Joe Biden defeating President Trump in Texas would be a "seismic" event that would "once and for all end the Trump presidency and Trumpism in America," former presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke predicted at an Axios digital event on Tuesday.
Why it matters: Recent polls indicate that Trump and Biden are currently in a dead heat in the state, traditionally a Republican stronghold, suggesting that Texas may be a presidential swing state come November. But O'Rourke warned that the Biden campaign is not doing enough to court Texas voters.
Of note: Jimmy Carter in the 1976 election was the last Democratic presidential candidate to win Texas.
What he's saying: Biden winning Texas "will allow America to start the necessary next chapter for our country," O'Rourke said. "Texas holds the power to do that."
- "Young people are going to be the vanguard of this. We saw in 2018 where I came very close to defeating Ted Cruz and won more votes than any Democrat had ever won. Young people led the day. Young voter turnout was up 500% in early voting in Texas over the last midterm election," he continued.
- "And then you name an issue, whether it is reproductive choice, climate change, access to health care, fighting back against the pandemic — young people are on the front lines forcing the conversations and the necessary change that needs to follow."
Asked whether the Biden campaign has done enough to take advantage of the rare opportunity to win Texas, O'Rourke responded, "No. But that's nothing new. Texas has really been on its own — I mentioned its been 44 years since Texas last voted for the Democratic nominee for president."
- "We've been pretty much left to our own devices for the majority of that time. But there's been an extraordinary self-reliant movement, born of Texans, run by Texans, with Texans volunteering to reach out to their fellow Texans," he said.
The big picture: O’Rourke said the coronavirus pandemic and the state’s response to the virus has disproportionately affected Latinos, and he believes voters will go to the polls with the pandemic in mind.
The bottom line: “By all means, you’ve got to vote," O'Rourke said. "You do not want to look back on this election, this moment, and wonder 'what if?'"