O’Rourke visits Mississippi towns targeted in ICE raids
CANTON, Miss. (AP) — Democrat Beto O’Rourke on Friday became the first presidential candidate to visit one of the Mississippi towns where federal immigration agents recently raided chicken processing plants and arrested nearly 700 people — beginning a revamped campaign he says will now focus more on highlighting President Donald Trump’s destructive rhetoric and polices than hitting states that vote early in primary season.
It was the former Texas congressman’s first campaign stop since he suspended his White House bid for nearly two weeks to stay in his hometown of El Paso, where a mass shooting killed 22 people on Aug. 3. The gunman drove 600-plus miles to open fire near the U.S.-Mexico border after posting an anti-immigrant screed online — and O’Rourke says Trump’s embrace of racism and anti-immigrant sentiment helped inspire the attack.
He still plans to visit Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, which kick off presidential primary voting, but has vowed to also travel the country to highlight the stories of some of those people he says have been most hurt by Trump administration policies.
That brought O’Rourke to Canton, home to a plant owned by Peco Foods Inc., which was among those raided on Aug. 7. He spoke for about 15 minutes in Spanish to a woman who owns a small grocery store in a neighborhood with many immigrants from Honduras and Guatemala. He also chatted with others, but many didn’t want to speak to reporters for fear of reprisal from federal immigration authorities.
Mother Jones - Pema Levy
Beto O’Rourke Is About to Run the Campaign Pollsters Warned Against
He’s throwing out the playbook, the corn dogs, and maybe even the clean language. ...
Still, for the most part, O’Rourke has stuck to the script. After running an unconventional Senate campaign in 2018 that brought him within a hair of winning Texas, he entered the presidential race as a top candidate, and he campaigned in the usual, safe way. He spent enormous amounts of time in Iowa and New Hampshire. He stopped jumping on tables and countertops to address crowds. He stopped swearing. And his poll numbers dropped. Lost amid rivals with better name recognition (Biden, Sanders) and fiery debate performances (Warren, Harris), his average support in polls has fallen below 3 percent.
On Thursday, O’Rourke officially threw out the book. It wasn’t working for his struggling campaign. And, he argued Thursday in an address announcing his return to the campaign trail after taking 10 days off to respond to the mass shooting in his hometown, it wasn’t working for the country. The book is for normal times and normal elections. But if you believe that Trump is an existential threat to this country, he argued, then something different is needed. The book does a disservice because it signals that everything is normal.
“As we had head back on the campaign trail today, I know there’s a way to do this better,” O’Rourke said, standing before a lectern on a hill, with the modest El Paso skyline behind him. “And that came to me last week. Someone asked if I was going to be heading back to Iowa to go to the Iowa State Fair. Corn dogs and Ferris wheels. And I said, ‘No, I cannot go back for that, but I also cannot go back to that.’ The kind of challenges that we face in this country at this moment of crisis require an urgency.” Instead, he would draw a new campaign map. “To those places where Donald Trump has been terrorizing and terrifying and demeaning our fellow Americans, that’s where you will find me in this campaign,” he pledged. “Anyone that this president puts down, we are going to do our best to lift up.”
O’Rourke didn’t swear in this speech, but the new type of campaign he promised was even more striking. The El Paso attack, he said, was the turning point for him. “I see more clearly” after the massacre, he said again and again. What he saw was that Trump’s rhetoric and actions threatened to turn—and had turned—Americans violently against each other. He drew a straight line from Trump‘s incitements to violence at his rallies to the deaths of 22 people at the Walmart. “I’m confident that if at this moment we do not wake up to this threat, then we as a country will die in our sleep,” O’Rourke warned Thursday.
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/20 ... d-against/... O’Rourke is doing what the pollsters and pundits warned explicitly not to do: Make it about Trump. When Elizabeth Warren launched her campaign, she famously didn’t even mention Trump as she made her way across Iowa and New Hampshire.
O’Rourke’s speech was also a love letter to El Paso and a plea to confront racism. But at its core, it was a campaign relaunch centered on confronting the president. Instead of taking the Houston Chronicle’s advice to drop out and run for Senate again, O’Rourke on Thursday explained why he would plow on: “We must take the fight directly to the source of this problem—that person who has caused this pain and placed this country in this moment of peril. And that is Donald Trump.”
This may not be the campaign anyone recommended. And it’s still unlikely to make O’Rourke the nominee. But the “twist,” says Democratic pollster Mark Mellman, is that it sets him apart. “Since they are all out there saying what they are for, there is potentially room for someone to say, ‘I’m the biggest enemy of Donald Trump.’” For a candidate whose poll numbers are in the low single digits, whose fundraising has lagged, and who needs to make a change, Mellman says, this is “not crazy.”
In some ways, it’s vintage O’Rourke: an inspirational candidate who can diagnose the country’s problems but is vague yet hopeful on how to fix them. “I want to be the leader for this country that we need right now and that we do not have,” he said Thursday, appearing far more confident and assertive than in his wooden debate performances. “Someone who will not only not tear us apart, but do everything within their power to bring us together. Someone who doesn’t enflame but instead heals.” It sounded like O’Rourke in 2018, and a bit like the guy who, before announcing his candidacy, took a road trip to ponder his future and connect with the people in diners. This time, it’s a trip to the places targeted by Trump.
O’Rourke’s campaign relaunch is still unlikely to make him the nominee. But if he’s to have any chance, he seems to have realized, he needs to do something different—to show that when it comes to the usual campaign playbook, he no longer gives a f*ck.
He's doing what needs to be done. And I'm glad. It doesn't matter whether this helps or hurts his campaign for the House, Senate or White House. It needs to be done, no holds barred.
