Beto O'Rourke

Beto O'Rourke

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Beto O'Rourke is an American politician and businessman currently representing Texas' 16th congressional district in the House of Representatives. He gained national attention challenging Republican incumbent Ted Cruz for his seat in the United States Senate.


Beto O'Rourke was born September 26th, 1972 in El Paso, Texas.[1] His full name is Robert Francis O'Rourke and was called Beto by his family. As a teenager, he played in the punk rock band Foss, which notably featured Cedric Bixler-Zavala, eventual lead singer of At the Drive-In and The Mars Volta, on drums. After living in New York City out of college, O'Rourke returned to Texas in 1998. After a successful business career, he ran for city council in 2005, where he won and served until 2011. In 2012, he defeated congressman Silvestre Reyes in Texas' deeply-Democratic 16th district, and he became a member of the United States House of Representatives, where he currently still serves.

Political Views

O'Rourke is a member of the New Democrat Coalition, which is described as moderate or centrist, but is also considered to have progressive and liberal views. He is considered by GovTrack to be in the center of House Democrats, left of some and right of others. He supports efforts to combat global warming, stronger antitrust laws, decriminalization of cannabis, single-payer healthcare, marriage equality, and pro-choice stances. He supported the Take a Knee protests and has spoken out against racial inequality.

Senate Race Against Ted Cruz

O'Rourke ran for Senator of Texas against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and lost. He was considered a long-shot candidate, as Texas has not has a Democratic senator since 1994. He has not received PAC money and instead has funded his candidacy through small donations. He significantly out-raised Ted Cruz in the race . O'Rourke polled closer than expected, but was still behind Cruz in most polls come election day. It is speculated that with the national attention to his campaign, O'Rourke could be a could candidate for President in the 2020 election, and O'Rourke has drawn comparisons to Barack Obama.

Concession Speech

During O'Rourke's concession speech, he surprised cable news outlets by telling his supporters and staff "I'm so fucking proud of you guys."

The moment was celebrated by Twitter users who saw it as a moment of attractive authenticity. Twitter user @Celina_Curry tweeted of the moment, saying "We're married now" (shown below, left). User @theradmexican tweeted a crying woman as a response to the moment (shown below, right).

( Follow ) Celina @celina curry Beto just said F------. We are married now TEXAS 51% CRUZ 3.992 645 48% O'ROURKE BREAKING NEW 3,729,613 ÎLEEME HUTCHISON tMSNBC RF BETO O'ROURKE SPEAKS AFTER LOSS IN TEXAS SENATE WASHINGTON 58% SENATE 58 142178 1.024.835-14290 LIVE ВЕТО 2020 @theradmexican Follow ) betohe said "l'M SO F------ PROUD OF YOU GUYS" at the end of his speech 1:13 AM 7 Nov 2018

2020 Presidential Campaign

On March 14th, 2019, Beto O'Rourke announced that he was running for President in the 2020 election via a video posted to his Twitter account (shown below).

This coincided with a Vanity Fair[8] cover profile which detailed O'Rourke's plans to run as well as his family life. O'Rourke has been described as a candidate with positions akin to Barack Obama, which CNBC[9] described as putting him in the "middle" of the crowded field. Donald Trump mocked Beto by making fun of his hand gesticulations, pondering "maybe he's crazy."[10]

Online, the news was met with criticism from progressives who were unenthusiastic about O'Rourke's positions and candidacy. Paste[11] called O'Rourke the "Candidate For Vapid Morons," comparing his charm to Obama's charismatic 2008 run and Obama's subsequent centrist presidency. Slate[12] wrote that O'Rourke lacked a single reason to run for President, though he already had much of the star-power needed to mount a serious challenge. On Twitter, user @AdamJohnson tweeted that Beto's candidacy seemed more well-suited to America in 2003, but years of "vapid centrism" had (eaten) away (the democratic base's) pensions and wages and gave us two decades of perma-war" (shown below, left). Twitter user Luke Savage joked "The Beto O'Rourke presidential campaign is fanfiction for people who wear lanyards to sleep and think the West Wing was a documentary" (shown below, right).

