'Greatest Ally' of Biden's Campaign Isn't Obvious

At the Guardian, Ed Pilkington argues it could be Beto O'Rourke
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2020 3:14 PM CDT
Could Beto Be Biden's Big Asset?
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a Biden for President Black economic summit at Camp North End in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Cindy McCain might be Joe Biden's favorite person this week. But the Guardian argues that Beto O’Rourke could end up his "greatest ally" of the campaign. That's because O'Rourke—a one-time Biden rival for the 2020 Democratic nomination—thinks Texas and its 38 electoral college votes could go blue and is actively working to make that happen. Though the state been staunchly red when it comes to presidential politics since Jimmy Carter's 1976 win, O'Rourke says that since his 2.6-point loss to Ted Cruz in 2018, another 2 million voters have been registered in the state. He says he's been pushing the Biden campaign hard to care about Texas, and he's mobilizing his 6,000-volunteer Powered by People to drum up Democratic support in the state, with a focus on Latino Texans near the border, whom he says the Democrats have been overlooking. More on Texas 2020:

  • O'Rourke sees another reason for Biden-Harris to focus on Texas—it could be ammunition should Trump lose the election and try to contest it. "If Texas comes in for a Democrat for the first time in almost half a century the shock will be seismic. Trump may or may not accept those results, but the rest of the country absolutely will. It will forever reorder what’s possible."
  • Ed Pilkington writes that the interview with O'Rourke was "a strange experience" in that O'Rourke is still full of the infectious enthusiasm that drew people to him in 2018—but he's not running. O'Rourke addressed that: "It’s a real test. Can I help have an impact on elections across Texas when I’m not myself a candidate? I think the answer is yes."

  • The RNC sent seven-figure checks to six state parties in August, and one raised Politico's eyebrows: Texas, which got $1.3 million. It's an amount "on par with what central battlegrounds like Arizona and North Carolina" and the most the Texas state party has ever been sent from the RNC at one time. Republicans didn't seem too flustered by the transfer. "Call me again if it’s $10 million or $20 million," one national GOP strategist said.
  • So what does FiveThirtyEight currently see? When it averages current polls it comes up with 47.5% for Trump and 46.6% for Biden. But when it adjusts for factors like economics and incumbency it comes up with a wider margin of 51.2% to 47.8%.
  • Fox2 looks at the state's changing makeup: Its population has ballooned 15.3%, or by 3.8 million people, between April 2010 and July 2019, a jump big enough that in the 2024 election it could have 41 electoral votes to dole out. The state is 53% Hispanic and black, increasingly urban, and increasing young. In fact, 33% of voters in the state are expected to be under 30, says a political science professor at Texas A&M University.
(More Election 2020 stories.)

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