Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) seems headed for a loss against Ted Cruz in the Texas Senate race. A new Quinnipiac Poll has the Democrats’ latest love interest down 54 to 45 percent. The current Real Clear Politics average puts Cruz ahead by 6.6 percent. Beto has perhaps a 20 percent chance of victory a month from now.
Texas again seems destined to disappoint the establishment media, which published scores of fawning love letters to #ElectoralJesus and his second coming of LBJ-style liberalism in the Lone Star State.
— CJ Ciaramella (@cjciaramella) October 11, 2018
Why the shock? Texas remains a pretty red state, with a history of low turnout. Cruz is a well-known figure with well-known negatives, while voters had yet to learn of O’Rourke’s personal and political problems. According to Quinnipiac, Cruz may win as much as 37 percent of the state’s Hispanic vote (Gov. Greg Abbott has the support of 46 percent of Hispanic voters against former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez).
The significant level of Hispanic support for Republicans, including President Trump, seems to be what most vexes Democrats, progressive activists, and much of the establishment media (if I may repeat myself). The left resists the reality that Hispanics are a diverse lot. Hispanics in Texas are not Hispanics in California are not Hispanics in New York are not Hispanics in Florida.
Moreover, even when lumped together, Hispanics care more about education, terrorism, the economy, and health-care costs than they do immigration. Hispanics simply do not fit the monolithic Democratic or media-projected stereotype. Rather than face this forthrightly, left-leaning media suggests the real problem is that Hispanics are lazy and apathetic.
Perhaps the real problem is that the Democratic Party, its satellite constituency groups, and the overwhelming majority of reporters and pundits in Big Media reflect the interests of progressive activists at the expense of their coalitions, both nationally and locally. According to a newly released report from More in Common (not a right-wing organization), progressive activists comprise a mere 8 percent of Americans and hold views out of step not only with moderates and conservatives, but other liberals and core demographics of the Democratic Party base.
For example, the report found that 80 percent of Americans believe that “political correctness is a problem in our country.” This view is shared by 87 percent of Hispanics, 88 percent of American Indians, 82 percent of Asians, 75 percent of African-Americans, and 79 percent of Americans under age 24. Yet only 30 percent of progressive activists think political correctness is a problem. If that gap seems odd, it is explained by the fact that progressive activists are the least racially diverse group, except for the most devotedly conservative 6 percent of Americans.
Similarly, 85 percent of Americans believe race should not be considered in decisions on college admissions. Even 72 percent of traditional liberals are against the practice. Yet 60 percent of progressive activists support it.
The More in Common report also identifies areas where the right has political problems. While 74 percent of Americans believe “people should be able to say what they really think, even when it offends people,” 67 percent also believe “we need to protect people from dangerous and hateful speech.”
Progressive activists are not too far from these averages (70 percent and 74 percent, respectively). But devoted conservatives lopsidedly agree with the first statement (86 percent) and disagree with the second (43 percent). The gap between those two statements should not be a terribly difficult needle to thread for those not obsessed with “drinking liberal tears.” Likewise, devoted conservatives tend to have views on President Trump’s travel ban, and on some questions relating to immigration, that are outside the mainstream.
The difference is that when the conservative viewpoint is unpopular, it is highly publicized by Big Media, Hollywood, academia, progressive protests, and Democratic campaigns. When progressive activists are out of the mainstream, whether nationally or locally, these institutions rarely publicize it precisely because they are dominated by people who agree with the progressive activists.
So it is with the media’s largely delusional grand passion for O’Rourke. As with Wendy Davis before him, Beto was going to be the progressive prophet with the Kennedy-esque charisma to sell unreconstructed liberalism to the benighted masses of Texas.
And why wouldn’t they think this? The current rage, both in fashion and emotion, on the left is for abolishing the Senate and the Electoral College. They claim to despise populism and nationalism while futilely dreaming of dismantling two of the bulwarks against these forces. They want to pretend the United States is not in fact a union of states—so why would they care about what the electorate in Texas is actually like?
Yet the fact that Beto increasingly seems like a sad loser should not lead conservatives to make the mirror mistake. Outside Texas, it remains entirely likely that Democrats could regain control of the House and a fair number of governorships. Ironically, if the Democrats have a solid midterm, it will only tend to convince them they are not only correct, but righteous—and more likely fall in love with some other Beto in 2020.