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2019


Congress Bills
Quick Facts
Personal Details

Robert "Beto" O'Rourke was a Democratic candidate for president of the United States in 2020. He announced his candidacy on March 14, 2019. On November 1, 2019, O'Rourke announced he was ending his campaign.

From 2013 to 2019, O'Rourke was a Democratic member of the U.S. House, representing Texas' 16th Congressional District. He was first elected in 2012 after defeating incumbent Rep. Silvestre Reyes in the Democratic primary. O'Rourke also served on the El Paso City Council from 2005 to 2011.

In 2018, O'Rourke was a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas. Incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R) defeated O’Rourke in the general election by a margin of 3 percentage points.

Candidate Connection survey in 2019. .

O'Rourke was born in 1972 and grew up in El Paso, Texas. He earned a bachelor's degree in English from Columbia University in 1995.

O'Rourke worked in New York as an art mover, nanny, and proofreader for publisher H.W. Wilson Company. He returned to El Paso in 1998 and co-founded the IT consulting company Stanton Street.

In 2005, O'Rourke was elected to the El Paso City Council, where he served until 2011. He ran to represent Texas' 16th Congressional District in the U.S. House in 2012, defeating eight-term incumbent Silvestre Reyes in the Democratic primary with 51 percent of the vote and winning the general election with 65 percent. He served in the U.S. House until 2019.

O'Rourke challenged Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in the U.S. Senate election for Texas in 2018 and raised more than $80 million for his bid—the most that had ever been raised by a U.S. Senate candidate at the time.

Education

  • BA, English, Columbia University at New York City, 1991-1995

Professional Experience

  • BA, English, Columbia University at New York City, 1991-1995
  • Owner, Stanton Street Technology, 1999-2012

Political Experience

  • BA, English, Columbia University at New York City, 1991-1995
  • Owner, Stanton Street Technology, 1999-2012
  • Candidate, President of the United States, 2020
  • Representative, United States House of Representatives, District 16, 2013-2019
  • Candidate, United States Senate, 2018
  • Member, El Paso City Council, 2005-2011

Former Committees/Caucuses

Former Member, Armed Services Committee, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Fourth Amendment Caucus, United States House of Representatives

Former Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on Health, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on Military Personnel, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on Readiness, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Veterans' Affairs Committee, United States House of Representatives

Other Info

  • Pat

  • El Paso County Commissioner/County Judge

  • Melissa

  • Owner, Charlottes Furniture

Elections

2020

Presidency

An election for president of the United States will be held on November 3, 2020. On March 14, 2019, O'Rourke announced that he was running for president. O'Rourke announced he was ending his campaign on November 1, 2019.

2018

General election
General election for U.S. Senate Texas

Incumbent Ted Cruz defeated Beto O'Rourke and Neal Dikeman in the general election for U.S. Senate Texas on November 6, 2018.

Ted Cruz (R)
50.9%
4,260,553 Votes

Beto O'Rourke (D)
48.3%
4,045,632 Votes

Neal Dikeman (L)
0.8%
65,470 Votes

Total votes: 8,371,655

Democratic primary election
Democratic primary for U.S. Senate Texas

Beto O'Rourke defeated Sema Hernandez and Edward Kimbrough in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate Texas on March 6, 2018.

Beto O'Rourke
61.8%
640,769 Votes

Sema Hernandez
23.7%
245,847 Votes

Silhouette Placeholder Image.png

Edward Kimbrough
14.5%
149,851 Votes

Total votes: 1,036,467

Republican primary election
Republican primary for U.S. Senate Texas

Incumbent Ted Cruz defeated Mary Miller, Bruce Jacobson Jr., Stefano de Stefano, and Geraldine Sam in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate Texas on March 6, 2018.

Ted Cruz
85.3%
1,315,146 Votes

Mary Miller
6.1%
94,274 Votes

Bruce Jacobson Jr.
4.2%
64,452 Votes

Stefano de Stefano
2.9%
44,251 Votes

Silhouette Placeholder Image.png

Geraldine Sam
1.5%
22,767 Votes

Total votes: 1,540,890


2016

rated this race as safely Democratic. Incumbent Beto O'Rourke (D) defeated Jaime Perez (L) and Mary Gourdoux (G) in the general election on November 8, 2016. O'Rourke defeated Ben Mendoza in the Democratic primary on March 1, 2016. No Republicans filed to run in the race.

U.S. House, Texas District 16 General Election, 2016

Party Candidate Vote % Votes
Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBeto O'Rourke Incumbent 85.7% 150,228
Libertarian Jaime Perez 10% 17,491
Green Mary Gourdoux 4.3% 7,510
Total Votes 175,229
Source: Texas Secretary of State

U.S. House, Texas District 16 Democratic Primary, 2016

Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBeto O'Rourke Incumbent 85.6% 40,051
Ben Mendoza 14.4% 6,749
Total Votes 46,800
Source: Texas Secretary of State

2014

O'Rourke won re-election to the U.S. House in 2014. He won the Democratic nomination in the primary election on March 4, 2014, with no opposition. He defeated Corey Roen (R) and Jaime Perez (L) in the general election on November 4, 2014.

