AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee
Former Texas congressman and current presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke will use his home city of El Paso, Texas as the backdrop for another campaign reset on Thursday, promising to take on Donald Trump, white supremacy, and the 2nd Amendment.
NEW: Beto to give his first major address tomorrow and return to campaign trail pic.twitter.com/MK1gnrKsRb
— Aleigha Cavalier (@aleighacavalier) August 14, 2019
I’m not sure a candidate who’s currently sitting at 2.8% in the Real Clear Politics polling average can hold a “major address”, but as Allahpundit at Hot Air points out, O’Rourke is desperate to gain ground on Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and this might be his best chance to do so.
I keep thinking that this is all building to Beto using the shooting as a pretext to bail out of the presidential race and run for Senate in Texas instead, as the entire party wants him to do (“El Paso needs me!”), but no, not so says Politico. “The El Paso massacre only redoubled his resolve to campaign against Trump, according to sources close to his campaign,” they claim, noting that Beto has already qualified for the September debate whereas various other no-hopers have not. It’ll be a smaller stage and so he has a better chance of standing out. His plan between now and then, it appears, is to try to build as much buzz as he can as a Man On A Mission on the trail and then convert that into some impassioned moment at the debates that vaults him into the top tier, or at least past Buttigieg. That’s one thing O’Rourke has that Mayor Pete doesn’t, actually — passion. Buttigieg is almost preternaturally calm and methodical, which isn’t an asset for a pol when his base’s blood is up about something. O’Rourke can feed that better than he can. He already has over the past few weeks, in fact.
What proposals might we see from O’Rourke during his “major address” on Thursday? He’s recently spoken up in favor of nuking the filibuster rule in the U.S. Senate in order to ram through gun control proposals, and says he’s not only in favor of “universal background checks”, but is “open” to the idea of gun licensing and bans on semi-automatic firearms coupled with a compensated confiscation system that mandates legal gun owners turn in banned firearms in exchange for a small amount of cash.
The problem for Beto O’Rourke, from a political standpoint, is that these proposals have already been suggested by other candidates, including Rep. Eric Swalwell, whose campaign based around similar anti-gun plans never gained traction with voters. If O’Rourke is hoping for a political reset, he’s going to have to offer something other than the same anti-gun wish list shared by so many of his fellow presidential hopefuls.
My advice? O’Rourke should come in favor of a full repeal of the 2nd Amendment. Now that would grab some headlines and garner him some serious media attention. He could say something like “it’s time to quit pussyfooting around this issue. We need to save lives and we need to do it fast. Just as the 13th Amendment repealed the institution of slavery that inflicted misery on millions of Americans held in bondage, we need a 28th Amendment that would repeal another institution inflicting misery on untold millions today: civilian gun ownership.”
Of course I’d fight that proposal with all of my heart, but let’s face it, I’m not Beto’s target audience. He’s never going to earn my vote. Among the Democrat base, however, O’Rourke would be a hero for calling for such bold action. Other candidates might try to rebut O’Rourke by saying such drastic steps aren’t needed, but he could simply chide them for repeating GOP talking points and being tools of the gun lobby.
Beto’s already calling for gun laws that would curtail the ability of some legal gun owners to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights through gun licensing and gun bans. Why not go all in and announce he wants to end legal gun ownership altogether? If, in his opinion, there’s no reason to own the most popular long gun in the United States today, does he have a good reason why Americans should be able to own a handgun that’s easily concealable and used in far more crimes than an AR-15? If he’s going to propose ineffectual gun control solutions to these active assailant attacks, why not go big and demand and just demand an end to the right to keep and bear arms altogether?