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How Not to Start Your New Campaign Challenging Ted Cruz for a Texas Senate Seat

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You remember Beto O’Rourke, don’t you? Of course you do. He’s the thrice failed candidate for, well, lots of offices who was only too happy to tell anyone who’d listen that he wants to confiscate their AR-15s. Until recently that was a problem in politics. Democrats at least had the good sense to do a little sidestep and at least claim they really weren’t coming for your guns.

All of that went out the window years ago, though. And that honesty actually works now for many Dems in lots of places. But here in the Lone Star State, where Robert Francis ran two big, expensive, failed campaigns, telling Texans you want to take their guns isn’t a recipe for success in a statewide race.

When Beto challenged Ted Cruz for his Senate seat back in 2018, he had literally every advantage a non-incumbent could ask for. The faux Hispanic from west Texas was billed as the Democrats’ Kennedy-esque great hope for finally turning Texas blue. He was almost suffocated under an avalanche of cash — much, if not most of it from out of state — and Beto outspent the incumbent by about 75 percent. He also got reams of fawning media coverage including an Annie Liebovitz cover shoot.

But in the end, it just wasn’t enough. Telling Texans you plan to confiscate their guns doesn’t win friends in these parts. At least not nearly enough of them. Even with a mountain of money and the help of virtually every media outlet, Beto still fell short by almost three percentage points.

Let’s skip over O’Rourke’s abortive 2020 presidential run…aside for that timeless debate stage quote: “Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15, your AK47.”

Maybe he actually thought he could live that down when he later decided to run for the Texas Governor’s office against incumbent Greg Abbott. At first he tried lying about his stance on gun rights. But he eventually returned to form and Texans weren’t dumb enough to forget it. Abbott trounced him by 11 points.

If there’s one thing the state’s Democrats should have learned from their experience with Robert Francis O’Rourke, it’s that you don’t tell Texans how little regard you have for their gun rights. Beto did that with enthusiasm and proved one thing; rather than being Texas Democrats’ Great Hope, he was nothing more than a Great Dope. Too many Texans love their guns and their rights too much to elect someone like Robert Francis who wants to do away with both.

That’s why the Texas Blue Crew may have a sinking feeling this weekend. A video has just surfaced of the man who’s stepped up to challenge Ted Cruz in 2024. In it, the infelicitously named Rep. Colin Allred opines that it really would have been better if the Second Amendment has never been written.

The topic begins at the 3:00 mark.

 

The person Allred is talking to notes the fact that retired Justice John Paul Stevens had just written that the Second Amendment should be repealed and asks Allred for his thoughts on the matter . . .

Number one, it’s not realistic. Alright, it’s not…. I also think we don’t need to. I think within the confines of the accurately applied Second Amendment, we can do everything we want to do, in terms of regulating weapons and all that. The Second Amendment does have, in the first sentence, in order to maintain a ‘well-regulated militia,’ and then ‘the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’

And it’s two ideas there. The recent trend has only been to focus on the right to bear arms instead of the well-regulated militia part. So I just think we have to accurately apply it.

Would it be better had it had not been written? Of course. But there’s no chance that we’re going to repeal any of the Bill of Rights amendments. …

What we could do, I think, like I said, there’s plenty of room within their, I think, is not allow people to have weapons of war. Not allow them to buy bazookas, buy tanks.

Allred goes on to acknowledge that Stevens’ op-ed was unrealistic. He discusses the Second Amendment more, but the background noise makes it difficult to accurately quote him.

To be sure, Rep. Allred didn’t say he wanted to take anyone’s AR-15 a la Beto. At least not per se. But decrying “weapons of war” and expressing his wish that the Founders hadn’t included the right to keep and bear arms in the Constitution isn’t going to give Texas gun owners — who tend to vote with gusto — any warm fuzzy feelings.

There’s still a long way to go before November, 2024 and no one in the Cruz camp should be popping any champagne corks yet. But Rep. Allred has given them a huge early opening. It’s one that we’re sure they’ll be using often and with great enthusiasm in the next 18 months.

 

 

 

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