U.S. House, Texas District 16 General Election, 2014

Party Candidate Vote % Votes
Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBeto O'Rourke Incumbent 67.5% 49,338
Republican Corey Roen 29.2% 21,324
Libertarian Jaime Perez 3.3% 2,443
Total Votes 73,105
Source: Texas Secretary of State

2012

O'Rourke won the 2012 election for the U.S. House, representing Texas' 16th District. He defeated incumbent Silvestre Reyes and challengers Jerome Tilghman, Ben Mendoza, and Paul Johnson, Jr. in the Democratic primary on May 29, 2012. He then defeated Barbara Carrasco (R) and Junart Sodoy (L) in the general election on November 6, 2012.

U.S. House, Texas District 16 General Election, 2012

Party Candidate Vote % Votes
Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBeto O'Rourke 65.4% 101,403
Republican Barbara Carrasco 32.9% 51,043
Libertarian Junart Sodoy 1.7% 2,559
Total Votes 155,005
Source: Texas Secretary of State

U.S. House, Texas District 16 Democratic Primary, 2012

Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBeto O'Rourke 50.5% 23,261
Silvestre Reyes Incumbent 44.3% 20,440
Jerome Tilghman 2.8% 1,270
Ben Mendoza 1.5% 701
Paul Johnson, Jr. 0.9% 419
Total Votes 46,091
Policy Positions

Presidential Election 2020 Political Courage Test

Abortion

1. Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
- Pro-choice

2. Other or expanded principles
- At a time of unprecedented attacks on women and their health care, an O'Rourke Administration will call upon all three branches of the federal government to protect Roe v. Wade and defend a woman's right to make her own decisions about her body. At the executive level, Beto will increase funding for women's health care and put no restrictions on the use of funds for abortions. At the judicial level, Beto will appoint judges who recognize Roe as settled precedent. At the legislative level, Beto will repeal Hyde and work to pass legislation protecting the full spectrum of reproductive health.

Budget

1. In order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
- Yes

2. Do you support expanding federal funding to support entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare?
- Yes

3. Other or expanded principles
- Social Security works. Yet today, the GOP's borrowing from our kids, to cut checks to corporations, and then threatening our parents and grandparents with cuts to Medicare and Social Security they've earned. Beto rejects those cuts. As president, he would work to enact Medicare for America, giving all Americans the option to join Medicare; and supports the Social Security 2100 Act, which will not only increase benefits, but guarantees the long-term viability of Social Security by, for example, ensuring that millionaires and billionaires no longer pay less in Social Security taxes than truck drivers and nurses.

Education

1. Do you support requiring states to adopt federal education standards?
- No

2. Other or expanded principles
- We need to ensure that each and every child, regardless of their zip code, has a chance to reach their potential. All students should have access to instruction based on college and career ready standards. But standards are just one critical building block. We must ensure that our children and teachers have access to the resources they need to succeed. As President, Beto would create a permanent fund for equity and excellence to ensure families have access to high-quality public schools, closing gaps in funding based on race and income.

Energy & Environment

1. Do you support government funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, geo-thermal)?
- Yes

2. Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?
- Yes

3. Other or expanded principles
- Climate change is the greatest threat we face, one which will test our country, our democracy, and every single one of us. Our longstanding inaction has not only impacted our climate but led to a growing emergency that has already started to sap our economic prosperity and public health, worsening inequality and threatening our safety and security. Climate change will be Beto's top priority as president. As President, he'll leverage a multitude of resources and invest $5 trillion into combating climate change, guaranteeing that we reach net-zero emissions by 2050, and get halfway there by 2030.

Guns

1. Do you generally support gun-control legislation?
- Yes

2. Other or expanded principles
- As President, Beto will directly address the gun violence epidemic by working with Congress to implement a national licensing system and universal background checks, ban assault weapons, and institute a mandatory buyback program for assault weapons and a voluntary buyback program for handguns. Beto will also close loopholes and support Extreme Risk Protection Order laws. Beto will declare our gun violence epidemic a public health emergency and invest in CDC research into gun violence. He will also address the root causes of hate and white nationalism that are fueling many of the mass shootings and tragedies across the country.

Health Care

1. Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")?
- No

2. Other or expanded principles
- We cannot reverse the progress made in securing health care coverage for nearly 20 million Americans. But we must go further. Every American deserves guaranteed, universal, high-quality health care without exception. That's why Beto supports Medicare for America, which guarantees universal, high-quality care for every American. Under this plan, everyone without care will be automatically enrolled into Medicare. Those with insufficient coverage can enroll into Medicare, and those whose employers continue to offer employer-sponsored care can keep if they want to or enroll in Medicare. Under Medicare, deductibles will be eliminated. Premiums will be affordable and based on income.

Campaign Finance

1. Do you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
- Yes

2. Other or expanded principles
- We must be responsive to people, not PACs and corporations. To ensure that politicians are always putting the interests of their constituents above the interests of corporations, Beto will call for legislation that ends the influence of PACs; provides matching contributions for low dollar donors; brings transparency to donations made by corporations and other large donors and imposes term limits on Members of Congress.

Economy

1. Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
- Yes

2. Do you support lowering corporate taxes as a means of promoting economic growth?
- No

3. Other or expanded principles
- President Trump has already cut corporate tax cuts, draining federal revenue which will prevent us from making the investments we need to ensure America stays competitive. We need to make sure that wealthy investors and corporations face the same set of rules as workers by ending tax preferences for capital gains and reversing the Trump tax cuts, restoring the top marginal tax rate and increasing the corporate tax rate to at least the mid 20s. Beto also favors efforts to simplify the tax code for small business owners by establishing a standard deduction for small businesses.

