Despite his loss, Beto O’Rourke instills hope for Texans

Chloe Lawrence, Columnist

During his campaign, Beto O’Rourke surpassed Governor Abbott’s fundraising and drew large crowds throughout the state. However, despite his efforts, he has never won an election outside of his hometown.

Beto’s loss to Governor Abbott for Texas governor felt like a blow. While some were cautiously optimistic about a Democratic victory, the majority were not surprised. After his third defeat, some Texans are losing hope for the Democratic party. However, despite the outcome, Beto O’Rourke still made an impact on Texans and the Democratic Party.

In what is now his third gubernatorial election campaign, Abbott played it safe and stuck to the script. He ran on improving the economy and made controversial statements which, ironically, got him more media coverage. Abbott was considered a safe option for many voters, but does not stand out the way Beto does.

Beto is such an impactful candidate because he is unapologetically honest and personable. He doesn’t play the game that so many politicians do, saying the things they think people want to hear to get their vote. Instead, Beto is genuine. He’s a person that voters felt like they could  laugh with, relate to and look up to. For some, he’s the first candidate they’ve ever identified with in this way.

“As a young Latina, I felt very safe with his campaign; I felt he cared about the people,” social work senior Jackelyn Ortega Duque said. Most of all, you saw him going to campuses, towns, cities and wanting to hear the opinions and voices of people of marginalized groups, of everyone in all honesty.” 

Beto invested his time and his energy in multiple campaigns, not for himself but for the people of Texas. His focus on young voters, college students especially, will set the stage for future democratic nominees. 

Allison Verrilli, a second year Ph.D student in the department of government, believes that Beto kickstarted what will probably be a 10 or 20 year movement.

“I think Beto made a difference or can make a difference by bringing in new voters. I think his campaign energized a lot of young people,” Verrilli said.  “We will look back and say like this was really important, how much he engaged in that voter mobilization and education throughout Texas.” 

Verrilli elaborated by pointing out that Georgia’s democratic flip has been largely attributed to the work of Stacey Abrams, who similarly engaged people who may not typically vote. 

Beto’s work in Texas should not be undermined by his loss. He is still a leader who stays true to his word and listens to the people, a true gem in the world of politics. 

Lawrence is a social work major from Austin, Texas.