O’Rourke Campaign Was Helpful to Trump
Written by Steve Byas
“Though today we are suspending this campaign,” former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke (shown) said in an email to supporters on Friday, announcing his exit from the presidential race, “let us continue our commitment to the country in whatever capacity we can.”
O’Rourke never generated much traction in his bid for the White House, but during the time he was in the race, he probably helped the reelection effort of President Donald Trump. With his vow to confiscate certain types of guns from law-abiding citizens, to his promise that he would strip religious institutions of their tax-exempt status if they continued to regard certain sexual activity as a sin, O’Rourke revealed the sinister anti-gun rights and anti-religious-liberty agenda that much of the Left prefers to keep hidden until they are ready to implement it.
“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” O’Rourke said in September, during a Democratic presidential debate. The partisan audience cheered as O’Rourke emphatically asserted that a President O’Rourke would take guns away from American citizens who have committed no crimes. “We’re not going to allow it [certain guns] to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.”
Some Democrats expressed concern that O’Rourke’s boldly stated intention to confiscate guns would be used against the rest of the Democratic field, including whichever one is the eventual nominee. For years, “gun control” advocates have protested that they had no intention of taking away firearms from law-abiding citizens. Now, O’Rourke has voiced publicly what many on the Left have intended, once they believed they could get away with it.
O’Rourke has frequently used profanity during his campaign, including in his speeches words that would have summarily ended a political campaign only a few short years ago. It is clear that the former Texas congressman was not expecting much support from those in religious communities who found such language objectionable, but O’Rourke also made it quite clear during a CNN town hall event last month on LGBTQ policies that he had little respect for religious liberty.
CNN’s Don Lemon asked O’Rourke whether the government should punish religious organizations who follow their religious beliefs about marriage — that it should be restricted to one man and one woman. Lemon quoted O’Rourke’s literature which stated quite bluntly, “Freedom of religion is a fundamental right but it should not be used to discriminate.”
Lemon then asked,
“Do you think religious institutions, like colleges, churches, charities, should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage?”
O’Rourke did not hesitate, answering, “Yes.”
“There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for any one or any institution, any organization in America that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us. And so as president, we’re gonna make that a priority, and we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the civil rights of our fellow Americans.”
Again, it is likely that O’Rourke had only enunciated publicly what many on the Left privately feel. When he was running for president in 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama told a group of donors in Pennsylvania that there are many Americans who “cling” to their guns and their Bibles. Guns and Bibles, or guns and any sincerely-held religious beliefs do not appear to garner much respect among liberals today.
For years, gun-control advocates have assured Americans that it is not their intention to confiscate the weapons held lawfully by U.S. citizens. But now, the mask is coming off, as O’Rourke and other Democratic presidential hopefuls apparently believe outright gun confiscation is popular. Former Vice President Joe Biden (who has been known to use pretty salty language himself) said during the same debate, “Over 90 percent of the American people think we gave to get assault weapons off the street — period.”
The O’Rourke campaign always seemed like a longshot. He came to national prominence during his unsuccessful challenge to the reelection of Senator Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican, in 2018. Because O’Rourke managed to come within three percentage points of Cruz, he apparently believed the momentum of that strong showing meant that he could go national.
But O’Rourke overlooked some important facts, one being that Cruz — who finished a strong second to Trump in the 2016 Republican presidential contest was considered a national target for defeat by the Democratic Party. As such, he was able to set fundraising records that gave him a huge boost against Cruz.
Obviously, O’Rourke could not count on the same financial support against fellow Democrats that he had received across the country when he was trying to defeat Cruz. And he did not get it.
Some have encouraged O’Rourke to run for the U.S. Senate in Texas against the Lone Star State’s other Republican senator, Jon Cornyn. But in 2020, the presidential contest will suck up much of the oxygen and much of the Democrat dollars, and without those dollars, it is unlikely that O’Rourke could stir up as much animosity against Cornyn among his fellow Democrats as he did against Cruz.
Which means that O’Rourke’s political career may have ended, at least for now. But his campaign for president was not without its impact, as he gave the Republicans generally, and President Trump, in particular, plenty of ammunition to use against his Democratic nominee. Being for gun confiscation and going against religious liberty is probably not winning positions for any presidential hopeful.
Thank you, Beto.
Steve Byas is a university professor of history and government and author of History’s Greatest Libels. He may be contacted at [email protected].
Courtesy of The New American