For Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke, Uvalde must have seemed almost like a gift from above. I’m not sure the loss of innocent life didn’t dissuade him from looking at it that way, though I’m sure he’d never say as much.
However, based on his actions in the aftermath, I think it’s a safe bet he saw it that way.
And other than the fact innocent people were killed, why wouldn’t he? Beto was a gun control candidate and now suddenly people were clamoring for gun control. The media found tons of Texans, including many in Uvalde, who demanded things like assault weapon bans.
With over 95 percent of votes accounted for as of 11 p.m. ET, it looks as though incumbent Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) will once again carry Uvalde County, where an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two adults during a devastating school shooting back in May.
Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke, who angrily confronted Abbott in the aftermath of the Robb Elementary shooting and accused the governor of “doing nothing,” made the deadly incident a central issue of his campaign, per The Dallas Morning News. Despite those efforts, he held just about 38 percent of the vote in Uvalde at the time of this writing, while Abbott held 60 percent.
The report does go on to note that the families of the victims did back Beto. However, it seems very few others went in that direction.
And that’s interesting because Uvalde was one of those things that shook a lot of people. Anytime a bunch of kids is killed, you’re going to have a surge in support for gun control. That’s especially true in the community impacted.
We already knew, however, that the American public had moved on from gun control as a pressing issue. That spelled bad news for Beto as it was.
But Uvalde is different. Uvalde is where it happened. This is where innocent children’s lives were taken by a rampaging maniac. If Beto had a chance it would be here.
Yet, how did that work out?
I can’t say definitively why people didn’t back him there. I haven’t talked to folks there to find out why, but I can speculate.
Part of it may well have been the clear understanding of the role law enforcement failures played in those deaths. Why blame law-abiding gun owners and punish them for the actions–or, in this case, inactions–of law enforcement? At least most of those deaths aren’t because a certain gun was legal but because the police waited outside while children were being slaughtered.
Those have been well publicized, particularly in the local media.
What may have made a big difference, however, was Beto’s grandstanding following Uvalde. While O’Rourke and his people may have thought it would make them look like passionate voices for the victims, what it really did was make him look like a sleazy opportunist who would use the bodies of dead kids as a soapbox.
That doesn’t sit well with a lot of folks.
If Beto couldn’t win in Uvalde County, he couldn’t win Texas.
Now he gets to figure out which office he wants to run for and lose next.