Famed progressive Beto O’Rourke, who gained prominence through his failed Senate race in Texas, has come under fire, but not from his usual adversaries.
Bernie Sanders supporters have attacked him before but recent news has put his presidential prospects in danger. Not because of old tweets or a speaking error, (as often happens in politics) but for bipartisanship.
A report released by legislative analyzers Capital & Main revealed that Beto has a flair for reaching across the aisle. Despite representing a district more solidly blue than Massachusetts, the Texas congressman has repeatedly voted with Republicans during his term.
FiveThirtyEight calculated that O’Rourke has sided with Trump a shocking 30% of the time. This makes him one of the most bipartisan Democrats in Congress and even one of the most bipartisan politicians overall.
While most Americans appreciate Bipartisanship, the radical left isn’t too happy.
O’Rourke’s voting record on climate change especially damages his chances of winning the primary. During the election, he referred to it as “the defining existential threat of our time,” but he voted to lift the ban on crude oil exports not just once, but twice.
He also voted against a proposed ban on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, a ban that doubtless would have taken thousands of jobs from his fellow Texans. While many Americans see such legislation as radical, the left adores extreme measures.
O’Rourke’s progressive credentials on immigration have also been shaken. He supported Trump-backed legislation to waive the requirement that border agents take polygraph tests in 2017. Beto’s enemies may use this to tie him to what they consider to be an attempt by Trump to pave the way for mass deportations.
Despite this scandal, there is a good chance he could still win if he sought a higher office. Though he lost his Senate bid, he outperformed any Texas Democrat in recent memory. Furthermore, his support from a vast array of Clinton and Obama aides could likely help. Their experience and guidance, as well as support from Obama himself, will give him an edge in the Democrat’s crowded field of candidates.
His bipartisanship may hurt him in the primaries. However, should he prevail, it will no doubt give him wider appeal among independents.