Immigration

1. Do you support the construction of a wall along the Mexican border?
- No

2. Do you support requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?
- No

3. Other or expanded principles
- No matter when you arrived, your story is part of the American story. At this time of great horror at our border and in our communities, we have an opportunity to meet this fear and smallness with an ambition and a bigheartedness that reflects the genius of this nation. Beto is proposing the most sweeping rewrite of our immigration laws in a generation to end the chaos at the border and reunite families, reform our asylum system, provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people including DREAMers and their parents and make naturalization free for 9 million eligible immigrants.

National Security

1. Should the United States use military force to prevent governments hostile to the U.S. from possessing a weapon of mass destruction (for example: nuclear, biological, chemical)?
- Unknown Position

2. Do you support reducing military intervention in Middle East conflicts?
- Yes

3. Other or expanded principles
- There can no longer be a blank check for war. We must withdraw our troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria while working with our allies and partners to ensure a sustainable peace. In Iraq and Afghanistan, Beto will negotiate a drawdown of troops in coordination with our allies and international partners. In Syria, he will pursue a thoughtful strategy that puts diplomacy in the driver's seat and works by, with, and through partners to pursue multiple lines of effort that builds existing military capacity, targets the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, cuts off funding to ISIS, and provides humanitarian relief.

Administrative Priorities

Please explain in a total of 100 words or less, your top two or three priorities if elected. If they require additional funding for implementation, please explain how you would obtain this funding.
- Beto will immediately take action to address climate change; reverse Trump's cruel policies towards immigrants and protect DREAMers; support workers, entrepreneurs, farmers, and grow the economy; protect a women's right to choose; protect the rights of all people to love -- free from discrimination; make hate crimes a law enforcement priority, while acting swiftly to curb the epidemic of gun violence and to tackle racial disparities in law enforcement. Beto will cancel the blank check on endless war and reassert our country's role on the global stage, no longer alienating our partners, or squandering the standing we earned over decades.

Trade

1. Do you generally support removing barriers to international trade (for example: tariffs, quotas, etc.)?
- Yes

2. Other or expanded principles
- Instead of reckless trade wars that alienate our allies while raise taxes on working families, we need a trade policy that puts working families first. While Beto recognizes that targeted tariffs are a tool that may sometimes be necessary, Trump's Tariffs are part of a reckless trade war that have amounted to a tax hike on middle-class Americans. As president, Beto will immediately end Trump's reckless tariffs and implement a trade policy that supports rural communities, puts working families first, and ensures that our trading partners meet high-quality environmental and labor requirements.

Defense

1. Do you support increasing defense spending?
- Yes

2. Other or expanded principles
- Our power rests in our unyielding commitment to our values and our leadership at home and abroad. And as the world creeps towards authoritarianism, we need to defend those values---now more than ever---with bold leadership on the international stage. We need to be smarter about defense spending. As President, Beto will go line by line to ensure spending is necessary and, more importantly, to ensure we are preparing for current threats to our national security (eg, cybersecurity). We also need to ensure that we're shifting funds we're saving from ending forever wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to supporting veterans.

2019

Afghanistan

Would you commit to the full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of your first term, or would you require certain conditions be met before doing so?

- Yes, I will commit to withdrawing all U.S. service members by the end of my first term. Seventeen years into America’s longest war, we are no closer to achieving our original objectives than we were in the beginning. Enemy-initiated attacks are on the rise, as are Afghan military and civilian casualties. Corruption and poppy production are stubbornly persistent. 

The status quo approach to Afghanistan—including our current deployment of 14,000 troops—is not serving America’s interests. It is time for a fundamental change. As President, I will be committed to a new approach to Afghanistan, one that responsibly ends our military operations there and shifts our priorities to bringing all parties to the table, putting the Afghan people in the driver’s seat to envision their own future. 

There is no question that withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan poses risks, and our plan—including the timing of when and how to bring Americans home—must be part of a broader risk management strategy. Working with our allies and partners, I will phase troop withdrawal to minimize known risks, while at the same time doing what we can to ensure a sustainable peace, including prioritizing participation by Afghan women in the peace process and reintegrating former fighters into the new Afghan society.

Trade

1. Under what circumstances, if any, would you support the United States joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), formerly the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

- The United States should only enter trade agreements that benefit American workers and consumers. As President, I will not support joining the CPTPP unless we are able to negotiate substantial improvements to protect workers, the environment, and human rights.  I will also demand that any agreement include effective enforcement mechanisms.

China

How, if at all, should China’s treatment of the Uighurs and the situation in Hong Kong affect broader U.S. policy toward China?

- To address complex global challenges—climate change chief among them—we need smart, principled engagement with China. But we don’t do ourselves, or our relationship with China, any favors by not being forthright about our core values. Chinese oppression of the Uighur minority is a human rights disaster, and the United States should not only be condemning their detention and surveillance, but should be leading an international effort to pressure China to relent. Likewise, the people of Hong Kong should have no doubt about where we, as Americans, stand in their struggle to preserve democracy against increasing efforts by the Chinese government to undermine it. 

These issues are not—and should not be seen as—separate from other strategic interests we pursue in the broader relationship with China. Our values are assets, not liabilities, in the global competitive environment. Indeed, we are more likely to achieve our other objectives with China when China upholds its human rights obligations, including its promises to respect Hong Kong’s independence.

