By HANNAH ROVNER
One of the hottest names in the Democratic Party right now is Beto O’Rourke. O’Rourke hails from El Paso, Texas, and he makes it very well known. He made national headlines when he ran against Ted Cruz in the race for Texas’s Senate seat in 2018. Although he lost, his name and popularity rose to the top. Constituents from Texas and beyond begged O’Rourke to add his name to the Democratic ticket for 2020. On March 14th, O’Rourke released a homestyle video with him and his wife announcing that he was running for president. Here he decided to run his 2020 campaign under the slogan; “Beto For America”. The logo has struck up conversation on social media due to the fact it looks like the Texas chain “Whataburger” logo for their spicy ketchup. Since Mid-March Beto has been traveling the nation, speaking to voters as to why he should be the next president of the United States.
On Sunday, April 7th, I had the opportunity to hear Beto speak here on campus at the University of Iowa. Hundreds of people from all over Iowa City gathered in the Memorial Union’s ballroom. From toddlers to teenagers to geriatrics, everyone was there for one man. After almost an hour wait, because politicians are notoriously late, O’Rourke emerged from a back room sporting an Iowa Hawkeyes hat. Beto had his stage set in the center of the room surrounded by attendees making the event feel personal and like he was just one among the people rather than a superior figure. The first comments to come out of his mouth were thank you’s followed by a funny story about a boy he met named Matt while washing his hands in the bathroom. Matt had asked him, “Are you here for the Beto event?” Little did Matt know, he was speaking to Beto. Laughs were shared across the ballroom, and from there O’Rourke went into a discussion concerning President Trump’s comments from last week.
Trump stated that our country is “full.” Beto discussed the inhumane treatment and separation of immigrants that has been occurring over the past year. He brought forth comments as to how his city of El Paso, and much of our country, is fueled by Mexican immigrants. He then told several anecdotal stories regarding immigration and dreamers. From there, he moved into a discussion of climate change and how he supports the wind industry for clean renewable energy. The wind industry makes up a large portion of renewable energy sources in Iowa so that was a winning point. He also discussed how he supports farmers and agricultural rights. But, to be brutally honest, after this point I left.
Here is my reasoning for leaving early. Though Beto is loveable and has a great appeal to young and old people alike, he said nothing regarding his platform. So far, Beto O’Rourke has been saying what we SHOULD do, not what HE WILL DO if/when he is elected to be President of the United States. I am aware he just announced his candidacy last month, but if he wants to reel in voters before caucuses, he should have some firm platform stances. The campaign’s website cites his announcement speech, and the quote that really strikes me is, “This is a campaign for America, for everyone in America”. If Beto believes in this campaign for America, why hasn’t he said what he will do for “everyone”? His vision is strong, and his intentions are good, but O’Rourke really needs to put forth what his priorities will be when he steps foot into the White House.
Sophomore Journalism Student
The University of Iowa