On the positive side, O'Rourke received an endorsement from Maryland governor Martin O'Malley[13] and congressional candidate Stephanie Murphy.[14] On March 18th, the O'Rourke campaign announced that they had raised $6.1 million on the first day of his campaign,[16] the most raised by a Democratic candidate thus far, topping Bernie Sanders' $5.9 million.[16]

Online Presence

O'Rourke has 660,000 likes on Facebook[2] and 700,000 Twitter followers.[3] The Onion[4] posted a parody article saying Ted Cruz released an attack ad calling Beto "Too Good for Texas" (shown below). The San Antonio Current[5] posted a slideshow of O'Rourke memes making the politician appear dreamy.



After O'Rourke's loss to Cruz, many people on Twitter began speculating about O'Rourke running for president in 2020, sharing their thoughts with the hashtag #Beto2020. The hashtag was covered by The Hill,[7] who pointed to celebrities who tweeted the hashtag including Olivia Wilde and Alyssa Milano.

olivia wilde @oliviawilde ( Follow ) Beto 2020. Let's do this. 12:21 AM-7 Nov 2018 01e e Alyssa Milano Follow @Alyssa_Milano #Bet°2020 11:33 PM-6 Nov 2018

Notable Endorsements

Jake Gyllenhaal

On November 4th, actor Jake Gyllenhaal posted a photograph on Facebook [5] of himself in a Beto O'Rourke for Senate t-shirt with a caption that encouraged people to vote Democratic candidates. The post received more than 20,000 reactions, 1,200 comments and 5,900 shares in two days (shown below).

Jake Gyllenhaal November 4 at 3:14 PM Facebook Creator Vote for change, for compassion, for civility, for wisdom. Vote because you think the government doesn't effect you or there's no such thing as a good politician. Vote because you can, because we fight for rights by exercising them. Vote for Stacey Abrams and Beto O'Rourke and Andrew Gillum. Vote for Kyrsten Sinema and Jacky Rosen. Take your kids and friends and parents. Vote up and down the ballot-and if there's no one on there that inspires now, vote anyway. And throw your own hat in the ring next time. But ABOVE ALL-VOTE TUESDAY NOV 6th! (And if you can't vote, make sure your people do). BETD FORSENATE

Conservative fans of Gyllenhaal reacted negatively to the post, creating an outrage against his political beliefs. Much of this backlash began when the rightwing media company The Blaze tweeted[6] the photograph with the caption "You don't live in Texas, Jake" (shown below, left). Following the post, other retweeted the The Blaze and added their own commentary on why they no longer cared for Gyllenhaal (examples below, center and right).

TheBlaze @theblaze You don't live in Texas, Jake. C Ooooo some actor telling us to vote for their choice. Let me get this straight: My body my choice, but when it comes to my ballot, you want to try to put your hands all over my ballot and our Constitution? #GTFOH #HollywoodElite #They Dont Matter #GetYourHandsOffMyConstitution TheBlaze @theblaze You don't live in Texas, Jake. He's now 80 % less attractive. TheBlaze Ф @theblaze You don't live in Texas, Jake.

Lebron James

When playing a road game against the San Antonio Spurs, LeBron James arrived to the arena wearing a hat endorsing O'Rourke. This was covered by national publications[6] who noted it was not the first time LeBron had praised O'Rourke, having previously supported his stance on #TakeAKnee.


James later clarified on election night that he likes what Beto stands for (shown below).


On November 6th, 2018, the day of the midterm elections, Beyoncé endorsed Beto O'Rourke on her Instagram page.

Many felt the timing of the endorsement was too late to make an impact on the election. Political analyst David Corn said that the time to make such a post was any time before the day of the election (shown below, left). Twitter user @KimberlyNFoster joked that it was the first Beyoncé surprise-drop that was poorly timed (shown below, right).

David Corn DavidCornDC Followv Someone should tell her that the time to stand and be counted was....well, any time before she did this. BuzzFeed News@BuzzFeedNews Beyoncé just posted to Instagram endorsing Beto O'Rourke: "We can't voice our rustrations and complain about what's wrong without voting and exercising our power to make it right." Ad Show this thread Kimberly Nicole Foster @KimberlyNFoster Follow For the first time in history a surprise drop from Beyoncé was poorly timed. This Tweet is unavailable. 6:53 PM 6 Nov 2018

Some Twitter users went so far as to blame Beyoncé for O'Rourke's loss. One particular tweet, since-deleted, driving the narrative was by @Cameron_Kasky (shown below).

