Beto O’Rourke has managed to make his entire presidential campaign about gun control. He’s been on a mission ever since the shooting happened in El Paso over the summer. He’s even gone as far as telling everyone, “I’m coming for your guns.” Considering he’s in Texas, the state with the most gun owners, he’s not winning any sparkling endorsements over there.
With his passion for gun control, he’s managed into the forefront of the gun debate. His campaign may be gathering some strength, but the damage is already done. It’s unlikely that O’Rourke can recover enough to become one of the top candidates, especially since he can’t seem to talk about anything other than gun control. He’s also known for his profanity, and it’s making it hard to debate him about anything without hearing him drop the f-bomb at least once.
Tom Sullivan met with O’Rourke in downtown Denver, introducing him to the various others who have lost friends and relatives due to mass shootings in the United States. Sullivan is a Colorado lawmaker whose son was killed in the Aurora shooting in 2012.
Among those present was Jane Dougherty, who lost her sister at Sandy Hook elementary school in 2012. She was the one to bring up the fact that O’Rourke mentioned at a presidential debate that he was going to take people’s guns. Dougherty said that her sister was murdered by an AR-15.
Coni Sanders, another person in attendance, lost his father during the Columbine High School shooting. She said she was shocked at what she was hearing during the debate when O’Rourke said what he said.
O’Rourke wasn’t ready to hear what he heard from these people. This is after a trip that included a Vanity Fair cover story entitled “Born to be It” and developing a reputation for standing on chairs and tables to deliver his speeches.
Now that he’s lower in the polls than ever, he’s in the center of the Democratic Party’s most divisive policy disputes: gun control.
Following the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Beto O’Rourke proposed a buyback of all assault weapons. He has put a significant amount of pressure on competitors to respond. He has been the loudest when it comes to gun control and his intensity is what is getting him invitations like the one in Denver.
His campaign may have been close to falling apart. However, it has been given some new meaning as more people want to hear what he has to say. O’Rourke is staying committed to keeping the issue of gun control front and center. He wants to make sure that progress is made on it and he doesn’t want lawmakers to forget.
O’Rourke may not have the opportunity to get the spotlight on gun control for much longer. Depending on the poll, he is sitting at 2% or 3% nationally within the primaries. He has also mentioned that he cannot “fathom a scenario” where he would ever run for public office again if he’s not the DNC nominee.
Unless there is some kind of significant upheaval in the primary, O’Rourke is not going to be president. Much of this has to do with his narrow-minded focus on gun control. He may also be hurting his own crusade. His mandatory buyback proposal has had him face-to-face with not only Donald Trump and the NRA but also some of the leaders within the Democratic Party.
Many of the Democratic leaders fear that O’Rourke’s outrageous stands will alienate many of the moderate voters and make it difficult to negotiate for modest gun reforms throughout Congress. This is particularly true if the Senate majority stays with the Republicans following the 2020 election.
O’Rourke still isn’t looking to back down. He has identified that his mandatory buyback proposal is “politically difficult” but is ready to deal. Those in Denver identified that he is in serious trouble and that politicians and voters alike are going to come after him. However, they also assured O’Rourke that he has “an Army” behind him. He isn’t planning on backing down.
Beto O’Rourke was not the gun-toting Texan that many wanted him to be. Although he grew up in West Texas and used to own a handgun, you no longer owns a gun. He was also advised to during his near-miss Senate run to show up in church every Sunday, oh wear boots, and carry a gun. However, he was quick to admit that that wasn’t him. He doesn’t go to church every Sunday and he doesn’t own a gun.
While O’Rourke may be gathering strength in terms of the gun control talks, the polls aren’t supporting him. If he stays in the political race any longer, it is for the sake of vanity and nothing else.