Insert signature here: ____________________________________________________
Yeah, that's why it doesn't matter in terms of any campaign he might think he's running. He can go all out against Trump, no holds barred, while the more likely nominees can focus on a wider range of issues.
Insert signature here: ____________________________________________________
I think he might be doing himself some good.
Beto O’Rourke to Travel to Oklahoma City Bombing Site
The trip marks a new approach for O’Rourke as he hopes to make trips around the country outside of the early voting states.
After recasting his presidential candidacy in urgent terms during a speech in El Paso on Thursday, Beto O’Rourke, the former congressman from the Texas border city, will visit two sites in Oklahoma on Monday to call attention to domestic terrorism.
He is expected to visit the memorial site of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where in 1921 white citizens attacked black residents and businesses in one of the worst episodes of racial violence in American history.
The trip is part of an effort from the Texas Democrat to diversify his campaign stops beyond just the early primary states as he seeks to more directly confront President Trump, focus on immigration and gun control, and speak with communities that have been historically impacted by racism and terror throughout the country.
“The terrorist attack on El Paso was not a fluke or standalone event," O'Rourke told The Daily Beast on Friday. "Since our country’s founding, our history has been stained by the dark legacy of racial violence and domestic terror—a legacy this state has been forced to reckon with from The Tulsa Massacre to the Oklahoma City Bombing.”
He went on to say that Trump has only exacerbated that racist violence since taking office.
2020 hopeful Beto O'Rourke visited an Arkansas gun show to talk about gun control ...
O'Rourke, who was in between campaign events in Arkansas on Saturday, paid $10 to enter the event, and walked through aisles lined with handguns, AR-15s, stun guns, hunting rifles, scopes, magazines and knives before striking up a conversation with Preston Linck, who was selling handguns and rifles.
Linck, who later said he doesn't identify with either political party, supports closing the so-called gun-show loophole and requiring background checks for all gun sales.
"I have tables here, but there's no background check," Linck told O'Rourke, a former Texas congressman.
O'Rourke asked him whether Linck would accept a requirement that gun-show sellers like him get a federal firearms license, and Linck responded he would. "Just the only little problem I see, there's so many guns out there, even if you tried to stop selling, they're already out there," Linck told O'Rourke.
But he was skeptical of a proposal O'Rourke made a few days ago -- a mandatory assault weapons buy-back because he doesn't think people would willingly participate.
Larry Beaver, another attendee at the show and a self-described Republican Trump supporter, said he owns many firearms, including assault rifles.
"If you want votes, you're not going to get them by talking about taking this away from people," Beaver told O'Rourke. "People are going to find a way to kill people."
Beto O'Rourke, taking retooled message to Oklahoma, calls Trump a racist 'demagogue'
TULSA — Beto O'Rourke brought his retooled presidential campaign message to Oklahoma on Monday, hoping to ignite a crusade against racism and intolerance that unseats President Donald Trump and propels him to the White House.
"It is not enough, ladies and gentlemen, not to be racist in this country," O'Rourke said at a brewery in downtown Tulsa on Sunday night. "We have to be anti-racist in this country. We have to shut down white supremacy, domestic terrorism, white nationalism, and call them out for what they are."
O'Rourke, the former congressman from El Paso, has branded Trump a racist president whose caustic rhetoric about Hispanic immigrants led to the August mass shooting in his hometown, and to a spread of white supremacy and intolerance that threatens the moral objectives of the nation.
"If we fail to make progress on every issue of importance to every American, beginning with their dignity as human beings, we have every chance of losing them to demagogues like Donald Trump, who will channel that anger and frustration at our government's dysfunction, not on those who hold positions of public trust and power, but against immigrants, against the defenseless, against the most vulnerable in our community," O'Rourke said.
Pulling single digits in Democratic primary polls, O'Rourke hopes his focus on racial divisions will cast him as the uniter needed to bring the country together and to drive Trump from the White House.
‘This is your job, not ours’: O’Rourke campaign, stung by Twitter smear, implores tech firms to erase disinformation
Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign sent letters to major technology companies Friday morning imploring them to do more to root out disinformation ahead of the 2020 election.
The pointed appeals, from campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon, came after a conspiracy theory falsely linking the former Texas congressman to the gunman who killed seven people in two west Texas towns on Saturday was allowed to spread on social media this week, garnering thousands of shares and, according to the campaign, at one point becoming the second-highest-trending Google search query related to the candidate in the preceding seven days.
Among those who amplified the deceptive claim, which appeared to originate on Twitter with the charge that the gunman was a democratic socialist with an O’Rourke sticker on his truck, were Anthony Shaffer, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and member of an advisory board whose mission is to promote President Trump, and Sebastian Gorka, who worked briefly in the White House.
Radio Atlantic: On the Road With Beto
This week, Beto O’Rourke took a bus out of New York. Not a campaign bus, just a regular old bus. Isaac Dovere joined for the trip, and they talked about how the presidential candidate has been changed by the recent mass shootings in West Texas.
Beto O'Rourke reports Texas lawmaker to FBI over AR tweet 'death threat'
A Texas state lawmaker has been reported to the FBI for making what Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke considered a death threat, after O’Rourke called for a mandatory buyback of assault rifles during Thursday’s Democratic debate in Houston.
At the debate, O'Rourke was asked if he would stand by his announced plan to force owners of the weapons most often used in mass shootings to surrender them to the government.
“Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15,” the former Texas congressman shouted, to cheers from the audience. “We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.”
Briscoe Cain, a Republican serving in the Texas House of Representatives, responded with a tweet that read: “My AR is ready for you Robert Francis.”