Navigating the wide range of trade, security, climate, and human rights interests we have with China requires skillful and patient diplomacy, something that is sorely lacking in the current administration. Like all nations, China will act in a way that it believes is consistent with its interests. As President, I will seek to engage China around mutual interests, like climate change, where our countries should be cooperating to build the global green economy.

Iran

Would you rejoin the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)? What changes to the existing agreement, if any, would you require before agreeing to rejoin the accord?

- Yes, as President, I will rejoin the JCPOA, conditioned on Iran’s compliance with its commitments under the agreement. President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA was short-sighted, reckless, and against the recommendations of both the U.S. and Israeli intelligence communities. The nuclear agreement was not perfect—no negotiated agreement can be—but it significantly advanced American interests and was succeeding in blocking Iran’s pathway to achieving nuclear capability. Moreover, our sudden withdrawal has made the United States and our allies less safe and weakened our credibility as a good-faith negotiator for subsequent dealings with Iran and other regimes. 

As President, I will reverse these policies. I will restore US credibility, and use the agreement as a starting point for future negotiations, along with our allies, aimed at reigning in Iran’s most destabilizing behavior in the region, limiting Iran’s ballistic missile capability, and ensuring that Iran never becomes a nuclear weapon state. 

President Trump’s reckless and cavalier saber-rattling is moving us closer to a military confrontation with the Iranian regime. As President, I will put an end to this irresponsible approach. I will work with our allies in Europe and in the region to tackle the serious challenges posed by the Iranian regime and restore our commitment to the hard work of diplomacy.

North Korea

Would you sign an agreement with North Korea that entailed partial sanctions relief in exchange for some dismantling of its nuclear weapons program but not full denuclearization?

- Any nuclear negotiations process with North Korea should be judged by its ability to deliver verifiable progress toward eliminating the regime’s nuclear weapons program. By that metric, President Trump’s policy has been a complete failure. In return for providing Kim Jong Un with the propaganda and legitimacy that comes with multiple presidential summits, President Trump has gotten nothing for the United States. North Korea’s nuclear stockpile continues to grow. It continues to fire missiles into the Sea of Japan. Even the delivery of American Korean War veteran remains has come to a stop.

As President, I would be open to a deal that provided partial sanctions relief for a partial rollback of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. But for such an agreement to be in America’s interest, North Korea would have to commit to a mutually agreeable definition of denuclearization, vigorous international inspections, and provide a full accounting of its nuclear program. Any sanctions relief would have to have strong “snap back” provisions. In all these efforts, I will place a high value on working with our allies in the region, South Korea and Japan, each of which shares our interest in a peaceful and denuclearized peninsula.

Ukraine

What, if any, steps would you take to counter Russian aggression against Ukraine?

- Russia’s invasion of Crimea and eastern Ukraine violated the post-World War II international consensus that states cannot expand their territory through military force. In addition to Russia’s direct military aggression against Ukraine, Russia continues to try to destabilize Ukraine through disinformation campaigns, cyberattacks, and threatening its energy supply. By cozying up to Putin and running down NATO, President Trump invites this kind of hostile behavior from Russia. 

As President, I will support Ukraine’s efforts to defend itself against Russian aggression. Key among those efforts is helping Ukraine build institutions that will stabilize its democracy. A free and prosperous Ukraine sitting on Russia’s doorstep would not only better deter Putin’s aggression, it would undermine the political narrative Putin relies on for power. The Ukrainian people and their newly-elected government have an opportunity now to adopt reforms that will strengthen the legal, economic, and political architecture supporting democratic progress—and root out corruption—for the long haul. As President, I will encourage these steps and will leverage American finance, particularly through the promotion of renewables, to help Ukraine become energy independent from Russia.

Finally, we now know that Putin has used Ukraine as a laboratory to test disinformation and cyber tactics that it later deploys elsewhere, including in the US. I will be prepared to sanction Russian officials who engage in activities aimed at undermining American democracy, and I will place a high priority on safeguarding our elections by investing in cybersecurity systems and risk-limiting audits for ballots.

Saudi Arabia

Given the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the civil war in Yemen, what changes, if any, would you make to U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia?

- Trump’s failure to impose consequences for the murder of a U.S. resident, his refusal to comply with a congressionally-mandated review of Saudi behavior, and his veto of bipartisan legislation that would have blocked arms sales, have given the Saudis latitude to set a new normal in the bilateral relationship in which the range of American interests is reduced to maintaining the kingdom as a consumer of American weapons. 

This must change. Our relationship with Saudi Arabia should be grounded in a clear expression of American interests and values. Otherwise, the Saudis will continue to believe that our security relationship is a blank check for their destabilizing behavior—fueling war and a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, kidnapping the prime minister of a sovereign nation, assassinating an American resident. These abhorrent actions—not U.S. forthrightness about its values—weaken the bilateral relationship and threaten the international community. 

As President, I will call for an end to the repression of women’s rights activists, impose Global Magnitsky Act sanctions on those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, respond to the clearly-articulated desire of the American people to end US involvement in the war in Yemen and halt arms sales to the kingdom until it commits to a cessation of hostilities and peace negotiations. A constructive US-Saudi relationship is worth preserving, but only if Riyadh is willing to engage in a significant course correction.

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Do you support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and, if so, how would you go about trying to achieve it?

- A two-state solution that realizes the aspirations of the Palestinian people and addresses Israel’s legitimate security concerns is the only way to guarantee peace and the human rights and dignity of both Israelis and Palestinians. Our strong relationship with Israel is key to achieving that outcome, and as President, I will support and sustain it. 

