Jul 15, 2019

O'Rourke uses slave owner ancestors find to highlight racial disparities

Democratic Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourk and wife Amy Sanders. Photo : Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Democratic Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke wrote Sunday night on Medium that he's just discovered that he and wife Amy Sanders are descended from slave owners, as he vowed to have a national conversation on racial injustice.

Details: O'Rourke said it's increased his urgency to address disparities if he's elected in 2020. "I benefit from a system that my ancestors built to favor themselves at the expense of others," he said. Unlike Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) who's descended from slave owners but opposes reparations for U.S. slave descendants, O'Rourke backs the plan.

Go deeper: Beto O'Rourke on the issues, in under 500 words

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Beto O'Rourke says he's more determined to pursue nomination after El Paso

Beto O'Rourke consoles a man at a makeshift memorial outside the El Paso Walmart where a mass shooter killed 22 people. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

In an interview with the New York Times, 2020 candidate Beto O'Rourke said he's even more determined to win the Democratic nomination after the mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, dismissing calls to use his recalibrated time in the spotlight to make a high-profile run for Senate.

"I'm running for president. ... At a time that the president is attacking this community, this part of the world, the U.S.-Mexico border, cities of immigrants, that’s where I am. That’s where I live. That’s where we’re raising our family. I can meet him on this issue in very personal terms and from a place that no one else can.”

The big picture: O'Rourke's campaign has largely stalled in the months since he jumped in the race, with his massive early fundraising totals overshadowed by a pair of mild debate performances and lackluster polling. But in the face of tragedy, the former congressman has become an ambassador for those affected by gun violence, positioning himself as a foil to Trump through newly impassioned speeches and appearances on cable news.

Go deeperArrowAug 11, 2019

Race takes center stage at second round of Democratic debates

Race was a hot-button issue at Tuesday's Democratic debate, with candidates asked to respond to what many have condemned as racist and divisive rhetoric by President Trump.

Driving the news: Author Marianne Williamson had her crystalizing moment with her answers on how to heal racial divides in the U.S., earning huge rounds of applause after proposing $200 billion to $500 billion in reparations for the descendants of slaves and condemning the state of water quality in Flint, Michigan.

Go deeperArrowJul 31, 2019

Beto O'Rourke backs abolishing filibuster to pass gun control

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke told Pod Save America Monday that he favors abolishing the filibuster in order to enact gun control legislation.

Why it matters: The former Texas congressman has been a vocal figure since a mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart left 22 dead on Saturday. The event has triggered renewed attention to gun control legislation, with a focus on two background check bills passed by the House but not yet heard in the Senate.

Go deeperArrowAug 6, 2019