Beto O’Rourke, former punk rocker and Democrat candidate for the Texas Senate race, has embarked on a tour across the states as he promotes his run for the 2020 presidential race. The former Texas congressman began this campaign tour by taking a stop in Iowa, the state is known for kicking off the presidential primary voting, according to the AP News.
In the tiny town of Burlington, O’Rourke stepped on top of a counter at a local coffee shop and gathered a crowd around him. “Let us not allow our difference to define us at this moment,” he said in front of the crowd. “History calls for us to come together.”
Last year, O’Rourke challenged Republican Sen. Ted Cruz out of nowhere, O’Rourke being an underdog. He grew up and resided in his hometown of El Paso, on Texas’ border with Mexico, not being known by many outside of his town. Through the power of grassroots organizing experience and upper hand on social media, O’Rourke was able to generate a young voter and racial minority turnout, getting within 3 percentage points of winning from the nation’s largest red state.
O’Rourke must now prove to the entire nation that he is capable of maintaining his passion for building relationships with communities reaches beyond the red state. This might be difficult for O’Rourke on the policy side, being he hasn’t demonstrated much experience in working with domestic and foreign policy.
Back in Burlington, O’Rourke was asked about how he’d contrast from his prospecting presidential components. O’Rourke himself said he was unsure, but that he’d never been afraid to work with congressional Republicans. He’d also distinguish himself as he is opening to remaking the structure of the Supreme Court so it reflects “modern U.S. diversity.”
What originally drove voters and the nation to take a second glance at O’Rourke was his past in the punk-rock scene and how open he was to talk about it. Back in the day, O’Rourke escaped to early computer chatrooms and made two close friends along the way, Arlo Klahr and Mike Stevens. The did all sorts of activities from drawing comic books, reading underground fanzines, writing poetry, skateboarding, and taking up a guitar and going to local punk-rock shows, according to a Vanity Fair article.
In the summer of 1991, O’Rourke’s father had signed him up for an internship with West Texas congressman Ron Coleman, whom O’Rourke had no interest in assisting but did so to please his father. Around this time, O’Rourke began to reach out to D.C., a band that had frontman Ian MacKaye, co-founder of Dischord record label. Eventually, he and his El Paso friends Klahr and Stevens formed Foss and recorded their first album, The El Paso Pussycats, and organized a month-long tour with El Paso drummer Cedric Bixler-Zavala, a member of the now successful indie band, At the Drive-In.
In that interview with Vanity Fair, O’Rourke told them he was “just born to be in” the presidential race. Let’s see if he lives up to this.