Leaders on both sides continue to take steps that make negotiating a two-state solution more difficult, including Netanyahu’s embrace of the far-right in Israel and Abbas’ ineffectual leadership of the Palestinian Authority. Ultimately, peace will require bold and principled leadership from both parties. But the United States also has an indispensable role to play. Far from fulfilling that role, President Trump’s reckless and inflammatory actions have added fuel to the fire. As President, I will leverage the unique position of the United States in the region to cultivate a foundation on which negotiations can take place. That will include holding both sides accountable for unjustified acts of violence, whether it be rocket attacks from Gaza, or disproportionate use of force from Israel. Palestinians and Israelis have the right—and deserve the opportunity—to live lives free from violence and depredation. In my administration, I will prioritize rebuilding the foundation for the best way to achieve that outcome: a two-state solution. 

Venezuela

What, if any, additional steps should the United States take to remove Nicolás Maduro from power in Venezuela?

- Venezuela has collapsed. The illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro has plunged the Venezuelan people into a nightmare of chaos and deprivation; more than four million of whom have fled because they cannot survive at home. As President, I will take urgent action to alleviate the humanitarian crisis and work with regional allies to support a lasting solution to Venezuela’s political and economic collapse. 

First, I will reverse the Trump administration’s politicization of humanitarian aid, which has prevented support from reaching Venezuelans who need it most, particularly women and children. By supporting the efforts of neutral humanitarian agencies like the International Committee of the Red Cross to deliver life-saving food, medicine, and protection, we will ensure that aid reaches the most vulnerable. I will also immediately grant Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelans already in the United States, something President Trump has refused to do.

Second, to foster a democratic transition away from the Maduro regime to Juan Guaido, the legitimate president under the Venezuelan constitution, I will support efforts by opposition and regime officials to negotiate a political settlement, while using targeted measures like asset seizure and supporting criminal indictments to increase pressure on regime officials. To reverse Venezuela’s economic collapse, I will lead an international effort to provide financial assistance to stabilize the post-Maduro Venezuelan economy and enable the Venezuelan people to rebuild their lives.

Africa

By 2050, Africa will account for 25 percent of the world’s population according to projections by the United Nations. What are the implications of this demographic change for the United States, and how should we adjust our policies to anticipate them?

- The implications of population growth in Africa and elsewhere will be shaped by the changes in climate that have already begun. These changes will have a profound impact on the continent. From rising sea levels, to the expansion of deserts like the Sahara, climate change is altering where and how populations can safely live. Africa’s young, growing population will be forced to confront the effects of climate change. When population centers become uninhabitable, we will witness significant migration and perhaps the biggest set of refugee crises the world has ever seen. Moreover, the wealth in these countries will become more limited and a host of other issues, including violent fights for resources, may arise. Population growth will only exacerbate these conflicts. We have already seen the consequences of violence and instability abroad impacting our southern border, and we have a responsibility to do everything in our power to mitigate future crises. As President, I will mobilize $5 trillion to combat climate change by investing in innovation, our infrastructure, and our communities. I will also take bold steps to cut pollution and reach the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. And working with the international community, I will re-enter the Paris Agreement and lead the negotiations for an even more ambitious global plan for 2030 and beyond.

Climate

How would you discourage the proliferation of coal-fired power plants in developing countries?

- The best way for the United States to confront climate change is through an ambitious national project at home and by rejoining the Paris Climate Accords to spur a clean energy transition abroad. The United States should lead by example, showing other countries it is not only viable, but economically advantageous, to make transformative investments in green energy. That’s why I have proposed a comprehensive, $5 trillion plan to fight climate change through investment in infrastructure, innovation, and American workers and communities. We cannot credibly call upon developing nations to reduce climate emissions unless we do the same. 

But many countries need more than an example from the United States. They need technical and financial assistance to transition away from fossil fuels. While developing countries contribute the least to climate change, they have the least financial capacity to mitigate its catastrophic effects. Instead of leading the world in a green energy transition, President Trump has gutted U.S. funding for institutions like the Green Climate Fund and Global Environmental Facility - programs that are crucial to helping developing countries shift to sustainable energy. As President, I will restore assistance to these vital institutions and reestablish American leadership in the global fight against climate change.

U.S. Foreign Policy

What has been the greatest foreign policy accomplishment of the United States since World War II? What has been the biggest mistake?

- The pinnacle of American leadership in foreign affairs was our role in shaping the global order following World War II. Having defeated the greatest threat to peace the world has ever known, our leadership in developing institutions to secure peace like the United Nations and the Bretton Woods system, our commitment to rebuilding Europe through the Marshall Plan, and the creation of NATO helped to ensure that the second half of the 20th century was among the most peaceful and economically beneficial periods in world history. As President, I will be committed to replicating the successes of our past by investing in aid to regions like Central America to promote peace and economic growth and reaffirming our commitment to NATO in the face of increased Russian aggression.

Our greatest foreign policy mistake was the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The negative consequences of that war have been lasting and profound. The decision to topple Saddam Hussein and our occupation of Iraq damaged our alliances and cost nearly 4,500 American and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, all while making our country less safe. The vacuum created by toppling Hussein led to the spread of al-Qaeda, and later, ISIL over significant portions of the country, which left us further entangled in a quagmire of our own creation. As President, I will end our “forever wars,” repair our strained relationships with our traditional allies, and make the decision to put our service members in harm’s way only when absolutely necessary.

