It’s probably just me, but the heat makes if difficult to stay focused on just one issue. So here, with my mind wandering on a summer day, are a few random thoughts on the state of the world:
SOCCER RESCUE: The rescue of the 12 teenage soccer players and their coach from the water-filled cave in Thailand was almost like a metaphor for the NATO meeting held around the same time. The effort to save these boys was literally an international one with several countries lending expertise to a job many thought impossible to achieve.
The mission reminded me of the Albert Einstein quote that I keep close at hand on a daily basis: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
That rescue was a miracle.
TEXAS SENATE RACE: Politico has an interesting – and long – story about El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke. Headlined “Beto-mania Sweeps Texas,” the story is written by Ben Schreckinger, who clearly appears to have been swept up in the mania – which may or may not turn out to be real mania. Only time will tell, as they say, whether Beto-mania will translate into votes for the Democratic candidate who is hoping to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.
O’Rourke’s is a long-shot candidacy, by almost any measure. As the story points out, Texas has not elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1988.
“Beto” is a nickname commonly used in Hispanic families and combined with the Irish “O’Rourke” the multicultural moniker conjures some interesting mental images. O’Rourke is fluent in Spanish and uses the language frequently on the campaign trail – a trail he oftentimes travels in running shoes. The Politico story, in fact, opens with Beto presiding at a Fort Worth rally that features a jog along the banks of the Trinity River.
The story goes on to make the point that Texas is close to a demographic shift, perhaps as soon as 2020, that will see the Hispanic population outnumbering whites.
It seems perfectly clear to me that if younger Hispanic men and women – who past voting patterns suggest should skew to the Democrat side – turn out at the polls then Texas will see a return to the once-common sight of Democrats holding state and national offices. That would be in spite of persistent gerrymandering of congressional and legislative districts that has made it difficult for Democrats to win in many locales.
Here’s the way the state is trending, according to the Politico story:
Texas is already one of the most racially diverse states in the country, and its demographics are changing rapidly. Only 31 percent of Texans over the age of 65 are nonwhite, while more than two-thirds of Texans under the age of 19 are nonwhite, as are a majority of Texans ages 20-39. Those changes are driven by the growing Hispanic population.
Some polls have suggested that Beto is much closer to Cruz than anyone would have expected when the Democrat launched his bid with little or no statewide name recognition. The latest fundraising reports show that O’Rourke raised more than twice the amount of money that Cruz did during the second quarter of 2018 – and has more than $14 million in his campaign coffers, compared with $10.4 million for Cruz.
I can count on one hand the number of yard signs I have seen for O’Rourke around Fort Worth but I understand he has drummed up considerable support around these parts. My own view is that “mania” is an overstatement and the chances of Beto unseating Cruz are unlikely.
But November is a long way off and, as we’ve seen many times, a campaign can turn quickly on one gaffe or mistake.
At the very least, this one could be a fun campaign to watch.
WOMEN & HILLARY: I am constantly shocked when I meet women who are leaders in business and life who voted for Donald Trump. What surprises me most is that they frequently say their vote was actually a vote “against” Hillary Clinton.
It’s clear that Clinton failed as a candidate in too many ways to count, but as the first woman to win a major political party’s presidential nomination her greatest failure, perhaps, was her inability to draw votes from women – especially women who I would have expected to see her as a historic symbol of change and a role model for women in business and politics.
Richard Connor is president and publisher of the Fort Worth Business Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org