El Paso Democrat Beto O'Rourke's three terms in congress end Jan. 3. While running against Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, he said if he won, he wouldn't be running for president -- like Cruz did.
Beto, 46, got the highest mid-term vote for a Texas Democrat in decades, yet was 2.6 percent short. Since he didn't win, he's re-evaluating whether to run for president.
During his senate campaign, Beto said little about Republican President Donald Trump. That may be changing now.
On Dec. 22, he emailed supporters that Trump is wrecking our country.
Trump's government shutdown over money for a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, O'Rourke wrote, is just his latest assault on the beliefs, institutions and relationships that have made this country the leader of the world.
Here's the edited essay:
The government of the greatest country the world has ever known, the wealthiest, most powerful nation on the planet: closed until further notice.
Because of Trump's off-again, on-again demand Congress fund his border wall or he'd shut down the government -- despite the 100-0 Senate vote to temporarily keep the government running, without the wall -- almost a million government employees are out of work, cutting services to taxpayers.
That didn't have to happen -- but may be a diversion.
From an investigation . . . of collusion with a foreign government and obstruction of justice within our own government… as one aide after another pleads guilty… as the stock market tumbles… as men and women of conscience flee his administration…
Perhaps the President calculates that by adding to the blizzard of bizarre behavior over the last two years and shutting down the government at Christmas, while his own party still controls each branch of it, the institutions needed for our democracy to function (and to ensure no man is above the law) will be overwhelmed.
From a President who promised action, we got distraction. . . .
(I fear) we will choose certainty, strength and predictability over this constant dysfunction, even if it comes at the price of our democracy (the press; the ballot box; the courts; congress and representative government) . . .
If there were ever a man to exploit this precarious moment for our country and our form of government, it’s Trump:
• Sending 5,400 troops to U.S. border communities during the midterm elections.
• Organizing Border Patrol “crowd control” exercises in El Paso on election day.
• Defying our laws by taking children from their parents, keeping kids in tent camps, turning back refugees.
• Calling the press “the enemy of the people” and celebrating violence against members of the media.
• Pitting Americans against each other based on race and religion and immigration status.
• Seeking to disenfranchise fellow Americans with made up fears of voter fraud.
• Isolating us from the other great democracies as he cozies up to dictators and thugs
• Lying again and again. Making a mockery of the United States – once the indispensable nation, the hope of mankind.
(We can) respond to his name-calling and grotesque, bizarre behavior… or we can pull up, look back at this moment from the future and see exactly what is happening to our country.
We are at risk of losing those things that make us special, unique, exceptional . . . that make us the destination for people the world over, looking for a better life and fleeing countries who lack our institutions, our rule of law, our stability.
This is not about a wall (or) border security, . . . Democrats and Republicans. It’s about the future of our country. . .
Whether our children and grandchildren will thank us or blame us. Whether we will be defined by greatness and ambition or pettiness and fear. Whether we will continue to live in the world’s greatest democracy, or something else.
[Pass the government funding bill the Senate backed 100-0.]
Show that government can work, that we can see past our immediate differences to serve the greater good. To put country over party . . . over one man. To do what we were sent here to do. . . .
Take action on urgent issues: climate change, healthcare, endless war, income inequality, immigration, the vibrancy of rural communities and inner cities, education and criminal justice reform.
Find the common ground. . . . Prove that our system of government – whatever its problems – is still the best thing under the sun.
It’s action vs. distraction. One will save our democracy, the other will lead to its end.
Does this sound like a guy planning to spend the next two years twiddling his thumbs?