Tweet Cameron Kasky @cameron_kasky if only Beyoncé posted that picture like 20 minutes earlier 10:24 PM 06 Nov 18 422 Retweets 4,436 Likes Alex Boniello@AlexBoniello 21m Replying to @cameron_kasky AI cannot stop wondering why she didn't post it days ago. 11 t0 4 196 Andy Mientus @andymient... 17m v The full agenda of my thoughts right now. Damn.

This helped create the impression of a wave of people literally blaming Beyoncé for O'Rourke's loss, and many more tweets pushing back against the idea appeared than people sincerely tweeting it. Responding to Kasky's tweet, user @pettyblackgirl gained over 620 retweets and 2,800 likes (shown below, left). User @spxncxrx also responded to Kasky's tweet, gaining over 60 retweets and 240 likes (shown below, right).

naň. @pettyblackgirl Follow it's not Beyoncé's fault Beto lost, we know who she voted for. if you wanna blame someone, blame white people who continue to vote for republicans bc they don't care about the lives they re putting at stake by voting for bigots. This Tweet is unavailable. 11:56 PM -6 Nov 2018 spencer claus @spxncxx Follow 95% of black women voted for Beto over Cruz. Now is not the time for white men to be blaming black women for Beto's loss. Maybe let's talk about how white men and women voted overWHELMINGly for Cruz? You've done awesome worK, but this is not the move This Tweet is unavailable. 12:03 AM-7 Nov 2018

Dentist Instagram Story

On January 10th, 2019, O'Rourke posted a story to his Instagram in which he visited his dentist and live from the chair interviewed her about her experience growing up near the border of Mexico. The story was part of an ongoing series in which O'Rourke speaks to people who grew up near the border to discuss their experiences amidst the ongoing government shut-down President Trump enforced until he receives monetary approval for a Wall across the American-Mexican border.

Grace Panetta @grace_panetta Follow Happening now on @BetoORourke's Insta story: "l'm here at the dentist, and we're going to continue our series about people who live along the border. My dental hygenist, Diana, is going to tell us about growing up in El Paso." 12:04 PM -10 Jan 2019 from Manhattan, NY

Twitter users had a wide variety of reactions to the spread of the story. User @menks101 posted an Office expressing their disgust (shown below, left). User @jaredholt posted an #UpgradeChallenge meme comparing the social media skills of O'Rourke to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, gaining over 300 retweets and 1,900 likes (shown below, right).

Jared Holt @jaredlholt 1,919 11:46 AM - Jan 10, 2019

"Maybe Beto Can't Debate Ted Cruz Because"

Maybe Beto Can't Debate Ted Cruz Because refers to parodies made of a tweet by the Texas GOP Twitter account which suggested that Senator Ted Cruz' Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke could not debate the senator because he had a gig with his old band, attaching a promotional photo of the politician from when he played with the group.

.160) Texas GOP Follow TexasGOP Maybe Beto can't debate Ted Cruz because he already had plans... Foss Sorry, can't debate. e We have a aia 8:15 PM - 28 Aug 2018

After the tweet was posted, it was mocked by many Twitter users for inadvertently making O'Rourke look cool. User @Neighbormania sarcastically tweeted "Definitely don't want to vote for this cool guy who did fun stuff and had friends," gaining over 380 retweets and 10,000 likes (shown below, left). User iCyclone said that he was glad to see an elected official who's "lived life" as opposed to "walking corpses in suits" (shown below, right).

"Macho Man" Rand Paul's Neighbor @Neighbormania Follow Replying to @TexasGOP Definitely don't want to vote for this cool guy who did fun stuff and had friends. 11:20 AM - 29 Aug 2018 Josh Morgerman @iCyclone Follow Replying to @TexasGOP This makes me like him more. We need elected officials who've lived life, who aren't walking corpses in suits. #backfire 12:15 PM - 29 Aug 2018

Ted Cruz Looking at Beto O'Rourke

On September 25th, 2018, Cruz was photographed on an airplane looking at a picture of Beto O'Rourke on his phone. The pictures were tweeted by user @KFILE that morning (shown below).

andrew kaczynski9 Follow @KFILE Per Politico: Ted Cruz was spotted on his phone on a flight back rom DC looking at a photo of Beto O'Rourke. via @playbookplus

Twitter users joked that Cruz was jealous of O'Rourke in the picture, adding captions sarcastically calling Cruz relatable and making various other jokes. For example, journalist Elizabeth Bruenig paired the photos with "Hello Darkness My Old Friend", gaining over 55 retweets and 650 likes (shown below, left). User @socarolinesays called Cruz relatable in the images, gaining over 170 likes. Jokes about the pictures were covered by The Daily Dot.

