Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) on Friday released a 48-second video lambasting President Donald Trump and his ridiculous demands for a border wall with Mexico.
In posting the video the outgoing Congressman showed the political world two things:
- He is not afraid to stand up to Trump and attack his misguided policies, and
- He knows how to properly use social media and has the ability to “go viral.” The video has already been viewed over 4.6 million times.
The video, posted on Twitter, listed the reasons that constructing a wall is a bad idea, and it makes a compelling case. O’Rourke points out that the proposed wall would block access to the Rio Grande River, lead to land seizures through eminent domain, make land inaccessible between the Rio Grande and the wall, and seal off wildlife corridors.
Here is the text of O’Rourke’s viral video:
“President Trump’s proposed border wall would block access to the Rio Grande, the 4th longest river in North America; Seize land from Americans through eminent domain; exile hundreds of thousands of acres of the U.S. to a no man’s land between the river and the wall; seal off critical wildlife corridors; destroy your public lands; and send the wrong message to the world.”
“The southern border already has over 600 miles of wall and fence, and since 2007, the undocumented immigrant population has grown more through Visa overstays than unauthorized border crossings. We need realistic immigration reform, not a symbol of division.”
While campaigning over the past year for a U.S. Senate seat in Texas, O’Rourke emerged as a very strong Trump critic, even though Trump remains popular in the Lone Star State. He even suggested that he would vote to impeach Trump if he had a chance.
In his losing effort, he charismatic young Texan also proved that he could raise staggering amounts of money ($80 million) while also attracting a huge national audience.
His gutsy campaign to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) led to speculation that O’Rourke might be a formidable 2020 challenger to Trump. Since November 6 many prominent Democrats have suggested he should throw his hat in the ring and enter the 2020 Democratic primaries.
O’Rourke’s supporters point to his close defeat in the red state of Texas, and his ability to energize the Democratic base, especially young people.
His new video is very timely since the federal government is still partially shut down as the president and Congress are at odds over funding for the border wall.
The video may have a real impact on the national debate since O’Rourke, an El Paso, Texas, native, has for six years represented in Congress a district with one of the most active Mexican border crossings in the United States. He is considered to be very knowledgeable about the details of immigration and his opinions on the matter are respected.
Negotiations between Congress and the president on Trump’s demand for $5 billion in border wall funding are still at an impasse. Trump is attempting to blame Democrats for the government shutdown. O’Rourke’s video may convince more people that the government should re-open without any funding provided for the border wall.
It also may convince more people — especially Democratic primary voters — that O’Rourke is a person with substantive policy ideas. He has shown he knows how to communicate those ideas on social media in such a way that they go viral and gain widespread public exposure and support.
Some people have already been attacking O’Rourke for not being progressive enough but he doesn’t care about labels. By proving he can stand up to Donald Trump he has also proven that he may in fact be a real Democratic contender in 2020, and his chances should not be discounted.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.