From The Nation
Just hours after Donald Trump played the cruelest card of the 2018 midterm election season -- announcing that he would try to use an executive order to overturn the constitutional guarantee that people born in the United States are US citizens -- Beto O'Rourke called the president out for again injecting bigotry into American politics. Appearing before a cheering crowd at the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds in Robstown, a largely Latino community of 12,000 in Southeast Texas, O'Rourke was righteous in his rejection of Trumpism.
"This idea that we can scare each other about each other -- based on where we are from, what language we spoke before we came to this country, the color of our skin, the nationality we claimed before we claimed that we were Americans -- is preposterous," declared O'Rourke. "It's un-American. It's not who we are."
As he raced across the sprawling Lone Star state, which has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1988, O'Rourke countered the president's, as well as his opponent Ted Cruz's, explicit embrace of nationalism with a passionate rejection of the politics of divide and conquer.
O'Rourke is not the only candidate making his differences with Trump clear in the final hours before the election that will decide control of the US House of Representatives, the US Senate, and most statehouses. But the Texas Democrat may well be the candidate who is making the biggest and boldest gamble on the better angels of American politics. And it seems to be working. While his remains a long-shot bid, the final polls have shown O'Rourke closing the gap -- pulling to within four points of the incumbent early last week, to within three points later last week and, in a survey released Saturday, at a 49-49 tie.
O'Rourke still has hurdles to overcome in a state where Democrats have been on a losing streak since the mid-1990s. He may not make it over them. But the 46-year-old congressman from El Paso is not slowing down. And he is not closing cautiously. The candidate who has called out racism, xenophobia, and incivility throughout the campaign is finishing off as the antidote to Trump.