Speeches
Articles

Beto O'Rourke Ends 2020 Presidential Bid

Nov. 2, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — Beto O’Rourke, the former Texas congressman, announced Friday that he was ending his Democratic presidential campaign, which failed to recapture the enthusiasm, interest and fundraising prowess of his 2018 Senate bid. Addressing supporters in Iowa, O’Rourke said he made the decision “reluctantly” and vowed to stay active in the fight to defeat President Donald Trump. “I will be part of this and so will you,” he said. O’Rourke was urged to run for president by many Democrats, including supporters of former President Barack Obama, who were energized by his narrow Senate loss last year in Texas, a reliably Republican state. He raised a record $80 million from donors across the country, visited every county in Texas and used social media and livestreaming video to engage directly with voters. He ultimately lost to incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz by 3 percentage points. But O’Rourke, 47, struggled to replicate that model in the presidential primary, and both his polling and his fundraising dwindled significantly in recent months. “We have to clearly see, at this point, that we did not have the means to pursue this campaign successfully and that my service will not be as a candidate, nor as a nominee of this party for the presidency,” O’Rourke said. O’Rourke’s decision comes as the Democratic primary enters a critical stretch. With three months until the kickoff Iowa caucuses, polls consistently show a trio of candidates leading the way: former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, with Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, showing strength in Iowa, as well. Lower polling candidates face difficult questions about whether they have the money to sustain a campaign through the first primary contests. Earlier this week, Kamala Harris, another candidate who entered the race to much fanfare, announced she was downscaling her campaign, laying off some staffers and reorienting almost exclusively to focus on Iowa. O’Rourke entered the race as the feel-good, dynamic candidate who had the ability to appeal to both Republicans and Democrats and work across the aisle in Washington. But he immediately faced criticism that he had a sense of entitlement, particularly after the release of a Vanity Fair interview on the eve of his campaign launch in which he appeared to say he was “born” to be in presidential politics. After quickly pulling in $9.4 million during his first two weeks in the race, O’Rourke’s financial situation deteriorated. By the end of June, he was spending more than his campaign was taking in. By the end of September, he had just $3.2 million cash on hand while spending double that over the previous three months, campaign finance records show. Perhaps more significantly, the small-dollar contributions that fueled his Senate bid and the early days of his presidential campaign slowed to a $1.9 million trickle. The former congressman also struggled to articulate a consistent vision and messaging as a presidential candidate. He spent several weeks trying to build his campaign around climate change, calling global warming the greatest existential threat the country had ever faced. But as the excitement over his candidacy began to fade, O’Rourke was forced to stage a “reintroduction” of his campaign to reinvigorate it. After a gunman opened fire at a Walmart in his hometown of El Paso, killing 22 people, O’Rourke more heavily embraced gun control, saying he would take assault weapons away from existing owners. As O’Rourke’s standing in the presidential primary plummeted, some Democrats urged him to return to Texas for another Senate run. He has repeatedly denied having any interest in that race. O’Rourke’s decision came hours before he was supposed to join other Democratic contenders at a party dinner in Iowa. Campaign volunteers were still collecting voter information and handing out “Beto” stickers” outside the event amid a steady rain as the candidate announced he was dropping out. O’Rourke did not endorse another Democrat for the nomination, saying the country will be well served by any of the other candidates, “and I’m going to be proud to support whoever that nominee is.” Trump quickly weighed in on O’Rourke’s exit, saying in a tweet: “Oh no, Beto just dropped out of race for President despite him saying he was ‘born for this.’ I don’t think so!” ___ Associated Press writer Brian Slodysko contributed to this report from Washington. Weissert reported from Des Moines, Iowa.Source: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/