Elizabeth Bruenigo y@ebruenig Following hello darkness my old friend andrew kaczynski @KFILE Per Politico: Ted Cruz was spotted on his phone on a flight back from DC looking at a photo of Beto O'Rourke. via @playbookplus 9:03 AM -25 Sep 2018 Caroline Moss @socarolinesays Follow The only time I have ever related to Ted Cruz andrew kaczynski @KFILE Per Politico: Ted Cruz was spotted on his phone on a flight back from DC looking at a photo of Beto O'Rourke. via @playbookplus 9:09 AM -25 Sep 2018


Cult of the Dead Cow

On March 15th, 2019, Reuters reported that Beto O'Rourke was a member of the hacking group Cult of the Dead Cow as a teenager, participating in a CDC BBS board named "Taco Land" using the handle "Psychedelic Warlord" (shown below). According to the report, O'Rourke admitted to stealing long-distance phone call services, a technique referred to as "phreaking."

That day, a poem posted by the Psychedelic Warlord account titled "The Song of the Cow" began circulating online, which contained the widely mocked lyrics "Wax my ass, scrub my balls" (shown below). Fiction he wrote as a teenager from a killer's point of view also spread that day.[18]

cDc communications presents.. THE SONG OF THE Cow a poem by Psychedelic Warlord > A CULT Publication.. 1988 <<< -CDC- CULT OF THE DEAD COW -CDC- I need a butt-shine, Right noiw You are holy, ch, sacred Cow I thirst for you, Provide Milk Buff my balls, Love the Cow, Good fortune for those that do Love me, breathe my feet, The Cow has risern Wax my ass, scrub my balls The Cow has risen, Provide Milk oh, Milky wonder, sing for us once more, Live your life, everlusting joy Thrust your hooves up y analytic passage, Enjoy my fruits Provider of Cheese and other wonderful dairy products, e will cleanse your inner intestines we will bathe in your Pungent odor, Gather cotton Count my eyes, Smell my skin, Love the Scarecrow and the Milkman I live only for eternity, Thirst for the undrinkable Hold the heat, Praise the dough boy at the pizza shop Love the oxen dung! (C)1988 CDc communications by Psychedelic warlord All Rights worth S--- 5/5/88-5e


The same day, O'Rourke apologized on Political Party LIVE! for his writings, saying, "Whatever my intention was as a teenager doesn’t matter… I have to look long and hard at my actions, at the language I have used, and I have to constantly try to do better." He also apologized for saying "my wife raises our kids, sometimes with my help" on the campaign trail, saying, "Not only will I not say that again, but I’ll be more thoughtful going forward in the way that I talk about our marriage, and also the way in which I acknowledge the truth of the criticism that I have enjoyed white privilege."[15]

GOP Irish Tweet

On March 17th, 2019, St. Patrick's Day, the official GOP Twitter account tweeted an image of O'Rourke's mugshot from his 1998 drunk-driving arrest with a green leprechaun hat photoshopped onto it, writing, "On this St. Paddy's Day, a special message from noted Irishman Robert Francis O'Rourke" (shown below).

GOP Follow @GOP On this St. Paddy's Day, a special message from noted Irishman Robert Francis O'Rourke. PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY 1:16 PM 17 Mar 2019

The tweet was criticized as perpetuating harmful stereotypes against the Irish. Republican politicians including Justin Amash and Jeff Flake both criticized the tweet (shown below). Criticisms of the tweet were covered by AOL.[17]

Jeff Flake @JeffFlake Follow Is the intent here to persuade voters to be more sympathetic to Republicans? It's not working. GOP @GOP On this St. Paddy's Day, a special message from noted Irishman Robert Francis O'Rourke. 6:44 PM -17 Mar 2019 Justin Amash @justinamash Follow Do better, @GOP. Be better. GOP@GOP On this St. Paddy's Day, a special message from noted Irishman Robert Francis O'Rourke. 4:30 PM - 17 Mar 2019

Demon Beto

On April 11, 2019, Comedian Alex Ptak posted a video of himself as a "demon" version of Beto O'Rouke to Twitter (shown below). The video gained 893 retweets and 4,697 likes in four days.

In the next few days, the video gained popularity and was reported on by media outlets like Mashable[19] and Indy100[20].

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