bigger and bigger. We were at fire code yesterday. We’re an underdog, we understand that, but we’re also hopeful." Epstein added that he senses a movement building in west Texas. "It can’t be just one small group of elites who get to pick everything with no competition. The party had kind of seeped away from places like West Texas, now people are starting to wonder who’s speaking up for them. I feel like that is coming back." Today's Lubbock Avalanche-Journal game Beto's visit some good, solid local play, the kind that will help people know that there's an alternative to Ted Cruz. As they informed their readers, "O’Rourke chose to wave to and shake hands with the citizens of Lubbock. The place that’s often coined one of the most conservative places in the country. Lubbock hasn’t sent a Democrat to Congress since Kent Hance (who later switched parties) in the mid-’80s." The dinner was described a "standing room-only welcome dinner," with people chanting "Beto!"
“This is my third visit to Lubbock this year,” O’Rourke said when he arrived Monday evening. “The first few times we’ve come, folks have been so kind and welcoming, when (his wife) Amy and I were thinking about where to take the kids for the 4th of July, Lubbock made a ton of sense. And they had not been here before, so I wanted to introduce them to some of the great people we’ve met here.”

Plus he said it’s only a short, six-hour drive from El Paso.

He was first elected to Congress in 2012. Living in the city that’s as far west in Texas as one can get, the Senate candidate said he sees a lot of similarities in these two West Texas cities.

“Folks are so incredibly kind and welcoming here, and I find that to be the case in El Paso,” he said. “I also get the sense that we don’t always have the focus and attention and the resources paid to parts of West Texas-- whether we’re in Lubbock, whether we’re in Plainview or whether we’re in El Paso-- that we really merit and should. We need someone who’s going to be fighting for us; that’s a theme I hear here. I also find people that are independent, take matters into their own hands and aren’t waiting for government to solve all their problems, but they do want someone who’s gonna fight for them.”

...After reflecting on Independence Day, O’Rourke dove into a few issues. He criticized the health care bill that Cruz was part of crafting, the immigration policies President Donald Trump is pushing and the enhanced incarceration efforts of the Trump administration. He countered those issues by calling health care a right, calling for comprehensive immigration reform and calling on ending the war on drugs.

He also discussed the need for term limits and his bill to prevent congressional candidates and members of Congress from taking PAC money. Many of his talking points were met with cheers. “Who knew there were Democrats in Lubbock?” he said at one point.

The following morning, O’Rourke joined the Lubbock County Democrats in Lubbock’s 27th annual 4th on Broadway parade. The congressman walked alongside the float, giving children high-fives and adults handshakes while someone in a float with a microphone hollered “Beto for Senate.”

...O’Rourke took to the road again after the parade wrapped up and went north to Canyon where the Canyon Chamber of Commerce hosted an Independence Day Fair.
Ted Cruz was in McAllen on the 4th, making-- or at least trying to make-- a speech. It went pretty badly, at least for him:

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At 4:23 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

The plain truth is progressives have something of importance to say and offer to the American people and the Republicans have zip - only lies, obfuscations, hate and fear tactics. it has become blatantly clear how truly awful the Republicans are and whom they represent - certainly not the American people.

At 5:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hone, please read this:

Fact is it's precisely the hate and fear and the bullying that these stunted dumbfucktards WANT.

Fact is that it's STILL FUCKING TEXAS. He may find receptive people everywhere, even large crowds of them. But he needs to chant the mantra: "it's STILL FUCKING TEXAS" until he remembers it.

As described to me by one of TX's finest Austin denizens: "Even when we KNOW the other guy is far superior and/or 'our' guy is dangerous or insane or stupid, when we get into the booth and are forced to choose, we just cannot seem to make ourselves vote D" It's a combination of religious delusion (about Ds), brain-washing since birth about the superiority of Rs over everyone and simple hate (Ds are seen as the party of n----rs, s--cks, ch--ks and jews).

A sane society would never elect ted cruz over even a lake of pig shit. Yet he gets no less than 3 in 4 in TX.


At 5:04 AM, Blogger Susan Barrick said...

Only one thing wrong with this post. DAN POPE is NOT A DEMOCRAT. Public records show he has voted in each and every Republican primary from 2006 forward. In 2003 he donated $1000 to Randy Neugebauer (U.S. House District 19 - R). In 2006 he donated $1,400 to Neugebauer, In 2008 he donated $1000 to McCain (President - R). In 2014 he donated $500 to Roger Williams (U.S. House from Texas - R). See


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