Why Low-Polling 2020 Democrats Still Have a Chance

Nov. 1, 2019

If we use “qualified for at least one debate” to define “serious candidate for a party’s nomination,” then the race in the Democratic presidential primary winnowed down to 16 when Rep. Tim Ryan ended his campaign last week.  To put this in perspective, the oversized Republican field of 2016 reached its maximum at 16 candidates.  One might question whether it is fair to consider John Delaney a major candidate simply because he qualified for a debate, but we are also considering Jim Gilmore a major candidate for Republicans in 2016 under our definition. This has led some to call for more aggressive winnowing of the Democratic field.  Take this Slate article, which urges multiple candidates to drop out since they have almost no chance of becoming the nominee, including reasonably strong candidates such as Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker. The Democratic Party itself seemingly agrees, having substantially raised the polling and fundraising requirements to qualify for the December debate. This discussion is getting ahead of things.  Here is why: 1. We don’t know a lot about how primaries work, much less mega-primaries. Since the presidential nomination process was turned over fully to the voters in 1972, we’ve had a total of 24 presidential primary campaigns. Several of these were effectively uncontested – the 1984 Republican race, the 1996 Democratic race, the 2004 Republican race and the 2012 Democratic race -- lowering the number of cases to 20.  Still more saw only weak opposition arise, such as the 1972 Republican race.  Even with the remaining primaries, we don’t see much that resembles the current contest.  Consider the Democratic side. In 2016, at the peak, six major candidates (and that is being generous to Jim Webb, Lincoln Chafee and Lawrence Lessig) ran for president. In 2008 it was eight.  The 2004 primaries saw 10 candidates run, while 2000 was a two-man race.  In 1992, Democrats had a six-candidate field, 1988 saw 11, and 1984 had eight.  On the Republican side, it is a similar story. How does this history translate to the current “mega-field”? We don’t know, because we only have one other such field in recent times: the Republican’ in 2016.  We really can’t base much off of this. A careful analyst must also consider that the factors driving these large fields – the rise of online fundraising and super PACs, the availability of the Internet to bypass media and party gatekeepers, and so forth – also should alter our definitions of “viability.”  Put differently, the old adage that there are three tickets out of Iowa and two out of New Hampshire may no longer hold true. Think of it this way: In the 1996 Iowa Republican caucuses, eighth place was Morry Taylor (you will be forgiven if you have to Google him).  In 2016 it was John Kasich, who eventually finished in third place in the delegate count. 2. Undecideds and “the one percent” matter. A lot. One other side effect of the large field is that an unusually large number of votes are being held by the “undecided” category, and by “one-percenters,” my term for candidates that have only minuscule support. To see what I mean, consider the national RCP average. “Undecided” along with candidates receiving 2% of the vote or less currently account for about 20% of the total.  This means that about 20% of the field is either given over to candidates who really are long shots for the nomination (but see below) or are undecided.  It’s not an exaggeration to say that undecided is currently in third place. We see similar effects in the early primary states. Undecideds/minor candidates total 19% of respondents in Iowa (good for second place) and are leading Nevada with 27%. In South Carolina 18% of voters are undecided or for minor candidates (second place).  Only in New Hampshire does a relatively large segment of the electorate seem to have settled on a major candidate; still, the 9% total for undecideds/minor candidates is still good enough for fourth place. The field will continue to winnow, and those voters will go somewhere.  Joe Sestak’s 0.5% and Beto O’Rourke’s 1% average may seem inconsequential, but combined they could be the difference between Tulsi Gabbard finishing in eighth place and fifth. 3. There isn’t much separating top from bottom here. One of the problems that Republicans had in 2016 was that the incentives for candidates to drop out simply weren’t there, and this was a direct consequence of the size of the field.  Most of the 2020 minor candidates have been involved in races where they have come from behind or had a substantial surge in the polls.  Right now none of them are more than three points out of fifth place in Iowa, none is more than nine points out of fourth place in New Hampshire, none is more than five points out of fourth place in Nevada, and none is more than seven points out of fourth place in South Carolina. To be clear, I’m saying that finishing fifth, fourth, fourth and fourth would get a candidate the nomination.  But because the Democratic race is sequential, scoring at this level in a few early races probably extends a candidate’s lifespan, and all of these candidates are within striking distance of such a showing. Moreover, since the eighth- and ninth-place candidates will likely be dropping out, that will free up a significant number of voters.  Again, where those voters go is sort of up for grabs; it seems like they should gravitate to the major candidates, but their status as voters for minor candidates suggests that there are things about the major candidates they already dislike. 4. Big things happen late in the primary season. If you’re tuned in enough to be reading this, the 2020 presidential election probably already seems interminable.  For most voters, however, it is only getting started.  This means that lots of minds will be changed, and big movements for candidates can occur.  At this point in 2015, Donald Trump’s main challenger in the polling was Ben Carson, who would actually eclipse Trump briefly in the national polls in early November. Ted Cruz and John Kasich, who would be the last two candidates standing, were in fourth and ninth place, respectively.  In 2011, on the Republican side, we had just witnessed Rick Perry’s poll collapse, and we were in the midst of Herman Cain’s rise.  Newt Gingrich was at 9% in the polls; by mid-December he would have a 13-point lead and have around a third of the Republican electorate in his camp. Rick Santorum was at 2% in the polls, and would not begin his surge until January. What about 2007? The Republican poll leaders were Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson, neither of whom would win a primary. Eventual nominee John McCain was in third place with about 15% of the vote, while Mike Huckabee was at just 7%. In Iowa, which Huckabee would eventually win, the former Arkansas governor was only just starting his surge; at the beginning of the month he was in fifth place. Barack Obama trailed Hillary Clinton by over 20 points nationally at this point in 2007. In 2003, the race looked like a two-man race between Dick Gephardt and Howard Dean.  Eventual nominee John Kerry was in third place, albeit with only 9% of the vote. To be sure, none of these candidates were at 2% of the vote.  But none of these candidates were in 16-person fields either.  It is perfectly reasonable for candidates to wait and see if they can catch fire; someone usually does at this point in the primaries. 5. Joe Biden is the X-factor.  Looming above all of this is the figure of Joe Biden.  Biden’s vote share has been remarkably stable, but he’s slipping into second place in the early states and is toying with third place in New Hampshire.  If this turns into a panic among “establishment” Democratic donors, his candidacy could collapse rather quickly.  That would be a lot of votes, in addition to “undecided” and “one/two-percenters” potentially up for grabs.  Against this backdrop, it is understandable why candidates like Klobuchar stick around, at least for now. Source: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/

Trump in Dallas: I'm Not Losing Texas

Oct. 18, 2019

In a week when Republican anger over President Trump’s foreign policy managed to supplant the Democrats’ impeachment push in top news headlines, Trump sought refuge in a state that looks and feels just about as different as can be from Washington. D.C. Trump made the 12th visit to Texas of his presidency, basking Thursday night in the adulation of sign-waving supporters who formed a sea of red “Make America Great Again” hats sprinkled with white “Trump 2020” ten-gallons.   “I’m thrilled to be here deep in the heart of Texas,” the president told the roaring, 20,000-strong crowd at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. “There has never been a better time to be a proud Texan.” He was likely referring to the Lone Star State’s strong economy, which has grown even more robust during his presidency with the creation of close to 800,000 new jobs, including 70,000 in the manufacturing sector since the end of 2016. “That compares to 55,000 manufacturing jobs lost under President Obama,” said Trump Campaign Manager Brad Parscale. “And with his dedication to supporting and expanding the energy industry, President Trump will help grow the Texas economy even more after he’s reelected.” But Trump’s “no better time” assertion rings a little hollow when it comes to Texas Republicans. The once crimson state is tinging purple as its Hispanic population grows and new residents pour in from California and other more liberal-leaning states. In 2018, the same year Beto O’Rourke came close to defeating Sen. Ted Cruz, Democrats made big gains across the board, flipping two House seats, two Texas state Senate seats and 12 Texas House seats, even in some traditionally conservative bastions. The GOP leader of the Texas House of Representatives is now engulfed in his own scandal for a caught-on-tape moment saying Trump is “killing us” in suburban districts. The same recording had Speaker Dennis Bonnen granting a longtime request from the head of a conservative group to gain media credentials in exchange for the leader’s help in defeating 10 moderate House Republican incumbents. Earlier this year, the Democratic National Committee started branding Texas a battleground state, and several recent polls have shown Democratic presidential candidates defeating Trump there. A Quinnipiac poll released last month found 48% of Texas voters said they definitely wouldn’t vote for his reelection. After the 2016 polling disasters, it’s hard to draw firm conclusions from any such surveys, and Republican operatives are quick to call 2018 a flash in the pan that follows the historic pattern of the incumbent president’s party losing big in the midterms, even for those presidents who went on to soundly win second terms. “Donald Trump isn’t going to lose Texas,” the president said to thunderous applause at the Dallas rally. Moreover, Republicans point out, Texas Democrats made those gains before national Democrats and the 2020 presidential contenders make a hard-left turn, leading an impeachment investigation against Trump and making “Medicare for All” the new party orthodoxy, along with expansive Green New Deal programs banning fossil fuels. While Joe Biden could move back toward the center in a general election matchup against the president -- if he stops his campaign’s steady slide -- Elizabeth Warren, the new Democratic front-runner, is leaving no room to do so. It’s a dynamic Trump drove home in his Dallas rally remarks.  “The more America achieves, the more hateful and enraged these crazy Democrats become,” he  said to boos from the crowd. “At stake is the survival of American democracy,” he added. “They are destroying this country, but we will never let that happen.” Trump laced into O’Rourke, who was holding a nearby rally of his own, as a prime example. The former congressman has pledged to “go after” Americans’ guns and this week proposed a mandatory buy-back of assault rifles and also promised to try to revoke the tax-exempt status of churches and other religious institutions that oppose same-sex marriage. “Beto, in a few short weeks, got rid of guns and got rid of religion,” Trump said. “Those are not two good things in Texas to get rid of.” Still, the Republican Party and the Trump campaign are leaving nothing to chance. Trump’s repeat visits to Texas – Thursday marked his third rally there this year — obviously means less time he can spend in the true battlegrounds of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Trump, however, is trying to avoid the stigma of being the first Republican to lose Texas in a presidential contest since the state went for Jimmy Carter in 1976. GOP officials say Democrats, especially after going through a bruising and expensive primary process, won’t be able to compete with their party’s hard-wired ground game. It’s the third straight election cycle in which the Republican National Committee has had paid staff in Texas, and the current staff covers all 254 counties in the state, RNC officials said. “As Democrats in 2016 can attest, we’ve seen what happens when a party takes states, and its voters, for granted,” RNC Press Secretary Blair Ellis told RealClearPolitics. “That’s exactly why the president and the RNC have been investing in states like Texas for several cycles and we continue to place such an emphasis on growing our infrastructure, organizing in communities and training.” Democrats have played up Trump’s tough stance on immigration and divisive rhetoric as a reason he’s turning off the growing Hispanic vote in Texas and promise to drive that message home throughout the state. O’Rourke on Thursday once again tried to tie one of Trump’s earlier Texas rallies to the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso. “We know that in those communities that have hosted a rally by Donald Trump, we’ve seen hate crimes on the rise more than 200%,” O’Rourke said. “In fact, in El Paso, Texas, preceding that massacre and that act of terror in Texas, there was a Donald Trump rally in February.” O’Rourke also criticized the administration’s family separation and other immigration policies, which he said have created fear. “We cannot sit idly by and in our silence be complicit in the violence and the terror and racism that exists in this country at unprecedented levels in our lifetime,” O’Rourke said. “So we stand together and we stand against fear.” Republicans, however, argue that Hispanics, who largely oppose abortion, value their faith and hold other traditional values, are not monolithic in their voting. RNC data shows there are roughly 1 million Hispanics in the state that are more open to voting for Trump than there were in 2016. It also doesn’t hurt, GOP officials argue, that Hispanic unemployment has reached historic lows under Trump and Hispanic-owned businesses across the country are growing rapidly -- more than twice the rate of all businesses since 2016. At the end of Trump’s Thursday’s rally, Sen. John Cornyn, who is in the campaign fight of his lifetime, urged the president and fellow Republicans to remain vigilant about stemming any blue tide rising in Texas. Before Trump spoke, Cornyn told the audience that Texas Democrats are preparing a strong ground game of their own. “If they take Texas, they will take the White House,” he warned the crowd.Source: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/